So as to not keep all you guys desperately waiting for the second part of this post over the weekend (in a sort of Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi way) here is part two...
'Don't go changing to try and please me
You never let me down before,
And don't imagine you're too familiar
And I don't see you any more'
If unconditional love and acceptance are ours then the outworking is obvious. Don't change. I mean why change we've been accepted, we've been loved for who we are so why change? This is what drives me insane about the song. Anyone who goes into marriage thinking that they won't change as a result of it has surely got it wrong. If marriage is going to work then both people will have to change. I mean that's just part of loving someone else.
However, more than change being a necessity it is actually an inevitability. Relationships change people. When people talk about someone 'falling in with a bad crowd' it is because they know that who we are in relationship with changes who we are. Relationships change people. Love changes people.
So it is with God. God's acceptance and love of us is not conditional but this unconditional love cannot leave us the same. Being in relationship with God cannot leave us the same. We don't change simply out of duty, or out of will power but rather we change because an understanding of God's love for us will change us.
As we understand the magnitude of God's love for us we love others
As we understand the degree to which God has forgiven us we forgive others
As we see God's unconditional acceptance of us we accept other people
Therefore the biggest key to Christian transformation. The most life changing thing which can happen is for us to understand the love of God for us. This is why in Ephesians 3 Paul prays this...
'I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.'
Paul just wants you to get how much God loves you because that is what will bring about the changes of chapter 4. We change not because we need to for God to love us but because as we see God's love for us it's impossible for us to stay the same.
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