Monday, March 17, 2008

A Love Response
By Deborah Owen

My wife and I visited someone who was being drawn to Christ. Almost as soon as we arrived, even though we hadn't mentioned the subject, they said they would not get their hair cut or stop smoking. We said that was entirely their choice, because being a Christian was not about keeping rules, but was a love relationship.The junior school I attended had strict rules and we were expected to obey them under the threat of punishment. During an art lesson, where we had to draw and paint a glass jug, I accidentally knocked my little pot of water over. The teacher hauled me out in front of the class and gave me six of the best with his cane. It not only put me off art, but was one of several instances that gave me a jaundiced view of authority figures. It was only many years later, during an evening class, that an encouraging tutor showed me that I really could do art. My work flourished under his caring and competent tuition and I eventually had paintings hung in exhibitions.If we are a Christian and say that we love Jesus, then this will show in our actions and attitudes. This is something I find very challenging. Do I really demonstrate that I trust God and put Him first in my life? Do I carry out all my dealings with people with honesty and integrity? Do I really put the interests of my wife and family and neighbours at least the same as I do for myself and do I love them as much as I love myself? For that matter, do I love myself? If I don't then it's because I need to know more in my experience just how much He loves me. God does not force me to obey, ready to cane me if I do wrong. No, out of love he gives me the freedom to choose. He has poured Himself out for me and is always there for me. He is my Father, my Daddy who stands with open arms, longing for me to keep coming to Him as a response to His love. His love breaks me up. The more I realise His love the more I will want to walk with Him in His ways in complete surrender. And the more I abide and obey, the more I flourish and enjoy, along with others, the benefits of His care.It's a love responseIt starts by coming to HimIt continues by coming to Himand it last forever by being with Him."Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." John 14:23 New International Version

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