The Hardest Part of the Christian Life

I find the most difficult part of the Christian life is continuing to receive the Father’s love until it totally transforms my identity. 

I find it far easier to work for the Father or even sacrifice for the Father than receive from the Father.

I’ve thought about this a lot and wondered if maybe I’m caught up in performance or simply obsessed with doing, but those didn’t seem to be the real reason in my case.

Just recently I think I’ve discovered why this is so hard for me and the answer is really simple—I don’t know how.

How do you do something that’s not based on doing anything?

Give me a discipline to do and I’ll do it, but tell me just to receive, and I don’t do it because I don’t know how.

But here’s the insight that is helping me—I do think there’s a practical discipline that helps you receive the Father’s love.

The final word spoken in the Bible about unfallen humanity is “they were naked and felt no shame.” 

Shame is what so often stops us from receiving love. We have so much to be ashamed of. 

So what’s the discipline we engage in when we just need to receive the love of the Father? 

We get naked, or in a word it’s the discipline of confession.

I used to think confession was for those times when you did something wrong, and maturity looked like confessing less and less over time.

Now I think confession is the portal into the deepest experience of the love of the Father. “It is by grace we are saved,” not just in the past but every day until our identity flips from slave to son.

What happens to our families when a mother and father are constantly confessing and receiving Divine Love?  

We bring that same love into our families.

Some good-looking family cultures thrive on perfection and secrecy. It’s understandable why this happens.

But when a mom and dad receive a constant flow of Divine Love they will want their kids to be real and tell them their deepest truths for one very important reason—so that they can pour the same kind of love out into their children’s hearts.

So they can cover their kid’s nakedness with grace.

This creates a family culture of Agape Love.

As a family we aren’t anywhere near there yet, mostly because I’ve struggled so much with receiving myself, but with God’s help I’m hoping for that to change.

“If you know you are Beloved of God, you can live with an enormous amount of success and an enormous amount of failure without losing your identity, because your identity is that you are the Beloved.” Henri Nouwen


P.S. I was inspired to write this because of a great sermon I listened to this morning from Dave Lomas at Reality San Francisco. You can find it here.

This entry is a part of Jeremy’s Journal, a newsletter Jeremy sends out every Wednesday morning to encourage you on your parenting journey. You can sign up to get them every Wednesday here.

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