Captivated, Not Captured

Whee!!
Whee!!

God placed Colossians 2:6-8 in my path this morning. As I read these verses in another blog and looked at the snow outside, I thought about the difference between captivated and captured.

“Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.” NASB

I am captivated by the beauty of the snow this morning, but I feel captured by the freezing temperatures and the ice-covered roads. Children don’t think about temperatures or roads when they look out at the snow. They trust their parents to take care of them. They only see a winter wonderland, and their thoughts are about snowmen and sledding. Being captivated is a beautiful feeling; it’s what Christ’s precious love does when it is firmly rooted in my heart. Like a child, I have faith in my Father’s love.

The principles of the world capture my heart and mind in a different way, but Christ turns those principles upside down with principles based upon love and grace that made, and still make, no sense to pragmatic or lust-filled folks who say it’s a nice idea, but it just won’t work in the real world.

What is the real world anyway? Are the elementary principles of the world right, or did God change the world with Christ’s precious love? The answer depends upon whether or not I’m changed by His love. If I walk in Him and remember that I am firmly rooted and built upon Him, my faith will overflow with gratitude. That kind of gratitude changes the world. If my faith has the attitude that I’m being punished or that others should be punished, the world sees fear. If my faith depends upon or promises prosperity, the world sees lust. There are many in the market to be held captive by either principle. Captivity is the safest place to be because I don’t have to worry once I choose my cage. I can shout my happy song, squawk my rhetoric, or sing my sad suffering all day long and never experience the freedom of Christ’s love.

If I seek the truth and embrace Christ’s love, I’ll be captivated. That makes a big difference in the way I live and love in this world. Gratitude is the key. Gratitude that comes from being firmly rooted and built in Christ isn’t bragging about all I have. It’s a much deeper gratitude not dependent upon circumstances. It can only come when my heart experiences the captivation of Christ precious love. Lust holds the heart captive and is the root of all addiction. Practicality and pragmatism hold my mind captive and is the root of all doubt. Faith sets me free and is the at the root of my love for Christ. It opens doors and sets my heart free to love as God desires.

God’s Mosaic

When it comes to love, capturing comes from letting go not from holding on. Love sets my heart free and holds it closely at the same time. Freedom is the key when it comes to the heart. It cannot survive and will not thrive when held tightly. Love caresses and lets go, and the heart is forever captured in the moment when I know I am loved.

Knowing I am loved releases my heart and allows it to move into the open space God has prepared for it to grow. Growth requires room, and I believe that is why love so often fails. There is the need to own that invades the heart when faced with love. Confusion results when fusion with another becomes the goal. Identity is lost in human attempts to become one.

Becoming one is the goal in relationship, especially when it comes to God. True love allows differentiation. In a mosaic, each piece is individually beautiful. When the pieces are put side by side, they form a wonderful new image. That’s how it should be with love. The oneness God desires is a body that loves one another and Him as they maintain the identity He gives to each. So often, love becomes a conglomerate mess and individuals become lost in the mix.

Wholeness in the heart is about maintaining identity and allowing love to join the uniqueness of individuals like those pieces in a mosaic. God will create the image if I will be who He created me to be and reach out in love to Him and to those in my path. It’s a wonderful feeling to be connected by love and know that I am part of something bigger than myself while still maintaining the beauty only I can add to God’s creation.

I may not be able to see the magnificent creation God is making, and that is where I must let go of my need to understand and simply love and trust Him to do the rest. Honest communion is what causes love to be a mosaic rather than a conglomerate. It provides a perfect space for hearts to grow and connect in a way that gives God the room to create His masterpiece.