Feb 13th CWU Fellowship of Christian Athletes home of the Wildcats
One of my favorite stories involves Podo Helmer an ex-pirate grandfather to the Wingfeather children. He once hunted sea dragons. The book series is about as wild and desperate an adventure as they come with other worldly creatures and a vivid character depth for the reader to dive into. I read all of the books to my children. And there is a portion I want to share with you when the totality of Podo’s past is unavoidably revealed. The passage reads like this:
The Wing feathers traveled east to the Green Hollows, where many years before a rowdy pirate was tamed by the tender love of a woman named Wendolyn Igiby. Podo was often seen on the deck of the ship late at night while most of the crew slept. He gazed at the star-bright heavens and breathed deep the salty air, for he knew the night held a special beauty when one was far from land. He carried his leg bone wherever he went, and it brought him great pleasure to bang it on the mast to signal mealtimes. He moved through the days in peace and wonder, for his whole story had been told for the first time, and he found that he was still loved.
North or Be Eaten, by Andrew Peterson p. 321
We need to be fully known.
Now we see but a dim reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12
Why is this phrase placed in the famous chapter defining love? I suggest to you because love is connected to being fully known.
Currently love trends toward feminine terms, losing its complexity and depth. It is a choir with only the top notes being sung.
Exercise to ground you in the love of God:
1. Become aware of God’s presence and know He has a proud of you kind of love. He has an I won’t back down from life with you no matter the popularity or social hate towards your profession (Matthew and Zacchaeus both tax collectors) or if you are an outcast (the ten men with leprosy Luke 17). When experience physically your needs being met your body healed this love is more. It’s an I’ll buy you lunch ie the feeding of the 5,000 love. Become aware of the bold rescue and heroic understanding where God’s only son dies for you (really for the whole world) so you can live (so they can live). This is a saving Private Ryan assignment Jesus accepted for you. Why does he do it? Your Father wanted you to make it home to him. This is why. God’s word describes a love that is practical and relatable but so much more than what we have seen or felt in our lives. The idea of a rescue when desperately needed is a ground wire to our comprehension. Loved enough to be rescued.
2. Review the day with observation and look for where you felt loved. Where were you provided for, accepted, proud of, where did you have physical relief because of God’s presence.
3. Pay attention to your emotions not to be ruled by them but to acknowledge them. And now align them with the truth of God’s unfailing, steadfast, unchanging love. When did you feel mercy? It’s here for you today. When have you experienced forgiveness? In an attempt to circumnavigate our blah blah blah in one ear out the other I’ve heard this a thousand times before think of the safest person in your life. The person who knows the most about you and still loves you. Your mom? Your grandma? Your dad? A close friend? My Grandma Phyllis is like this for me. I could tell her anything I need forgiveness for and I would hear the words, “I forgive you.” There is a gift of your whole story being known by a safe person its relief is quite effective.
Loved enough to be forgiven.
4. Look toward tomorrow with an expectation that God won’t change his mind about you. He died for past, present, and future defeats. He knows your mistakes and still associates himself with you. Still calls you son. Still calls you daughter.
Eliminate the opposition ie fake religion:
Religious people can often think they really know something. They believe they are definitively better. Identify when fake religion is rubbing off on you. It often starts with envy, which is a common sin of the religious. There is a temptation to envy those who God appears to be using more than he is using us, this is a self-interest or self focus rather than humility and contentment. Someone fully known and fully loved is already accepted. They often reflect with an attitude of I have what God wants me to have. I can’t be more loved by God than I am right now. Circumstances can’t strip this from me. And I’m here to be a champion of the love of GOD. I’m here and showing up known and accepted by God before I start I know God is with me and while I attempt and push my body to the limits and leave all of it on the court he is still with me. And after when there is no crowd, no critic, no applause I am still known.
Frankly we are flat-out cherished by God. The God of all power, the God of the Universe and Creation is consistently faithfully available to us. And from this fuel source we can rightly respond. We can ask, “Are we faithful?” Are we saying yes to what we are called to?
It’s not really about us being big and good, it’s about GOD in us who is big enough and good enough. His love is there in the places of our need with practicality and provision. Right there when we run out of it. Right there when we’ve done all we know, HE DOES THE MORE. He does exceedingly abundantly beyond. In this beyond life there is no room for of self-interest, it will put us on the wrong side of God’s activity.
Consider the boy with the lunch, self-interest would have put him on the wrong side of an incredible provision miracle. He responded to the request and he gave. And what he gave Jesus became MORE. No one has envy for the 5 loaves and 2 fish he provided right? Really it would be ridiculous because God was the source. Jesus offered thanks to God and the disciples distributed the provision. We just distribute what God gives us. And somewhere along the way we learn that it wasn’t about a meal. It was about knowing him. It was about loving God. It’s about living like Jesus.
Consider how Peter, in John 21 failed fully and was returning to fishing. And there for the first time he responds to Jesus with like actions. Peter responded with “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.”
Peter knew stuff before that, he knew Jesus was the Christ and still failed to stand by that knowledge. But there on that shoreline he ate fish and simply responded. This meal was a realignment and a defining moment for Peter as a Christ follower. His failure forgiven. His selection secure. He loves.
Consider the next verse:
Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know.
We are all like the pre-failure Peter not knowing what we ought to know.
3 But whoever loves God is known by God. 1 Cor. 8:2
And then we get it. We get that God’s love hasn’t evaporated in the sting of our defeat. We don’t hold a critical record against ourselves or others. It’s not about knowledge of that sort. It’s a close relationship with real vulnerability. Its hard truth over breakfast. And how do we respond? WE LOVE AND ARE KNOWN.
Our understanding of God’s love is uniquely tied to our understanding of God’s acceptance and forgiveness of everything we’ve ever done. The highlight reel and the disaster project we offer to God. Accepted. Invite him to fully deconstruct what he will. He takes us on, a restoration project of immense value just as he did Peter.
Let’s finish with 1 Corinthians 13 because this is a love we can trust.
If I speak in the tongues (13:1 Or languages) of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
It’s all noise.
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
The PhD or doctorate and the I live by faith ALONE extremes out there, the played hard at the game, sweat, sacrifice, and discipline just so I can boast ALL have this is common nothing is their final score. That defeat is real if we don’t love.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
The amazing days have an expiration date. The outstanding intellect still dies in the end.
God offers us completeness.
God offers face to face. A posture that says know me is wanted.
For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
This quote was in the hall of Nicholson Pavilion today and I agree with you Josh, there are no coincidences.