Sunday, April 25, 2010

Three Rs for a Clean Receptor

I have an electric kettle for boiling water. It's the kind that has a base that gets plugged into an electrical outlet. The kettle part can be lifted off the base without dragging the cord along. There's a little button in the bottom of the kettle that fits onto the base to transfer the electricity. I've had it since I was boiling water for baby food and it works great. Most of the time. Turns out that if you lift the kettle from the base while the switch is still on, a small electrical arc is formed and somehow leaves carbon on the little prongs. If I continue to misuse the kettle in this way, the carbon builds up and the electricity is no longer transferred. There's absolutely nothing else wrong with the kettle--it's ready and designed to function. There's nothing wrong with the electricity. There are 120 volts running through the cord ready to do the job. The only problem is in the receptors.

We're a lot like that kettle. We're designed to receive God's love and be used in powerful ways. His love is available to us in immeasurable abundance. Sometimes our receptors get messed up. That "carbon" builds up between our ears when our thoughts aren't in agreement with God's truth. Believing a lie can keep our hearts from receiving the truth of His love. It's there. We just don't "get it".

One of my favorite verses about the love of God is in Romans 8:

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us
from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (vv. 38-39

Someone recently pointed out to me that our past is not in this list of things that cannot separate us from the love of God. I can emphatically say without hesitation that our past cannot separate us from the love of God--that's the whole message of the New Testament! What we believe about our past can, however, prevent us from receiving His love. It's not a love problem, it's a receptor problem.

Guilt, shame, and a sense of failure can seriously clog up our love receptors. They're all based on lies--Christ paid the price for every sin and every failure. Yet, we often see the consequences of past choices and it's easy to come under the weight of a sense of failure or guilt. There really is a way to be free.

Repent. Renounce. Release.

Whether we've robbed a bank or lost our temper, we can confess our sin and the penalty has been paid with the blood of Jesus. Maybe you've already repented--most of us know enough to do this, but we continue to carry the weight of shame, guilt, or a sense of failure. It's generally easy to see that wrong choices we've made have hurt people and affected lives. What's may not be so obvious to us is that God is a Redeemer and He can make something beautiful out of the worst mess. In fact, it's a promise. Depression, despair and darkness are tied up in believing that this is not possible.

This is where the "renounce" comes in. The dictionary defines renounce as: to refuse to follow, obey or recognize any further. We need to renounce the lie that our failures are greater than His power to redeem. We need to renew our minds by filling them with God's promises of redemption. It takes faith to hold onto these promises until we see them fulfilled.

Release. This is the word I use to describe the "letting go" process of putting my messes into His hands. He alone has the power to redeem. He wants to redeem. In fact, it's His nature to redeem. I don't know exactly how it works, but I've seen it happen so many times--when I finally get to the point where I release things into His hands, changes begin to take place. It's almost as though I've been in the way as long as I've been hanging on to my sense of failure.

And so these three Rs get rid of the "carbon" on the receptors and once again the power of His love can flow through our lives. Living in the light of His love we find that, indeed, His yoke is easy, His burden is light, and His joy is our strength.

He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord's favor has come,
and with it, the day of God's anger against their enemies.
To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the Lord has planted for his own glory.
(Isaiah 61: 1b-3)


  1. Amen, Sista. And HALLELUJAH!!! (I covered the shouting, just need a "joyful" font now.)


  2. Whoa. I was reading those verses from Romans 8 today, and sent them to Allison as encouragement. And wow. Yes, I hear ya, and love the kettle analogy ;)