Monday, October 29, 2007

Steadfast love

Yesterday our pastor Don Dyck ended his sermon by talking about a beautiful Hebrew word for which there is no single English word. "Hesed" can be variously translated as "loving kindness", "steadfast love", "loyal devotion", "mercy." Hesed is descriptive of God's relationship with his people as well as relationships among people. God's steadfast love (hesed) towards people places them in a new relationship with each other shaped by the same love they have experienced from God. Hesed is Christ-like love.

Micah 6:8 says "And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy ("hesed") and to walk humbly with your God."

God calls us to live a life that exceeds the requirements that the law, social standards - and even God - places on us. He calls us to walk humbly with God and to reflect God's character. Hesed is both and attitude and the action that grows out of that attitude. It describes God's love for his people. Out of that hesed, God says "no matter who you are or what you do, I'm going to love you anyway, I'm going to redeem you anyway." It's unconditional love.

Pastor Don's notes say that "ordinary people become part of something bigger than themselves as they live faithfully by this standard."

I have a good friend who lives a lifestyle marked by hesed. She works wonders in the lives of people she touches. She has worked wonders in my life. In treating me with God's steadfast love, she has taught me what Christ's love is truly like. She and the spirit of God within her have inspired me to try and live likewise.

God's spirit has been within me since I became a Christian, but I have not always responded to his promptings to the extent I could have. My friend has been a mentor to me, helping me live with more abundant hesed. And this has changed me.

...and my mental health has never been as stable. I have never felt as fulfilled. I'm doing the work God made me to do - and it all came from my God-given lifestyle of hesed. Thank God for what he's done for me and where he's brought me.


Dream Writer said...

Sometimes I truly believe that my Mental Illness is stable and in control - I feel so good, so alive and them BAM! It comes back like flying colors.

marja said...

I know, Dream. When we're feeling normal it's hard to believe we could ever become depressed or manic again. I know it could happen to me too. After all, I'll always be bipolar. Yet even my husband says that in the 42 years he's known me I've never been so well for such a long time. Wow - eh?

I guess we just have to be grateful for each day as we live it and not worry about the past or the future.

moonlightwriter said...

I wish I could come hear your pastor, he sounds like a really good one!

Thank you for the sweet comment you sent me. You always have a way of brightening my outlook. Thank you for letting God use you. I am so glad you are doing well these days.

j a fellow bper said...

hey marja,
i really appreciate what you wrote on your last entry, i thank god that you reached out to him to find out he was reaching out to you!
i love your positive outlook especially despite all you've been through,
keep up the good fight