“Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way
more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body,
the church.” Ephesians 4:15 NLT
Why is God wanting us to ponder who he is to us right now? We should understand that what God reveals about his character, he intends to work into us. Quite simply, because our job any time, but particularly in this tragic episode in our history, is to become more like God the Father, more like Jesus our Lord. How can we cooperate with the Holy Spirit in working that completely new nature, God’s very character, into our souls and spirits?
Luke 6:27-38 is a good place to ponder that character. It begins with the radical command to love our enemies! “Do good to those who hate you.” A helpful way to measure our new character development is found in Luke 6:31, “Do to others as you would like them to do to you.” How are we doing with that?
In Luke 6:35 Jesus repeats, “Love your enemies! Do good to them. … Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.” According to verses 6:37, 38 that means, don’t judge or condemn people, but forgive them, and be generous with them.
You may ask why God would want to make us more like himself? The Bible tells us that we are made in his image and likeness. (Gen.1:27) Because of the Fall of humankind, we were full of darkness, but that darkness, our old nature, was crucified with Christ when Jesus became our Lord. (Rom.6:6) It’s lost its power in us. We are now God’s dearly loved children, children of the light, not the darkness. (1 Thess.5:5) Our heavenly Father wants us to grow up so that we may share in Christ’s glory.
God sees the beginning and the end. This is not the final act. When he looks at you he sees your place with him in eternity for which you are now only in training. In Daniel 7:27 we find, “Then the sovereignty, power, and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be given to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will last forever, and all rulers will serve and obey him.”
Jesus is smiling as he offers us his hand, and urges us, “Be as I am.” 1 Peter 1:6 promises that there is “wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while.” … “But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” (1:15,16)
As true believers, we can rejoice! Our suffering and pain have a beautiful, eternal purpose. God is working his very nature into us. Let us praise God together and keep growing more and more like him.
Dear friend, be blessed as you take the higher perspective of what is going on around you. Be filled with God’s peace and confidence as you determine to allow the Holy Spirit to use the hardships and trials to work God’s character into you. You are already beautiful, delightful in Jesus’ eyes, but imagine and believe how glorious you will be as his bride! Amen.
Mary Sumner ~ September, 2020