You are loved. You are known and still, you are loved. I can’t say it enough because we can’t hear it enough. In this world where everything is transactional and conditional, there is one thing that is so unearthly and beautiful: God’s love.
Love is light.
Fear is darkness.
Run to the light.
Several times in the Old Testament, a peculiar request is made: “God, make your face to shine on us.” It is usually connected with the ideas of God’s love and grace. When God’s shining face is mentioned in the Psalms and Torah, the one writing is usually in a time of trouble or crisis. They are needing something — something big… and so they ask for [drumroll please] God’s shining face! Why? Because His face shining IS big, really big!
God’s smile is not a response to our good actions. It is a causative force for our good & for His glory.
When I smile at my children, it’s usually a reflection of their behavior. Usually. But sometimes, I just smile at them because they are mine and they make me happy. I’ve caught myself smiling at them when they’re sleeping. God’s smile is born in His heart of grace toward His creation and children – not in our behavior. He can smile on us and be gracious to us even when we’re not deserving of it. That’s what grace is… when we were sinners, Christ dying for us. When we would never had chosen Him, He reached toward us. I think that’s why the Bible says God ‘makes’ His face to shine on us; we don’t deserve it, but God really wants to give it to us, so He wills it.
God’s shining face has the power to change things, to move people, to impact me and my world.
I challenge you to receive and accept God’s love for you right now. If you have never let His smile make you smile, then -by faith- take that step. Below is a sample prayer of faith. It’s a simple statement of dependence on God to do what we cannot do:
Dear Jesus, I believe that You are God, that You died for my failures and sins, and that You are alive again. I don’t know all the details but I’m trusting in You. I can’t do it on my own, I need a Rescue. I need You. Please come into my life. Amen.
Your beliefs [B] will determine your behavior [C]. Our beliefs are the grid on which our behavior is built. Your attitudes will affect your actions – often unconsciously. We don’t even really have to try – we act out what we think. If a person believes that mutual fund investing is a great idea, he will find the money to invest. If parents feel that God’s word is important, they will find ways to integrate it into the lives of their children. If you believe Jesus is the only way to Heaven, you will do what He says to get there… makes sense!
“Integrity is keeping the promises you make to yourself.” -Dick Savage
The problem enters when we don’t behave like we believe. We say that we believe something – yet we behave differently. For example, a husband might say that he values his wife, yet if he doesn’t make her a priority, he will not find the happiness in his identity as a husband. Emotions go all wrong when our grid [B] doesn’t match our life [C] – when what we value and what we do don’t line up. This happens all the time in marriages, in politics, and in our relationship with God – doesn’t it?! That’s why John said:
…let us not love in word, neither in tongue;
but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:18b
Life is built so that your inner-most values might guide and govern your lifestyle. When these two are in line, there is great joy and your feelings are satisfied. When what you believe and what you do aren’t together, you begin to feel like you’re investing in things that do not matter. This only brings more frustration, anger, and bitterness against those you love (or even against yourself).
Let’s Get Unstuck
Now it’s time for a quick exercise: Write down the two or three things that are most important to you – right now. If it’s a relationship, then determine what you can do for that person today. Take a step – just one. What promise of quitting did you make to yourself? or of starting a new habit? It’s go-time! If it’s a spiritual calling, then find a Scripture that will fuel your vision to go forward. Write it down and put the date by it. You’ll get so much joy and satisfaction from investing effort into what’s important to you.