the reading corner – july

David Benner’s Surrender to Love is an interesting read based on the theme of my study right now—the fullness of Christ’s love. Benner makes a profound statement that we are unable to truly experience the healing, transformational love of God without surrender and vulnerability.
Surrender does not feel very safe for most of us. Surrender is costly. What if we trust only in our ability to please Him, and not in Him alone? What if we surrender and find we are controlled and not free? Benner makes it very clear that we must be able to trust fully that God’s love is unconditional, that it is wholly good, and that He loves us despite ourselves. This vulnerability and surrender go beyond faith, as it almost always involves some doubt. Is God safe enough for us to be our naked true selves? Nothing in our human experience can fully love others until this transforming love has its effect. Therefore, we must surrender to experience fully the healing wholeness of God’s Love. As my Sunday school teacher used to say, “God’s love is scandalous!” Now, there is a concept to grab hold of. We must finally understand that there is nothing we can do to manipulate or gain God’s favor, that we love only because He first loved us. Therefore, we have to accept ourselves the way we are before we can allow this unconditional love to transform us. It is not in any thing we do, except in our vulnerability to allow this Divine Love to change us. Being loved unconditionally does not change us, but it is in accepting that He loves us and inviting that love in that will accomplish its healing work in us, and further it toward others.
The goal is, as Paul tells us (Benner p. 79) “that we might know the love of Christ which is beyond all knowledge, and so be filled with the utter fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:16-19)

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