Delighting in each other.

One of the best things about discipleship is being pushed to discover and understand things about yourself that you would not seek on your own. Especially when the woman leading you toward the discovery has been walking with the Lord longer, can navigate Scripture blindfolded, and has acquired godly wisdom far beyond your years. Strength and comfort are found in her encouragement, and her support propels you to keep going when your discovery leads you to something unappealing that you would prefer to shove back under the sand rather than take home and study.

I always tell my girls, "I will never ask you to do something I am not willing to do myself." Because of this, they enjoy listening to me share about my discipleship adventures with Ginger. Her standards and expectations exceed my own, much to the delight of my girls, who declare, while laughing, "Now you know how WE feel!" They did, however, sit wide-eyed while I reported that after giving me an assignment, Ginger checked in to confirm our monthly date and said, "Make sure to bring your assignment with you. If it is not complete we will need to reschedule." I looked at them grinning and asked, "How would you feel if I wouldn't let you come to COMMITTED if you didn't do the monthly assignments?" They looked horrified, and one of them replied, "I would be kicked out!"

When I relayed this exchange to Ginger the following night at our meeting, she laughed and said, "Well, you did ask for this! And, you are not in the certificate program of discipleship, my friend. You are in the Ph.D. program! I push you a lot harder than I push others because I know you can handle it." I laughed with her and responded, "Just because I can handle it doesn't mean I LIKE it!" She just smiled.

What was the assignment? A study of the importance/necessity/priority of reading God's Word DAILY.
And this verse was at the heart of it.
Revelation 3:20 "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me."
The question: What is revealed about the heart of Jesus here?
He is Present
He is Persistent
He is Purposeful
He Pursues us
He is Personal

I send my assignments via e-mail so she can go over them before we meet. It allows us to dive right into a discussion rather than spend our time reading. For the first time in a year and a half, she sent my notes back to me with this line attached: “You totally missed the point of this assignment. Try again, please. Hint: RELATIONSHIP.”
!!!!!!!!!!! <insert shaking head, rolling eyes, and laughter>

Revelation 3:20 "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me."
What is revealed about the heart of Jesus here?

He is Present - The Lord willingly chooses to be near me, never leaving or forsaking me. He is always present. Always ready/willing/desiring to talk to me and hear from me.
He is Persistent - He chooses to knock. He could kick the door in, float through the door, demand that I open it. But He doesn't. He knocks - over and over again - waiting for me to open it for Him.
He is Purposeful - He comes to me. He calls to me. He asks to be invited in - with the purpose of interacting with me.
He Pursues - "I stand at the door and knock." He CHOOSES to come to me. He is not calling me to Him. He comes to me. Not because He needs me - but because He WANTS me.
He is Personal - Strangers do not come to the door with the desire to connect or relate. They are selling something, wanting something from the person inside. Jesus comes to the door to offer one thing - Himself.

This is such a beautiful, intimate image of our Lord! But one I found foreign and uncomfortable when I was a child, teen, and young adult. I believed in Him and I believed He loved me, but with a distant, dutiful love. I approached God with confidence and faith because I knew His character. I could delight in Him but I could not see how or why He would delight in ME. I wanted to believe it - I tried to believe it - but it eluded me. All I could see were my failings. 

BUT GOD ... in His faithfulness, showed me where my thinking was wrong. I still have to fight for control of my thoughts at times because for decades, when I imagined how God viewed me when I approached Him, it looked like this:
"Michelle is here? Hmm. Let me see her stats, please. Oh, my. So many sins. And the same ones over and over. Why can't she do things right? But, she did obey some of My commands so I suppose I should give her credit for that. Her sins far outweigh her obedience, but at least she tried. Okay. Let her in."

But when I read the Revelation 3 passage, along with other verses in Scripture describing God's love for His children and His people, I clearly see the errors in my thinking. Because the truth is, when I approach the Throne of Grace, THIS is how the Lord responds:
"Michelle is here? WONDERFUL! I have been looking forward to our time together! I always enjoy the way she talks to Me and listens to Me, and I love her desire to know Me more. Please, bring her in!
I cannot wait to see her!"

It is this scenario that brings tears to my eyes, for even as I read it now, with all the years of legalism, disbelief, and fear behind me, I still marvel at the truth that God sees me - He knows me - and He wants me. And now, I rejoice in the knowledge that we can delight - in each other.

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

He brought me out into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me. Psalm 18:19

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