Below is my final guest post for Power of the Home. I hope you enjoy it!
For this final post, I’d like to discuss some of the ways that 365 Acts of Love has shaped my relationship with and understanding of God.
(1) First off, through 365 Acts of Love, I’ve gained a deeper understanding of Christ’s sacrifice for me. Before 365, I could tell you all about Christ’s sacrifice—what he accomplished through it, what that meant for me, how that should affect the way I live, etc. I even had an idea of what it was like for him to go through such a sacrifice since I myself had made some (minor) self-sacrifices.
But through 365, I sacrificed more deeply for another person than I ever had before. It forced me to make huge changes to my day, and even my lifestyle, in order to love my wife. Those sacrifices gave me a deeper experiential knowledge of the nature of sacrifice, and consequently, a deeper understanding of what Christ went through in dying for myself and others.
Furthermore, the personal and tangible nature of my sacrifices made me realize how personal and tangible Christ’s sacrifice was. Christ, a real person, gave up his position in heaven to suffer and die in space and time on my behalf. He felt the pain of whips, the weight of the cross, and the sting of nails; the pain of wrath, the weight of sin, and the sting of betrayal. Compared to his sacrifice, mine are negligible. Even so, Christ’s sacrifice for me has become more real as I’ve experienced some of the pain (and joy) of serving my wife.
(2) I’ve grown deeper in my relationship with God. Because 365 is such a huge project, I’ve really had to rely on God to get through it. As part of that, I’ve been driven to prayer over and over and over this year which in turn has drawn me closer to God. I’m not saying that my relationship with him is perfect: I have such a long way to go that it’s not even funny (seriously, I’m not laughing right now). But at least I’ve made some progress.
(3) Finally, 365 Acts of Love has helped me view God less as an abstract, impersonal object and more as a person.
Before I explain this, allow me to give you a little of my backstory. I grew up in a Christian home, but it took me a while to make my faith my own. When I got to college, I realized that I didn’t have much evidence for thinking that Christianity is true. Naturally, doubts about my belief system cropped up in my mind. I eventually realized that I needed to investigate the truth claims of Christianity for myself to determine whether or not I should keep believing in it.
After much investigation, which involved some serious sacrifices of time and money for my wife and me, it seemed to me that Christianity was true. So I continued to believe in it. Even so, accepting it had more to do with accepting certain propositions as true than it did with developing a relationship with God. Furthermore, I think I (unintentionally) viewed God himself as more of a proposition or a concept than a person.
Over time, though, God became more personal to me as I attempted to grow closer to him. This relates to my blog in the following way. 365 Acts of Love expedited my transition from viewing God as a concept to viewing him as a person. It seems that a catalyst for this change stemmed from the fact that I began to view my wife more like a person, which was a result of 365 Acts of Love. Basically, 365 forced me to treat my wife with more respect and show her more love—that is, it forced me to treat her more like a person. As it did this, I began viewing her more like a person. And somehow, this affected my view of God. I really began to see him as someone with reason and emotions and desires and a will, as someone I could relate to. I don’t know why the change in perspective toward my wife changed my perspective of God, but it did.
Overall, I can’t believe how far-reaching the effects of 365 Acts of Love have been. And I’m sure it has been more effective than I realize and will continue affecting things for the better. I’m so thankful that I chose to do it.