Thursday, August 22, 2013
Enjoying the Lavishing Love of Family
1John 3:2 Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.
1John 3:3 And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
John continues this intimate appeal to those who are followers of Jesus Christ. Not only are they followers, but they are members of the family of God, and as such, they are beloved children. These beloved children are living in difficult days and he is encouraging them in their faith. His desire for them, and God's desire for them, is that they grow up to be holy men and women of God, according to his plan. At this point, however, they are awaiting the return of Jesus Christ and his physical representation of God's child here on this earth. As reflections of Jesus Christ, a clear, earthly reflection will only be possible when Jesus returns and that his why "what we will be has not yet been revealed." We know that for those who are seeking his face, for those who are growing in their faith on a daily basis, when he comes, we will see him clearly and face to face. Not only will we see him clearly, but we will be like him because of our proximity to him. But in the meantime there is responsible action on the part of the the dearly loved children -- they are to be imitators of Christ, purifying themselves, because Jesus, himself is pure.
Do you ever need to know that God dearly loves you? Then maybe it's reading the writings of John because he seems to grasp in a very personal and intimate way what it means to be loved by our heavenly Father. It is in these writings that we recognize that we have been adopted into an amazing family and this is the Father's intent, that we experience the love that he wants to lavish on us.
We need to know this love, for only his love will sustain us as we await the return of Jesus Christ. The people in the first century thought it would be any day and now, we live in the 21st century and we are still waiting. There must be a hope that sustains humanity as we await his return. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be here and to live among us and it is the beauty of the presence of the Holy Spirit that does sustain us. While Jesus may not be present with us in the flesh, the Holy Spirit is present with us as a constant reminder that we are God's dearly loved children and through the presence of the Spirit our spirits can witness to knowing the love of God.
Jesus is the Son of God, and yet, we have the promise of becoming like him. This whole adoption idea just continues to grow and blossom. As I sit and think about this -- I realize that I really have no words to express what this means for you and for me. The God of all creation not only reaches out to us and loves us, but is wanting to include us in his family with all the rights and privileges that go along with being his child. For those of engaged in a relationship with him he is transforming us even now into the image of Jesus -- so that we already have the family resemblance. When Jesus returns, we will together with him face to face and the resemblance will be even more clear, the transformation will be complete. There will be no doubt in anyone's mind -- we will look like we belong to the family!
Where do you want to be on that day? Do you want to be on the outside looking in at those who are a part of the family? If not, then we must begin even now preparing for that day. The people of the first century were preparing and they will be there. We, in the 21st century must be preparing so that we can join them on that day. If there is one thing that defines the family it is holy love. This is where our action becomes a part of the entire process. If we are living each day in preparation for that day when we get to see the Lord face to face, then we ought to be participating already as members of the family. We ought to dress like the family, study the family and act like the family. If the family exudes holy love, then our prayer ought to be that we exude holy love. If Jesus, our big brother is pure and lived a life of purity, then we ought to be pure, living a life of purity. No, not because of a works faith, but because we want to be like him!
Everything that we do in this life must be based upon the foundation of understanding our place in the family of God. Once I am established within the family, a family defined by holy love, then that holy love becomes my very motivation for life. My desire for purity comes out of a relationship with Jesus -- simply because he is pure. If our relationship in the family is not the foundation of our lives then we will become frustrated trying to be "good" people, but eventually giving up because we will never measure up. It's true. On our own we can never measure up. You can never be a member of the Smith family if you live next door with the Jones'. You can try to have all the things the Smiths have and yet, if you're not adopted by the Smiths -- you won't be a Smith. God says to quit trying to live next door and simply look like the family by "doing" all the right things. Instead -- give up the junk next door and allow the love of the family to overwhelm you and simply accept all that it means to be adopted and to be a child. God wants to give it all to you!
Where are we in the journey today? Are we next door - looking in -- and just trying to do our best on our own to sort of look like the family, or are we willing to jump in and allow the love of a Father to be lavished on us -- and for us to really look like we belong. The choice really is up to us.
Lord, thank you for loving us as your dear little children. Amen.