Estimated reading time: 3 minute(s)
O holy night…
the stars are brightly shining.
It is the night
of our dear Savior’s birth.
(With me so far?)
Long lay the world…
in sin and error pining
till he appeared
and the soul felt its worth.
I was listening to a podcast1 recently (titled, Your Sense of Belonging) where the lyric from that familiar Christmas carol became the topic of poignant—and relevant—discussion.
Here’s my attempt at a transcript:
W—“Only when you find that soul finding its worth in who God is then you can belong to him, then, THEN you can experience what community really is. Because it’s not people trying to find their worth in each other, cause that’s—”
B—“Well I don’t need to get it from you.”
B—“And if I find it from Him, then I find myself free to enjoy relationship, as opposed to NEED relationship.”
Oh that we could understand—and live—this! How freed we would be to enjoy the greatness that God has packaged into every one of us. As it is, when we are so relationally bruised, battered, or afraid of being so, we hide behind our various defenses, and we find we use others for our own relational needs, rather than simply enjoy being together, sharing all this life we have in Jesus, to whom we are all so deeply connected.
The real issue is that our souls have not felt or found worth. At least, not their true worth.
We have an intrinsic value because we are created by the One who is Worthy. And beyond him just giving us breath (as though that statement could be qualified by the word “just”) … he shows again and again in the pages of Scripture as well as through all of history—and in my own life—that he deeply desires a friendship with us, and for us to know him and find our whole life and being in him.
That worth sets us free to live and to love.
We love because he first loved us.
Christ’s love (for us) compels us.
Love as you have been loved.
Love your neighbor as yourself.
Treat others as you would want them to treat you.
Take an interest in others.
These actions flow naturally from a heart that no longer needs to seek fulfillment. You might say such a heart has no needs. That is inaccurate, however. True, this heart in Jesus lacks nothing, but the need is still there—it’s just already met.
The soul that has not found its worth will work extra hard to prove its worth.
We are made to relate. It’s what matters most. It’s the thing that we always treasure when faced with losing everything. At our core, in the depths of you and me, we are made to relate.
For some that is so hard because they feel unlovable. For others it’s all too easy because they know how to “fill” their own relational needs by being with other people.
But to be already filled with Living Water means that we can enjoy the fullness of our friendship with God, and share the days he gives us with any others whom he puts in our lives. (And we in theirs.) Some we walk alongside will also be fully connected to the Vine, and so, be a joy to share life with. Others will be struggling, perhaps barely connected to the Vine, straining for a taste of the Life that flows from it, but weak and fragile and even defensive (or aggressive, trying to get from you what they really need from the Vine).
In the end we are all just weak branches who can do nothing on our own.
Apart from him we have no Life.
In him we live and move and have our being.
When our soul knows its worth, then we are free to live.
I pray today that you are fully alive.
He has overcome our brokenness, and he calls you friend.
Even better, he wants you to call him Dad.
1—The podcast is The God Journey with Wayne Jacobsen and Brad Cummings. I’ve mentioned it here before, but as I listened to a few episodes this week I remembered that it really is quite an encouraging 30-40 minutes each week. They just talk about life with God as it relates to the events of normal days, and even current events, etc. I do highly recommend.