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Read |1 John 4: 17-18|
There are few invitations more welcoming, than "Come as you are." In its purest form, it is an invitation to be human in the presence of others. Implicit in this invitation is a promise. The promise is that those who extend it are willing, prepared and able to receive you just as you are. And this promise, is a gift. It presents as an open door, to the reality of being truly seen and loved by others.
An open door, of this variety, is great! But, no matter how wide, it does place a demand on the one who stands before it. This demand is for courage. The courage to take the first, then the second, steps through the door. The courage to take those steps as you are. The courage to persists in being authentic once you enter. And courage is required, because there is real fear connected with each movement towards the possibility of authentic community. There is the fear that the shame of your past will never leave you: that it will taint every new thing you touch. There is the fear that in extending your hand to touch a new thing, the new thing may reject you. There is the fear that in unmasking yourself, your true self will not find acceptance. There is the fear that, even if you find the courage to take the first steps and come as you are, you will not be able to persevere in being authentic in who you are. There is fear everywhere. And the courage you need to remain true, in spite of the fear, is fed by love.
God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love (1 John 4: 17 - 18, MSG).
In Jesus Christ, we have all the love we will ever need to overcome the greatest fear that we will ever face. For at the moment of our belief God came to dwell in us, pouring out His love in us through the Holy Spirit. (Romans 5:5). And what's more is that He gave us standing identical to that of Christ's of whom He said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:17, ESV). God loves us; God placed His love in us--so it wouldn't be far off--but color our every day experiences; and finally, God is pleased with us. So with these truths, born of His everlasting love, we find the courage to come as we are. And we are as He says we are, not as they want us to be. We are Christ bearers: in Him, revealing the glory of the Father and drawing all people unto Him.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for being the first to invite us to come as we are. Thank you, for receiving us and transforming us with your love. Thank you for rooting us in your love, so that we can have the courage to go as you have made us everywhere. In Jesus' name, amen.
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Carolyn Sinclair McCalla is a daughter of God who believes that as we seek the truth of God's Word, and humble ourselves to live in agreement with it, that we will experience the transformation which allows us to enter wholistic wellness: spirit, soul and body. She is the Founder and President of EarthBasic and leads its Be-Held Community: a group of women seeking, living and being transformed by the truth of God’s Word together.