Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known. John 1: 12-14, 16-18 NIV
We have spent the last four weeks diving in to what a relationship with Jesus Christ can look like and how it can have an incredible impact on how we see ourselves. I pray it has revolutionized your daily life in some way.
It has been a lot to take in though, right? From understanding the difference between religion and relationship, to opening up our hearts to receive the truth about who God says we are, to learning to trust God at his Word and then to ripping out the weeds of our lives and replacing them with God’s truth, we have taken on an incredible amount of new learning.
Let’s take a breather for a moment, shall we?
It’s one thing to read a chapter and check off a box, but it’s quite another to actually absorb all we are learning and I want that more than anything for you.
You see, I believe that if we can lay a new foundation within our own lives based on the Truth, every other area of our lives will be affected in a positive way. I would even argue the point that it’s our lack of this foundation that has negatively influenced our relationship with God, ourselves, and everyone else in our lives. No, that doesn’t mean we have caused the chaos we may be experiencing in our lives, only that we can either stir it up in our own understanding, expectations and comparisons or participate with God in calming it down.
The choice really is ours.
So, this week, let’s take a minute to let the nutrients of our new super-soil sink in and offer us their nourishment. Let’s breathe in God’s amazing grace and mercy in our lives, and let’s really reflect on how a relationship with him changes everything.
To Re-Cap the past four weeks I have included the key perspectives from the first four chapters:
Relationship vs Religion: When we choose to move towards God through choosing to allow Jesus to lead us (submission), choosing to value Jesus for who He is and what He did for us (respect), and receive the new life given to us through Jesus’ death and resurrection (forgiveness), the closer we are drawn to Him through God’s Spirit (intimacy).
The main point of our foundational relationship with Jesus is love; we are enabled to receive a love so powerful that it transforms us from what we once were , into who we were authentically meant to be, without guilt or shame. (Pages 36-37)
Who God Says You Are: When we don’t know who we are in Christ, we are vulnerable to influences that steer us off the path God created for us. We each were created as a unique individual with strengths, weaknesses, desires and experiences that make us who we are and qualify us to fulfill the purpose for which we were created. If we don’t take the time to discover ourselves (through God’s eyes), we run the risk of trying to be like someone else, therefore missing out on the amazing person we are. (Page 61)
Trusting God at His Word: It’s one thing to read a Bible verse, it’s another thing entirely to actually believe what it says is true. To simply read is to add another thing to our already crowded to-do lists. To study it, however, to savor and spend time meditating (thinking) about what it is saying and apply it to our lives, is how we are nourished. As the truth of scripture soaks into our hearts, we are given strength to try and do what it says. As we do that we are given the opportunity to see that God is faithful. When we are nourished (by God’s Word) we are better able to participate with God in the life He has created for us to live. (Pages 71-72)
Ripping Out the Weeds: We allow the weeds, no matter how they got there, to flourish in our lives when we chose to believe any voice that tells us we aren’t worthy enough just as we are to be cherished, valued, or accepted, or any voice that makes us feel ashamed, guilty or condemned. When we not only recognize a lie, but replace it with a belief in the truth of God’s word over the lie, we are freed, one negative thought at a time, from the lies we are living with. Inviting God to help us recognize, replace, and resist the lies in our lives is a process we can actively engage in. Yes, His power is what frees us, but our willing participation in that process is a necessary component. (Pages 90-94)
Next week we will pick back up with Chapter 5: Cultivating Peace in Marriage. This week, please take time to reflect on all God is doing in your life. I am including a few ways to do this below.
This week as you are planning your time on your Schedule Tracker, add in time with God before you add in anything else. For example, once you have on your ST the required’s (like when you have to leave for work/ getting the kids to school and practices and the appointments you have) look to see where you can spend 30 minutes with God each day and block it off just for Him.
Second, after adding in those Quiet Times (QT), block off at least 30 minutes to an hour to do something just for you. I call these Pink Times (PT) and they are meant for you to take time to be nourished doing things you love that take care of you. (My Course Members will get a video teaching on this this week)
Reflect on the following as you spend time with God this week:
1. How do the following Scriptures play out in your daily life?
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. John 15:4
“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.”Psalm 46: 10
I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.Phil 4:12-13
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
2. What chaos is being created by the thoughts in your mind? How can you quiet them? (I shared specific strategies on my Facebook page last week)
3. What is an area you are not trusting God with? Why? What do you need to be able to trust him?
Feedback Friday Discussion Question: Post your question to me on my Facebook Page about anything in chapters 1-4 and I will do a video post response (Yes, you can ask a question ANY day between today, May 11 and next Wednesday May 17!)