Many people see the Fathers Love through a “works” lens but don’t even realize it. Intellectually they think, “I have embraced the fact that God loves me unconditionally.” However, the fruit their lives produce tells the true story.
Mark 8:16-18 — And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have no bread.” But Jesus said to them, “Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart still hardened? Having eyes, do you not see?…
So what do you do with all this? First and foremost, how can you know if you really do struggle to see the Fathers love? And secondly, how can you fix it?
The Struggle – Feeling Powerless
Have you ever felt that sinking feeling that comes when you have a sense of powerlessness? I used to see this dog left chained up in a neighbor’s backyard all day long. He’d bark and tug, longing for freedom, fun, and fellowship. He’d eventually tire and give in, laying down dejected. In the same way, I have sometimes grown tired in my Christian life and laid down dejected.
Trying But Not Succeeding
For example, I heard a teaching on obeying God’s commands that stirred me deeply. Oh, the benefits that would come to the man who could obey, benefits of favor and success. And, oh, the consequences of the one who does not obey!
I tried so hard to keep God’s commandments in order to show Him that I loved Him. (Jn.14:15)
I “tried hard,” as opposed to operating from a base of knowing I’m loved already. I didn’t see that at the time. This wrong “seeing” produced adverse effects in me. I failed repeatedly at my attempts to obey. I thought I could see the Father’s love, yet my life fruit proved differently.
So then, what “fruit” indicates I struggle to see the Fathers love?
- A tendency to be hard on myself and battle condemnation.
- I “try harder” to overcome in certain areas of my life but feel like I never make any progress.
- Struggles crop up in my heart to show a gracious toward the faults of others.
- The ability to rest in my blessedness as a child of my Father eludes me.
How Did I Fix It?
Consider this verse: 1 John 2:5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him…
For years I “saw” that verse as something I needed to do to show God’s love perfected in me.
- I needed to keep God’s word, I needed a deep daily prayer time, with some fasting mixed in.
- I had better walk in the fruit of the Spirit, showing patience and kindness toward everyone.
- Perhaps most importantly, I should reach the lost and pray for the sick.
Regrettably, most days I rarely made it past lunch before feeling I had failed in some way. I didn’t correctly see the Fathers love.
Yet as I studied and learned more about the Fathers love, I saw that verse in reverse.
God’s love doesn’t perfect (develope) in me after I can finally show obedience. I can finally show obedience only after enough of God’s love perfects (develops) in me!
Once I can embrace my weakness and in humility let God’s love into my heart, keeping His word becomes natural and easy.
Because He loves me, despite my failings, I grow deeper in love with Him. I start to love what He loves. Out of love I obey.
God has a call to us. A call to rest, a call to love. A place where competition, striving, jealousy, and condemnation, don’t exist. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor.12:10)
Developing eyes that really perceive, really see the Fathers love brings freedom. Freedom to rest, and freedom to grow.