Earned

It was that kind of fight.

The kind where you don’t just think you are right, but you kind of, actually are.Wrapping1

It was disappointment and hurt all wrapped up in a beautiful bow.
Not quite the gift we are ever anxious to receive.

We all know relationships are hard work—not so much dealing with another person, but hammering out the fruits of our own spirit to be able to receive and give the fruits of God’s.

You see, Tamara is not always full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control.  I say not always because sometimes, I am. You know, those times when everything is going just right, expectations are met and perfect plans are kept. I have learned it is easy for people to earn my conditional-love, but much harder to receive it free of expectations and without cost. This, my friends, is where Jesus comes in.

If you remember, this was a fight that I could ‘win’. My renaissance man knew if I wanted to be mad for weeks I ‘justifiably’ could. I had a choice to make. My husband disappointed me and I could decide to let this tear me down, and us down with it—or I could simply forgive. I could decide to punish with the cold shoulder and pouty demeanor until he earned back my love and affection—or I could simply let go. My tendency up until this point, was to make sure that my love and forgiveness was not just freely given but properly earned as if I had never been the one to disappoint. As God woke me up to the sad truth of my sinful heart, he began to show me the great truth about His perfect love.

You see, when life spills out from the broken vessel of our lives like water from a glass, we have to remember that it is poured into the hands of a God who was broken for us. A king, who became a servant, born to die so we could live forever in His presence, including right here and right now.  And what did we do to earn that?

“Above all, love.” -1 Peter 4:8a

“Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” –Colossians 3:13b

God commands us to love and He commands us to forgive. And if He commands us to do it, we can trust that our hearts will be kept safe in His hands. We need not worry about what it will cost to give up the rights to our self-defined sense of justice. He imparts in us, puts In To us, the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control that we cannot muster up on our own. And when we allow Jesus to work in us this way, we reap the sweet rewards of not only showering these gifts over others but feeling the power and presence of them in our own heart, soul and mind.10687148_10105252145310615_12761254752434648_n

There were no flowers, no gifts, no long apology letters; there were no days of pity-parties and nights of cold-shoulders. I thanked God that I didn’t have to earn His love and forgiveness and asked for His help in offering mine without condition.

The only thing it cost me was my pride, but it gifted me with peace. Peace in a storm that surpasses all understanding. Peace that only comes through obedience.10846018_10105281962416895_5371304404661349513_n

This Christmas season we all have too many opportunities to put into practice this very truth. We didn’t earn the gift of the Son of God being born a mere man to save the world, and neither did our children or any of our loved ones earn any gift underneath our trees. We didn’t earn forgiveness once and for all, and neither can we expect those we know and love to do anything to earn our forgiveness when we feel disappointed, hurt or unloved. We didn’t earn the gift of salvation through Jesus’ death on the cross, and neither should we require any conditions be met in order to show the love and affection that we not only should display, but people need to feel. Not just this season where we all so desperately crave real peace, joy, and love…but each and every day we are given breath on this earth. Breath we most assuredly did not earn but is given as a gift. And that is the real truth—everything we are, everything we have, and everything we face in this life is a gift, unearned, from the One who created and sustains us through it all. Simply receive his love, receive his forgiveness, receive his peace and joy and give, give, give of it all no matter what the circumstance.nativity

xo
Tamara
       

Reflection
Worship:
 I love music and I love to share it. Each song is for each post. Enjoy! Light of the World – Lauren Daigle

GratitudeGive thanks— But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. -Luke 2:1o-11

Grow: “Above all, Love…” 1 Peter 4:8a Where have you allowed conditional-love to replace your ability to love without cost or expectation? How do you know that the love God has for you was not earned? How can you share this same love with others?

Give: “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13. How will you follow this command and give forgiveness or share about God’s forgiveness with others? When will you do this?

Each LSLW post includes three areas of reflection in hopes to offer a chance for us to give thanks, grow in our personal faith and find ways to pour out from our lives what Christ has poured into us.