Being The Beloved: Book Study – Chapter 4

11 February, 2015

Imagine you’re walking into a meeting at work. What do you want others to think about you?

- That you’re good enough?

- That you’re good at what you do?

- That you fit in?

We all have desires like these. We want others to appreciate and accept us, and we think we need to earn that. The problem is that we try to do more, work harder, and do greater things for the sake of showing others that we are worth something. We try to do this with God too. We try to prove our worth to Him.

But God doesn’t count us as his beloved because he’s impressed with anything we do. Rather, in John 16:14-15 we see that the Father has bestowed all that is His upon the Son, and that the Spirit bestows all that belongs to the Son upon those who follow him. In this we are united with the Son so that the Father’s love for the Son includes us. We get to share in that relationship so that through the beloved Son we also become His beloved.

Rublev's Icon of the Trinity

The picture above is Andrei Rublev’s depiction of the Trinity. The Father, Son and Spirit sit together around a table upon which rests a chalice representing Christ’s sacrifice for us. The sacrifice that makes our adoption as son’s and daughters possible. We are invited to complete the circle, to come and take our place at the table and to be His beloved child.

Study Questions

1. “What if being fully alive doesn’t depend on our becoming something spectacular or achieving something great? What if it starts with being loved? What if it ends with being loved?” (65). If this is true, how might your life and your time be spent differently?

2. Rick explains various ways he has tried to earn God’s love. In what ways are you trying to earn God’s love?

3. What is the difference between serving as a servant and serving as the beloved? Which one best describes you?

4. Describe in your own words what it means for you to be the beloved son or daughter of the Father?

Previous Chapters

To engage previous chapters follow the links below.

1. http://rickmckinley.net/the-cry-for-freedom

2. http://rickmckinley.net/live-fully

3. http://rickmckinley.net/god-is-love

5 Responses to “Being The Beloved: Book Study – Chapter 4”

  1. Erica

    1. One of my favorite quotes from the book so far. I tried it out on my 4 year old this week. It meant pretending to be engrossed in laundry while my son painstakingly took 5 mins to put his shoes on, instead of saying “Hurry up! We’re going to be late for school!” It meant letting him explain how his lego machine. How it picks up trash, scoops snow, has a lookout. Every lego piece had a specific function. It meant letting him get his own water, even if some of it spilled on the floor and not showing or helping him do it the “perfect way” like usual. Our house seemed a bit more relaxed and happy this week.

    I’m also getting the opportunity, again, to practice this with my daughter. She get’s up to eat every 2-3 hours at night, but I just love her so much. I’m more accepting of the fatigue this time around. It seems like you just love anything your baby does because it’s them.

    2. How haven’t I tried to earn God’s love? I’ve even tried to intentionally not try at all, to earn God’s love. Gave up my Bible for lent one year.

    3. Valentine’s Day is such a rough holiday. Usually I tell my husband to skip it because we’re poor but this year I realize it might mean never celebrating this holiday. Then it was this weird gift giving game. What are the specific expectations of the day, can any of it be an element of surprise, and is sushi at a restaurant really plausible with a new baby? How do you do things for God without it being contrived? When you’re faith isn’t so great but you want to obey and trust and do it any way… is that just trying to earn love. I often over think it and it feels like something in the middle. You can’t under think it either. You stop trying and suddenly it’s Wednesday and you haven’t thought about God at all. So you put a picture of Jesus on your bathroom mirror and google verses and then realize none of that even looks like a relationship. I feel God when he reacts to me, and that’s when I feel beloved. When I pray and there’s an answer. When I see the sun. It’s easier to respond from an act of love by Him. The feeling is there and nothing from me has been work.

    Reply
  2. Ruben J. Alvarado

    If this truth was manifested in my life and I’ve come to believe that it is so, I would love Go so much and be grateful for such a love. I would approach life ,no matter what comes , feeling that all will be alright. His love would be all sustaining. My time would be spent in loving our brothers and sisters. Love one another as I have loved you would be my affirmation. My first thought when thinking about this study question was that I probably still feel that I have to do something to earn that unconditional love God bestowed on us. As if one could ever do that. No greater love than the giving his Son’s life for us. I would feel that sacrifice compelling me to help my brothers and sisters. I probably would question this motivation on the basis that it seems this compassion for others is like trying to do something great for God. My children loved me. One of the ways I sensed their love was that they didn’t want to disappoint me, they wanted to please me and didn’t want to hurt me. I also remember how much they enjoyed when their parents were there for special events like graduations, academic and sports endeavors . religious ceremonies, baptisms, weddings , and the birth of their children. We did it because we loved them so much and they felt loved by our presence. We were there even in times of trials and disappointments. This affirms to me that we are no more fully alive and loved than when God our Father, Jesus, the Son , and the Holy Spirit is with us. I feel compelled to spread the love.

    Reply
    • Rick McKinley

      Ruben, You brought up an interesting point in your reply. You said the compelling feeling you have to help others can seem like an attempt to do something great for God. You’re right, at times it seems like we help others because we believe it is our duty to God for his gracious gift. Like we have to do it as a form of repayment. For many of us, this is where it stops. We don’t get as far as your final explanation of loving others, where you say that it comes from the presence of the Father, Son and Spirit. You’re right! Our being in relationship with Him, and His being present in our life gives us an abundant love. We are set free to let that love pour out into the lives of others.

      Reply
  3. Heidi Dahlin

    Okay, so it’s Valentine’s Day, so what better day to talk about love…or how difficult it is to understand the concept. I grew up in an economy where love was not given out unless earned. Not just in my family, but in society as well. I recall the angst of adolescence, where “love” was reserved for the beautiful and popular. I was neither, so I bought into the economy where love could be earned by doing things for others. I later found out there is a term for that: co-dependent. The problem with co-dependency is that it leads to slavery, rather than freedom. I spent so much energy trying to please to earn a few crumbs of affection that it quickly consumed my life. God, on the other hand, chose me, loved me, delighted in me, all without me doing anything. That is such a crazy idea compared to how I lived before. It took me many years to accept this as a reality–nothing to earn, nothing to do–it is a gift given freely and experienced freely.

    Reply
    • Rick McKinley

      Ah, Valentines day and high school. Our idea selfish idea of love fits both of these well doesn’t it? On one day a year we can go all out and prove our love for someone else by buying them things or doing things for them. And high school – a place where we are loved by what we can give and how we can benefit someone else’s run at popularity.

      It is so great that God has taken you from a place of co-dependency to a place of freedom where you are grateful to be part of His loving relationship and to be His beloved!

      Reply

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