Eight years ago today, I hated myself. I loved (narcissistically) myself. I loved to hate myself, but hated to love myself. So God, who loves me and who loves to love me, showed me what real love is by directly intervening in my attempt to end the love-hate struggle once and for all. He did that by “ending” Christ for my struggle, once and for all. And if there is one thing, one fact, I cling to – have clung to – every day since July 25, 2008, it is what love did. What His love can do. Will do. Does. Without fail. And that gives me hope that it can never be too late.
Two words come out of this morning’s time with God: “Assured” and “Professor”. Assured, adjective, meaning ‘confident’ and ‘protected against discontinuance or change’, from Latin ad ‘to’ (expressing change) + se ‘without’ + cura ‘care’. Think of it as “changing to be without care” or becoming being-without-doubt. No doubt equals all carefree. Professor, noun, meaning ‘a person who affirms a faith or allegiance to something’, literally ‘someone who professes (declares publicly)’, from Latin pro ‘before’ + fateri ‘confess’.
The Bible, God’s Word, is my professor and the bottom-line source of my assurance; my teacher, my guide, my ‘how-to’ manual. My constant re-assurer. It can be yours, too. It says specifically to “Study me daily. Learn from me. Test what others say against me. I am directly from God, your Maker.” And its Cliff Notes (who doesn’t love Cliff Notes?) are very simple, short, and sweet: Love (really get to know) God, The Creator, and love others as I truly (am continuing to learn to know and) love myself. As God loves me. Because, when it comes down to it, as I feel about myself, I do feel about others. God is teaching me. He saved me on that day, literally, from my own self-hate, selfish love, and the resulting, life-consuming self-despair, by making it perfectly clear that I am worth everything to him. And so are you. Every one of us is priceless.
To summarize, I can’t profess, declare publicly, how much the Bible and the faith it assures me of mean to me except by consistently, constantly declaring publicly what they mean to me. Again, if I have learned anything in these past eight years, it’s that it simply can’t – ever – be too late to declare these life-saving, life-changing facts to you. To Faithfully, Obediently, Assuredly Live (FOAL) in my actions and my words, for anyone who will listen.
And I am relieved to be relieved of all responsibility for how my declarations are received – their impact is God’s part. My “job”, my w-o-r-k is just to put the message out there. He handles who hears it. I have come to see the honor in being a part, albeit a very small but very necessary and important member, of this team. Despite all my bumbling and fumbling and stumbling about – in the total darkness of ignorance of Him – He has still found a use, a purpose for me. Twice over! He has delivered me from my own hurts, bad habits, and hang-ups; and then from some pretty serious health issues.
Psalm 78 (ERV)
:1 My people, listen to my teachings.
Listen to what I say.
:2 I will tell you a story.
I will tell you about the things from the past that are hard to understand.
:4 … We will all praise the Lord and tell about the amazing things He did (Me: does!)
:7 So [all generations to come] would (will) all trust in God, never forgetting what He had done and always obeying His commands.
“Whether you want the job or not, whether you feel qualified or not –
Dad(Me: Christian), you are the(a) theology professor in your home (and everywhere you go).
“And once you are in this position, you can’t resign. Because even your resignation will teach you something about faith. … Start by refining [y]our own spirituality.
(Rick Johnson, 10 Things Great Dads Do)
My kids are 19 and 21. I’m concerned that I haven’t done – didn’t do – enough to reach them with God’s message. So for them, I have to believe it simply can’t – ever – be too late.