Before time as we know it began, God existed in trinity. He was/is three in one and this implies an amazing intimacy…it blows the mind, really. The joy shared within the triune God, the perfect union and communion…it is a result of perfect intimacy and perfect intimacy and love foster perfect union and communion. God the Son, God the Spirit, God the Father all connected, joined, loving, giving, sharing, delighting–before time began–in one another!
This is the God in whose image I have been created!
Something about me, about the way I have been created, connects with the triune aspect of God.
When I see the premium that Jesus places on commissioning me to love others, I have to think it is because he knows I was created for this level of deep intimacy, connection and love. The very depth that is experienced in the trinity. Somehow, God intends for me to experience that level with him, but also with others. Maybe it will be limited here on earth, but someday I believe I will experience that kind of connection with others in heaven without it being diminished by our flesh nature.
God defines himself so often with love–which requires an object of that love–to enjoy full expression. “God IS love.” “God so loved the world that he gave.” “We love Him because he first loved us.” “But God shows his own love for us in this–that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” The examples are plentiful…The Word of God is soaked in the Love of God.
Because of my dysfunctional upbringing, I tend to be protective. I don’t want to love or be loved. Even this far along on my journey as a Christian and as a Christian dealing with my struggles with eating, food, and my body I have tended to think that if I stay protected from others, process my “issues,” forgive as needed, and then feast on the Lord, this will satisfy me and I won’t be as drawn to food to fill that soul hunger the GTST book speaks about.
I think that the part about feasting on God is a BIG piece of it. But I see now that it leaves something out. I have had this attitude that if I offer myself to others, I will be depleted, sucked dry, turned to toast. Hungry for more to make up for it.
But if I am created in the image of God…and Jesus is the reflection of God in human form…then it stands to reason that he is my example and my strength! He said that his FOOD is to do the will of the Father…and the will of the Father was to love even when he wasn’t loved in return, to give even when the gift wasn’t recognized as precious and to die for the needs of others. His love was totally 100% sacrificial.
I am called to this.
Not only that, but I am called to this and my soul hunger can only be satisfied as I DO risk everything to engage in this level of intimacy. The two commandments that Jesus said were the most important are…”Love God and Love Others.”
Our need for intimacy–for connectedness and expression of our innermost character–is one of our most basic human needs. It is fundamental to our physical, mental, and spiritual health and to our ability to live the lives of self-giving love God intends for us. GTST, p. 29
There is something in God’s great economy that actually causes my soul to be satisfied as I risk for the sake of loving others like Jesus did…unconditionally, without regard for if they receive it, or love me back, or are nice to me, or understand.
THIS IS HUGE to me. I believe that somehow, by allowing God to break down my walls of self-protection and spurring me to venture out, extend myself for others…that this, combined with turning to God to experience intimacy with him, “feasting on Him,” will work together to cause me to no longer have the heart hunger that I have attempted to fill with other things.
I don’t know yet what this will look like, but I KNOW it isn’t programmed ways of “showing love.” This is the real thing. It isn’t showing up on Saturdays at the soup kitchen to hand out biscuits and calling that love. (Of course, that could be a part of it! But I don’t think that is the whole answer!)
As someone said in our neighborhood fellowship group last Saturday night, maybe I can capture one moment at a time to try to love perfectly. If I do that, then maybe at the end of this week I will have loved perfectly for 5 moments…but bit by bit, I can build moment upon moment where I have allowed God to love perfectly through me…Over the course of my life of practicing this, perhaps there will be a year where I loved more than I resisted. More than I protected. And maybe the hunger will be quelled.
9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
“I have had this attitude that if I offer myself to others, I will be depleted, sucked dry, turned to toast. Hungry for more to make up for it.”I have to say that I have often found ministry to be this way. Some of the relationships have been wonderful and life-giving, and it’s always humbling and delightful if God uses me to help someone.But it’s also hard and depleting at times – when you have a disinterested teenager in your class whose parents are making him come, when you pour your life into someone and you know God can help them, but they don’t want to turn to Him.It’s those times that I’m “hungry for more to make up for it,” and I just have to be sure that hunger goes to God and not to the ones who are responding to my love for my sense of security.God is teaching me over and over again, in fact, it seems like He’s pounding the message into me, seek to do the Father’s will (just like you mentioned, Heidi), and don’t worry if others like you.Sometimes the Father’s will involves having others not like you, but His will requires that we keep giving anyway.I haven’t reached the point yet where I automatically am happy and peaceful just because I’m doing the Father’s will, even though that involves loving people who don’t love back. If I ever get to that point, I think it would be an incredibly freeing sensation. I can see God wants me to move there – He’s giving me enough lessons in that area. I just hope I get there soon, because life would be so much easier!