Photo credit to Brittany Cunningham.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14
Have I stopped to think about the immensity of what this is telling me? Sure, isn’t it wonderful that Jesus, God, came down to earth as a man and God and lived and died and rose for us? Isn’t that wonderful? No, actually, it’s more than wonderful. It’s unheard of in the history of the universe. It’s unimaginable. It defies reason. It’s beyond amazing. It’s unthinkable. It’s so God that only our God would not only think about doing something like that, but only our God would actually do something like that.
And I’m wondering if we don’t skew our focus a little because we really don’t stop to think about the immensity of what You did here? I mean perfect holy God, sinless and pure and all-knowing, high and lifted up, exalted above everything, and You choose to come down to earth in the form of a human and live among us as human and yet as God still. Explain that. I can’t. I just know it’s true. And it’s truly awesome, drop the jaw awesome. And then we hear “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life…” (John 3:16) Yes, You love us that much. But did I forget somewhere that Your love for me isn’t the most amazing thing in the picture here? Did I forget that first and foremost it wasn’t about me but it is “For God”?
Did I forget that it’s not Your love for me that compels You? Did I forget or miss that it’s Your “Youness” that compelled You to love me despite myself and to give Your Son for me? That’s why I’m responsible to believe in Your “Youness”. See, the following verse in John 3 reminds me that I’m saved “through Him” by that “Youness” of You. Before You and without You, I’m evil. You came for me in my evil state. I didn’t even have to kill anyone to be considered evil. I only had to not be like You.
You are Goodness. You are Truth. You are Love. You are Lord of lords and King of kings. You are Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. You are God of Angel Armies. You are our Healer. You are so much, I can’t name all of You. Your name goes on forever and ever. Your name is everything that is needed. Your name is who You are and what You are. Your name is You. But You made a way for me to not only find You but to enter into You so that I could be like You. And John tells me it’s so that all may see that what happens in me has been carried out by You, has been “carried out in God.” (John 3:21)
John and John the Baptist tell me that Jesus, the Word, came to bear witness to me, to us. What did He come to bear witness of? My value? No. He came to bear witness that God is true. What? Does that mean that Jesus came to bear witness that God is real? In a sense, yes. It means that what was concealed about You has been made manifest to us through Christ. It means that You are changeless, the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. It’s part of Your character that You are truth and all that it means. Every promise You have made will be actuated. Everything about You, well, we can depend on ever bit of it. There is no shadow of turning in You.
Jesus’ first and foremost priority on earth was to “utter the words of God.” (John 3:34) Even as a boy of twelve Your response was, “didn’t you know that I had to be concerning myself with my Father’s affairs?” (CJB) Jesus tried to get us to understand who it was all about. Lord, here’s what You tell us the Spirit of truth will do, “He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative but will say only what He hears. He will also announce to you the events of the future. He will glorify Me, because He will receive from what is Mine and announce it to you. Everything the Father has is Mine; this is why I said that He receives from what is Mine and will announce it to you.” Jesus, You were all about sharing the character of God. That glorifies You because it glorifies God. Your number one purpose is and was and always shall be to glorify God.
So what does that make my number one purpose if it is Your desire that I be like You? What does that make my number one purpose if it brings glory to You for me to be made like You? Could my life purpose be to glorify You also? Has my focus been wrong for so long? Have I been focussing so much on “God so loved me” that I forgot to focus on the first and most important part “For God”?
Yes, God loves me so much I can’t explain the measure of it. Yes, God loves You so much I can’t explain the measure of it either. But first and foremost God. No, first and foremost GOD. Before we were here, before the earth was here, before the first atom- GOD. I should just stop to think about that. God was GOD before anything else. Before the first angel, God was GOOD. Before anything God was TRUE. Before anyone knew love God was LOVE. Before the first breath was taken God was LIFE. God was MANIFEST before anything was there to be manifested to. Just stop to think about it.
Now, it’s awesome that God would love me or you. But it’s even more awesome that GOD would want to make Himself known in me, that the EVER EXISTENT EVERYTHING WHO IS GOD would be so personally involved with His creation that He is glorified by glorifying Himself in us. It’s amazing and yet, at the same time, it all makes sense. But it doesn’t start to make sense until we get personally involved with Him.
For God, for His glory, so loved us that He had created us to love Him back. Love is like that. Love involves the “inner person.” All of Your character God, is involved in all You do, including the loving us part. Let’s understand that better. See, the word for love, that You are, is agape and it’s Hebrew equivalent is ‘ahav. And truthfully, the words way back then had a sexual basis. It was aimed to people and only metaphorically to loving things or acts. This love is in Your personal nature. When we love You we love Your person first and then we come to love Your word and Your ways. Love comes with fervor and passion. Isn’t that how husbands and wives are supposed to love each other? Isn’t that how we love even our children, with fervor and passion. But God, You are always bringing up the idea of comparing Your people and You to a husband and a wife. Why?
You so strongly use examples of adultery and marriage when talking about covenant relationship with You. Isn’t that about “intimacy, ecstasy, bliss, jubilation and euphoria”? Maybe Your love is about more than religious virtue. Maybe there’s no such thing as “arm’s length intimacy.” You are interested in “personal, intimate involvement” as Skip Moen puts it. You exemplify it. You passionately involve Yourself with Your creation because that passionate involvement is at the heart of Your character. We see the expression of that character in Genesis 1 in the fruit of Your expression, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” The problem is that we, like the men and women of Genesis 11 twist that and express it instead with this of our lives, “Let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name…” The sad thing is, You have already given us a name and it’s Yours.
Your name is all of who You are. Your glory is in You. You invite us into Your name by making us like You. Outside of You we are lost. There is no name that I can establish for myself on my own that will last into eternity. Only You are eternal. Only that which is in You is eternal. If I am not in You, I am not. Think about what all that means. I am not true because You are Truth. I am not alive because You are Life. I am lost because You are the Way. I don’t know love because You are Love. Keep on thinking about it. I can be like the people at the time of the Tower of Babel. Really, isn’t that still going on? Or I can realize that You are my name. I can realize that You came so that I could see that and enter into the reality of that Truth, of You. You came to give me a name, and it isn’t Sharon. You came to give me Your name, Your character, Your love.
Why? It’s bigger than me. You glorify Yourself by making me all that You created me to be. It glorifies You when my life becomes worship. When my life becomes all in You, You are glorified back. First, You were glorified forward by just being You, and then, You made us to glorify You back. Yes, You made me me. And somehow I’m still me when I invest myself into You. But somehow still, You bring out Yourself in me, more and more every day, and though I’m me, people get to see more of You.
I have to live keeping this in mind. It’s so easy in today’s culture to focus on how much You love me. But maybe I ought to be more focussed on loving You. Because maybe if I were more focussed on the loving You back part, since You’ve already invested Your love in me, I’d be and act a lot more like You. And maybe if You were my focus, other people would see You a lot more than me even though I’m still Sharon. Because the fact of the matter is that You came to make Your name known in me, in each of us. That’ s why Jesus came. That’s why You created us. That’s why nothing deserves our passionate love more than You. So that’s my prayer. Lord, I want to let You make me in Your image, after Your likeness, and let Your authority, Your rule flow through me to a world and people that You want to be intimate with. Let Your kingdom come, let Your way, Your “Youness” be fulfilled in me and all those who bear Your name and worship You with their lives in spirit and in truth.