Let’s dive into the channel whose flow gets clogged and becomes more irregular than God intends, the family. In fact of three channels identified in last weeks blog this one is the most difficult. We have always heard we always hurt the ones we love, this is so true.
We can say this occurs for a host of reasons, pride, control, familiarity, fear, money issues, and the many historical emotional sub-issues bubbling under these issues. It can get incredibly messy, traumatic, and personal. But as with all relational issues one thing that is missing and the root of all the evil is unconditional love for your family. Dallas Willard defined love years ago, and once I thoroughly processed this I began to see how easy it is to love. Dallas believed love is simply willing the best for another. He writes in Renovation of the Heart, “Therefore faith in Christ leads us to stand in the grace of God. And standing in the grace of God leads to a life full of love. But what exactly is love? Love is willing the good. We love something or someone when we promote its good for its own sake.”
Do you see how grace becomes the catalyst for our ability to love and that takes us back to our driving verse for A Reservoir of Love, Matthew 11:28-30 from THE MESSAGE and the “learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” passage. But grace can only be found and driven by resting and working with the Master Christ as His apprentice. The grace givers and accumulators are the spiritual exercises, the means to resting and working with the Master.
As Dallas said and I have written about in my first book Grace is Not Opposed to Effort, finding this love producing grace takes effort. This effort, spiritual exercises, enables you to do what you otherwise would not be able to do. Effort is not physical work, it is your internal life’s spiritual work. It is the constant stoking the fire of your soul and inturn your mind, heart, and body.
In my family the past months have been filled with stress. My son and daughter in law have decided for several reason, not related to our relationship with my wife or I, to move from fifteen minutes away from us to twelve hours away. This means our three grandchildren who have been in our lives for all of their lives will no longer be that accessible to my wife and I. Initially, I admit I let fear and loneliness drive control of trying to thwart the process. It eventually reached a head with a painful and tearful confrontation. So how did it get to that point and and how did it get resolved? It got to that point because I took no effort to align my will to a point of receiving sufficient grace to let them go for their good, to love them regardless of the circumstances. I did not listen or apply what the Master was saying and I paid the price. The pain of the situation drove me to His grace through intense times of solitude, study and prayer. Once I was able to stand in His grace I was able to love them through the pain of the loss I was feeling. I was able to support their move and want their best for their life ahead. I would have not been able to do this apart from God’s grace realized through the effort of realigning my internals through the spiritual exercises of solitude, prayer, guidance from trusted mentors and scriptural meditation.
The arena of our family and the level of unconditional love exhibited tells us the true extent we belong to Jesus. It is the most private of our relationships where the assault, withdrawal, or grace given authenticity and love remains the most private. For the most part no one sees us in this arena ugly or loving except our family members. So our real internal life is constantly on free exhibition for only family to see. Our public image is mostly preserved no matter how we act.
But the damage in a love weary family is the most consequential and far reaching than any other channel. The cost is enormous. We as humanity need to come to grips with this fact and consider the path to a rich flowing reservoir of love to our family.
The path is only found in Jesus as your Master. It is not found in religion. If you are an unbeliever you need to understand Jesus is not owned by religion, Jesus belongs to all of humanity. Stop letting this false narrative keep you away from the everyday, right here and now abundant life that Jesus offers ALL of us.
The family destruction can stop if we begin to listen to and apply the Words of Jesus in our life through conversation with Him and reading about Him in the Bible. Here again no matter what you believe about the Bible I promise if you can become tolerant and begin reading it and applying it your life will change.
Does this sound just too simple for you? If so read the verse again on the homepage of this blog. Focus on words such as, “get away with me”, “recover your life”, “won’t lay anything heavy on you or ill-fitting”, “keep company with me and you will learn to live freely and lightly.” Friend this is all true and is only experienced by intentionally getting away and keeping company with Jesus through talking with Him and applying His teachings in your life.
In closing, “Immanuel moments” stories of our time with God and how he has transformed our family life is how spiritual formation happens in community. We need to hear yours in the comment section of this blog. You have no idea how this helps others. If you have never opened a Bible or prayed and we have encouraged you to do so today, we would love to hear from you as well. If you want to keep it private use our email at george@ george ackron.com