“Everything about you – your personality, your intellect, your physical body, your history – everything about you is perfectly designed for obedience. And disobedience violates design”
– Bill Johnson: Lead Pastor, Bethel Church
Welcome back. This week I’ve been writing about some of the ideas and themes contained in a non-fiction book I’m writing titled Rescuing the Hidden Hearts of Men, And the Women who Love Them. On Monday, we briefly looked at some thoughts about obedience, which is the major, underlying theme of the book. On Wednesday, we considered how disobedience can hinder us from building and living in the deep, personal intimacy God desires to have with us.
One of the things I wrote on Wednesday was: Probably the most critical thing we need to digest is that God’s call to obedience is not so much about rules as it is about relationship.
Another of the themes from Rescuing asserts that emotional trauma in our youth can so damage and distort our own self-image that we can become incapable of believing we are worthy of the immense love relationship that the Creator of the universe desires with our damaged, broken selves.
Does God really love me? Well, John 3:16 applies to all of us, broken or not. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Let me try to condense into a few paragraphs what is more deeply explored in Rescuing the Hidden Hearts of Men.
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My self-image determines my image of God. So, a distorted self-image, one shaped by emotional damage and wounding, distorts my image of God and hinders the relationship he so deeply desires … an intimate relationship that spurs me on to obedience. So, what do I do with the lies I tell myself about who I am? Glad you asked.
When I was a very young boy, a person in authority humiliated me in front of a group of my peers. I can see and revisit every moment of that incident today, more than six decades later. It was devastating to what little, fragile self-worth I possessed. That humiliation and degradation helped to define who I was – who I saw myself as – for the majority of my life. Bad. Wrong, Different. Unworthy. Worthless.
Decades later, when I shared the story of that day with a Christian counselor, he asked me, “What do you think Jesus was feeling at that moment?”
“What do you think Jesus would do if he were there in that moment with you?”
I probably sat there with my mouth open. Then he said the clincher.
“Why don’t you invite Jesus into that moment with you?”
An astounding, monumental thought. What would that moment, that day have been like if …?
So, one day while I was in prayer, I took the leap. Asked Jesus to come into one of the most humiliating moments in my entire life.
I was standing there and Jesus was standing beside me, between me and the authority figure who had just crushed my spirit. Jesus looked at me with the sorrow of compassion in his eyes. Then he turned to my detractor and said, “Don’t you ever speak to my son like that again!”
Yeah! Go Jesus!
As long as I was constrained by the label I attached to myself that day – worthless – I was crippled. I believed that God loved people. But me? How could God love me? I didn’t even love myself. I was broken. My capacity to receive, and return, love was fractured. I was divorced from the intimacy that God designed me to enjoy. Divorced from the intimacy that ignites and nurtures obedience.
I needed to be healed. And on the day that Jesus stood beside me and affirmed me as his son, the healing began. Actually, it was completed at the same time. I was free from the lie.
And, suddenly, a spirit of obedience began to grow … little by little, step by step … in my heart. I wanted to obey this God who loved me so much.
Yeah. I just took you on a long road to get back to obedience. But, if obedience is the one thing that is most important to God, the second most important thing to God is to see you healed … Rescued … so that you can comprehend who you really are and fully enter into an exquisitely intimate love relationship with him.
Obedience is the field in which intimacy is planted, fed, nourished and – ultimately – harvested.
Cause and effect.
So, again, what is it that God is asking of you that you are still refusing to do?
Maybe you need to ask Jesus into that place where the pain lives. And then Jesus can rescue you into an entirely new life of intimacy, sonship and obedience. And you can be all that God created you to be.
Let’s talk about it. Leave a comment. Send me an email. Let’s talk about the Rescued Life.