January 27

“Stablish, strengthen, settle you.” 1 Peter 5:10

“In taking Christ in any new relationship, we must first have sufficient intellectual light to satisfy our mind that we are entitled to stand in this relationship. The shadow of a question here will wreck our confidence. Then, having seen this, we must make the venture, the committal, the choice, and take the place just as definitely as the tree is planted in the soil, or the bride gives herself away at the marriage altar. It must be once for all, without reserve, without recall. Then there is a season of establishing, settling and testing, during which we must ‘stay put’ until the new relationship gets so fixed as to become a permanent habit. It is just the same as when the surgeon sets the broken arm. He puts it in splints to keep it from vibration. So God has His spiritual splints that He wants to put upon His children and keep them quiet and unmoved until they pass the first stage of faith. It is not always easy work for us, ‘but the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Jesus Christ, after that ye have suffered awhile, stablish, strengthen, settle you.’” (Streams in the Desert)

I invented a game of emotional tag that I played with my mother, much to her chagrin. I would ask, ad nauseam, “Do you love me?”She would answer, “Yes, son,” to which my pat response was, “How much do you love me?” Then she would say, “A bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.” Such a curious phrase—I wonder now if she was quoting from the lyrics to an old Doris Day tune:

I love you a bushel and a peck,

A bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.

A hug around the neck and a barrel and a heap,

A barrel and a heap and I’m talkin’ in my sleep.

Or perhaps she simply repeated what she had heard her mother say numerous times throughout her own childhood. Either way, the whole ordeal would end in Mother’s embrace, only to repeat the cycle multiple times each day. I am certain she tired of the exchange, but she never gave a half-hearted response or listless hug. I received from her everything and more that a son could ask from his mother.

Until you and I are secure as sons and daughters, we will never move beyond unhealthy spiritual games of our own making. Stand firm in your position as a son or daughter. God’s Word declares you are loved with an everlasting love, and that hell itself cannot hold you back from His embrace. Divine love far exceeds a bushel and a peck, and His embrace endures throughout eternity.

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