The Power of Trinitarian LoveSep 14, 2022
Blog by Gem Fadling
My new book, Hold That Thought, is about thoughts and voices that may be unhelpful to us over time. As I was writing this book, I realized I could not talk about thought work without also touching on the love of God. Without the foundational reminder of God with us and the help of God’s Spirit within, where would we find the resolve to engage our thoughts in an ongoing way?
2 Corinthians 13:14 contains a blessing that speaks directly to our desire to be embraced by the Trinity: “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” The Trinity lives in a perfect union of love. As much as we are invited to notice our thoughts, we are also graciously being wooed into the trinitarian embrace. This is the heartbeat of you already have what you need.
And just outside that inner circle lies this truth: “His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3 NASB).
It is the love of God, the grace of Jesus, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit that empowers us from within. If we stay in our heads by focusing only on our thoughts and narratives, our inner work may soon become hollow and lifeless. The organic engine that generates lasting change is the undercurrent of trinitarian love. This means everything you need access to, you have access to.
This requires receptivity and an acceptance of process. There may be layers on top of layers that require uncovering before we can experience the fullness of this verse. But the pursuit is part of it. Let’s look at the love of the Father, Son, and Spirit as we continue to be more open, aware, and willing to receive their love.
The love of God. In Matthew 3:16-17 we find that as Jesus was being baptized, a voice was heard from heaven: “This is my son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Built into this sentence is unconditional love and acceptance.
In a spirit of prayer, let’s personalize this sentence, and feel free to read these words aloud: “This is my daughter, whom I love; with her I am well pleased.” How does that feel?
Now, slightly more personal, I’ll use my name (feel free to insert your own): “This is Gem, whom I love; with her I am well pleased.”
Finally, hear God saying this to you in the first person: “Gem, I love you; you are so pleasing to me.”
- When I find myself pushing, I can pause to hear God call me his daughter. You are my daughter. This sense of family care can calm my need to manage and control.
- When I’m trying, I can hear God speak of his love for me. Whom I love. This love can quell my need to look everywhere else for esteem or value.
- When I’m angsting, I can hear God’s affirmation. With you I am well pleased.
This love can relax my anxious heart, and I remember I am always perfectly safe in the kingdom of God.
The grace of Jesus. Each Sunday in my Anglican church as the bread is held up before me, the priest utters these beautiful words: “This is the body of Christ, given for you.” Each word speaks beautifully of love and swims in grace.
- When I’m pushing, I can remember that Jesus gave his very life, his body, for me.
- When I am trying, I can remember that Jesus gave himself willingly, a gift.
- When I am angsting, I can remember that Jesus gave himself for me. My body. Given. For you.
The fellowship of the Spirit. In the upper room, Jesus reminded the disciples that he and the Father would not abandon them but would leave a helper, the Spirit.
“I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth” (John 14:16-17).
Jesus continues in verse 26: “the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of every- thing I have said to you.”
- When I’m pushing, I can remember that the Spirit promises to teach and remind me of everything Jesus has said.
- When I’m trying, I can remember that the Spirit will indeed help me. I am not alone. Ever.
- When I’m angsting, I can remember that the Spirit will be with me Embracing eternity can surely talk me off the ledge of my anxieties.
The love of the Father. The grace of Jesus. The fellowship of the Holy Spirit. Trinitarian love is the foundation on which we build our thought work. And we can work on both concurrently. We don’t have to put anything off. We simply take our next step on the path of love as well as the highway of our thoughts.
- The love of God. The grace of Jesus. The fellowship of the Holy Spirit. Which one do you feel the most need for right now?
- Take a moment to pray and ask for what you need.
- Pause here and breathe. Allow yourself to receive.
Note: Adapted from Hold That Thought by Gem Fadling. ©2022 by Gem Fadling. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press. www.ivpress.com.