Five Minute Friday: Potential

Actual

Gentle Reader,

What a day this was.

Kate says: potential.

Go.

Oh, the just-so-whelming,
Maybe has an ending,
Potential love of God
How it leaves me alone
Fear to the bone
Trapped in works of mine…

Apologies to the actual lyrics of Reckless Love. (I’m not here to debate those. For the record, I do enjoy the song but think that “relentless” would have been a better word choice). As soon as I saw tonight’s prompt, these phrases immediately popped into my mind.

That’s how we often see the love of God.

As potential love. An affection, as according to the Mssrs. Merriam and Webster, that is “existing in possibility, capable of development into actuality.” It’s possible that He will really, truly love us if we get all of our proverbial ducks in a row; if we never mess up; if we never find ourselves in a position of actually needing His grace and forgiveness.

Strange, isn’t it? The entire Christian belief system centers around a God who is whole, complete, not lacking in any good attribute. When we come to the crisis point of crying out for salvation, a moment enabled by His active grace that has gone before and enlightens our dark hearts, we understand that we are staking everything on His mercy. A merciful God cannot be unloving.

Yet we so easily slip into believing that He is.

We develop the lists, the rules and the anxiety.

The Apostle Paul makes it clear that we are not to abuse God’s grace. We aren’t forgiven so that we can sin more (Romans 6:1-2). His commands are good and the longer we walk with Jesus, the more He works to help us understand that goodness. But it’s easy for us to miss or misinterpret. We see “command” and we immediately jump to “dead if I don’t obey.”

Because we see God’s love as existing in a state of potential.

And if His love is simply a potential, then His grace and mercy must have limits.

So better not mess up.

Don’t misunderstand me. I agree with Paul. We have no business engaging in presumptuous, willful sin just because we know He will forgive us. At the same time, paranoid living, wondering if He really does love us, fearing that there is a place too far, is a true misery.

His love is not a potential. It is an actual. It is realized, ongoing, unending, deep.

In that, we can rest.

Stop.

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13 thoughts on “Five Minute Friday: Potential

  1. This is such a good post, Marie! Though we know God’s love is certain it can still be easy at times to live like it’s just potential, like there’s something we have to do to earn it. There is deep rest when we grasp the truth that his love is absolutely unfailing!

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    1. Amen, Lesley. I sense that the Holy Spirit is taking me on a journey to a place of deeper understanding of and rest in His love. This is coming about through Jen Wilkin’s study of John’s epistles; I can’t recommend it highly or strongly enough.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m afraid I have to fight the notion that God’s love is potential. My brain knows it’s actual but my heart sometimes listens to the lie that I’m not good enough yet to be secure in His love. I feel like at my age I should be over that but nope, still hangs around. I’m working on it though. Great post Marie and words I really needed! Cindy

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    1. Oh, Cindy. I totally understand where you’re at. I have the exact came struggle. Tonight I pray that God will grace you with an overwhelming sense of His love and presence.

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    1. “God’s love is there.” For some reason, that really strikes me. The love is there, because He is there. Always present. As He said to Moses, “I AM.” Will be pondering this.

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