Love others as well as you love yourself. Mark 12:31 (TPT)
Loved on a Very Deep Level – Live In the Movement Series – Part 3
Life happens in the movement.
Sure, one of my favorite Psalms is 46:10:
“Be still, and know that I am God.”
But even that, I think, is an invitation to join in the dance (see yesterday's devotion) that God is, and that God does.
Be still: be in the moment. Turn away from distraction. See that God is with you, even here, even now, even in this.
Sometimes it takes stilling our racing, remembering, planning minds, for a few moments to see the Divine in this one. Find the invitation, see it, be present to it, and answer it with your attention.
And what happens when we answer it?
Yesterday we mentioned 1 John 4:16:
“God is love! Those who are living in love are living in God, and God lives through them.”
There’s a flow in that verse. As you love, you live in God, and as God lives in you, you love.
Frederick Buechner wrote:
“Wherever people love each other and are true to each other and take risks for each other, God is with them and for them and they are doing God's will.” (1.)
To enter it into that flow, that catch and release of grace, is to begin to understand and out-work what Jesus meant when he said things like:
“In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.” (Matt 6:14 MSG)
“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.” (Matt 5:7 MSG).
“Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.” (Luke 6:38).
It’s not that God can’t forgive unless you forgive. It’s that forgiveness is a flow you enter into. The flow, the movement, always comes full circle. That’s why when you accept that you are loved on a very deep and basic level, it empowers you to love others from the same place. That’s why when we can finally accept the love of another, we begin to understand how to love others in return. That’s why Jesus said:
“Love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.” (Mark 12:30-31 MSG.)
Love is movement, a dynamic dance that we participate in. We can’t be the receivers of it without also being the givers of it. When we accept the Divine invitation to join in the dance we were created for, we enter into the movement and flow of these possibilities.
We participate by learning what it is to forgive, and be forgiven. You can’t really know forgiveness until you experience both ends of it.
We participate by giving and receiving. We can’t know generosity in its fullness until we experience both ends of it.
And we participate by allowing ourselves to be loved.
And to finally learn to love ourselves, just as we are. And when we understand that, it gives us the freedom to dance.
When you live in the movement, life becomes a matter of showing up and saying yes.
1). Frederick Buechner. Secrets in the Dark. Harper Collins.