Productive Wilderness-Life Series (Part 7) – Integrating the Father’s Love
Governed by Love
Our last post in this series talked about internal and external locus of control and the maturing process revealed in Galatians 4 where we go from being governed by law to having a heart encounter in the Father’s love to the point of crying out “Abba Father.” We are then governed by love. In reality this is not so much a one-time event as it is a lifetime process. So how do we move into this?
As the challenges of life bring to the surface ways we still battle legalism and we begin to come out of denial and embrace change, we start growing deeper in an experience of love. This is true sanctification.
It can be easy to confuse religiosity (legalism, control) with true convictions based in love.
The ‘externals’ of religiousness tend to decline as ‘internal control’ increases.
In other words, wilderness-life experiences can strip one’s religiousness (legalism) down to the basics. If there is no substance underlying the externals, it could be said that such a person could lose his religion.
“For people who value taking responsibility, being accountable, and being self-directing (no victim mentality), the stretching of capacity for internal control will be seen as an important. Thus wilderness life and it’s stretching of one’s internal control tendency and capability are eagerly to be desired.” (Ward p.15)
Please read that last paragraph again. It does an amazing job of ‘demystifying’ what Christian growth and maturity look like.
So often people are exposed to teaching on positive confession or renunciation: “Confess by faith the change you need.” “Just believe ‘hard enough’ you are a new creature in Christ Jesus.” “Cast down those negative thoughts.” “Take authority over your spirit of fear.” “Don’t be governed by your emotions.”
This approach is fine as long as it is not a substitute to the hard work of true growth. Where are you at in the growth process? Here are some questions to help you determine this.
- Do you value taking personal responsibility and working out your challenges? Or do you often feel overwhelmed and hopeless that change can occur?
- Do you value accountability and seek out accountability relationships? Or do you tend to keep your problems to yourself?
- Do you have testimonies of being stretched and overcoming? Can you share them with others?
These questions can reveal whatever mindsets you may have that need to improve.
In facing wilderness-life challenges and working through them, we learn about ourselves. We become aware of our natural strengths and weaknesses. We discover mindsets we need to change that we didn’t even know we had. And we learn humility as sons, we become governed by love.
Next time we’ll consider the Fathers Love Practically Expressed.