It takes a profound conversion to accept that God is relentlessly tender and compassionate toward us just as we are—not in spite of our sins and faults (that would not be total acceptance), but with them. Though God does not condone or sanction evil, He does not withhold His love because there is evil in us. Brennan Manning, Chapter One
Conversion. The conscious act or decision to move from one point of view or belief system to another.
Unfortunately, it seems that we evangelicals use this word ‘conversion’ only when referring to a person who is making a conscious decision to follow Christ.
As I see it, Jesus not only is looking for a ‘profound conversion’ from us at that wonderful moment in time when we first decide to follow Him, but in truth, He is expecting us to live a life that is filled with ‘profound conversions’ on a regular basis. As one pastor put it, “Salvation is not an end to itself, but simply, a beginning to a whole new journey.”
If we’d only take the time to search the New Testament, I believe we could find numerous examples where Jesus’ first-century disciples are subjected to ‘profound conversions’ on a regular basis. Just think about it for a moment. To poor guys like Peter, John, Matthew, and the rest of the gang, conversion meant learning and re-learning on a daily basis; exchanging familiar ways of looking at life in order to embrace the bold Kingdom-based viewpoint as demonstrated by their masterful leader, Jesus of Nazareth.
And so it should be in the lives of all of us living all these centuries later.
As Brennan Manning states in Abba’s Child, it takes a ‘profound conversion’ for us earth-dwellers to see and believe that the God we worship is actually a compassionate and unconditionally loving Father who not only loves us but actually likes us!
To be honest, it’s much easier for most of us to believe in a God who graciously loves and accepts us when we are good, but is, quite honestly, tee’d off at us when our sinful behavior raises its ugly head. Sadly, the way so many of us Christians live our lives under the fear of a judgmental God, it would be quite understandable if a non-believer, looking at our messed up beliefs, ends up thinking that the God we serve must certainly be a god suffering from a severe split-personality behavior!
Just stop and think about this for a minute. Under our most common perceptions of God, on days when I’m a good boy, certainly God is pleased with me. But catch me on one of those days when I’m much less than good, and that same God will turn His face from me and never return until I’ve cleaned up my act. Sadly, in the words of Blaise Pascal, “God made man in His own image and now man has returned the compliment.”
The truth is that it’s not God who is made up of mood swings and behavioral dis-orders. It’s us! And the profound conversion Manning suggests here is designed to replace this faulty fleshly-driven picture of God we have with one that reflects the accurate picture Jesus has of His heavenly Father. A beautiful portrait of a Loving Creator who is determined to ‘love the hell’ out of us even when we act like we don’t want it!
Hmm. I guess it’s time for you and me to make a ‘profound conversion!’ Time for us to challenge our earth-bound perspectives of God. Time for our faulty perceptions of the Father to be torn down and replaced by a Kingdom perspective which accurately portrays God as He truly is.
Manning speaks God-honest truth here when he says, “God is relentlessly tender and compassionate toward us just as we are—not in spite of our sins and faults (that would not be total acceptance), but with them. Though God does not condone or sanction evil, He does not withhold His love because there is evil in us.”
Anybody ready for some real profound conversion?
As we continue reading Manning’s book, the ‘profound conversion’ train is leaving on track nine. I hope you’ll join me on this journey where most everything we once believed about God is stripped away and replaced by His Kingdom truth!
Father Heart of God, here we come. All aboard.
My prayer: Lord, this core truth that 1) You are relentlessly tender and compassionate toward me, and 2) You love me and like me just as I am, rocks my world. I understand why Brennan Manning insists that it will take a ‘profound conversion’ within me to accept such a radical truth. Thank You that Your love and acceptance of me is not dependent upon my ability (or inability) to clean up my act. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: Something tells me that I’ve understood this radical truth (that God unconditionally loves me and likes me just as I am) in my mind, but have not let this same radical truth touch my heart. What would a ‘profound conversion’ to this Gospel of Grace look like in my heart, my mind, my soul, my life?
So what is God speaking to you today as you live as Abba’s child in the midst of His Gospel of Grace?
Over an eleven-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at God’s Gospel of Grace; Exploring the Good News of God’s Unconditional Love & Acceptance. We are using Brennan Manning’s classic book, Abba’s Child – The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging as our guide. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Gospel of Grace home page for ease of use. ENJOY!
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