It’s been a good Sunday. I got to preach on Jesus this morning.
I love doing that because every time I preach on Him I feel we become more intimately acquainted.
The closer I get to Him, the more I want to be like Him and shed all these devices I use (we all use) to try and earn love. The more I get to know Jesus, the more I learn this about myself…I can stop pretending.
Knowing Jesus teaches me my true value is not in how witty, charming and intelligent I am compared to others. That’s nothing but arrogance masquerading as depth.
Conversely, my real value’s revealed in how I treat those who actually lack wit, charm and intelligence.
It’s in how I love people who are less than I wish they’d be, whose friendship brings no validation to me personally.
I’ve learned how valuable this is because that’s just how Jesus has had to love me.
I despise when preachers paint a picture of Him as if He were somehow needy of our affection. “Jesus just couldn’t bear heaven without you”…hogwash!
Yes, He loves. Dear God, how He loves. But it is not because we are lovable in the least. Instead, it is because He is love incarnate. And we win the universe’s lottery by being lucky enough to be His object.
He loves me not because I’m lovable but precisely because I so desperately need His love. And yet He is so perfect that His love is not a pitying love. No, He loves someone as pitiful as me with a passion worthy of the most desirable of lovers.
He reaches down to me initially in condescension, yet does not leave me down below to be stared at. Instead, He lifts me up to where He is, as if I somehow deserved to be there beside Him and not beneath Him.
I can’t imagine how unintelligent I must come off to Jesus, what boring company I must be. And yet He walks with me through my dull day, not symbolically but in actuality. What an immense love, that gives only because I need it, not because I have anything to give back to Him.
So as I grow to know Jesus more, He pulls my facades down.
He stops me as I begin to perform for Him, trying to earn His love once again. He tells me I don’t have to be witty for Him. I don’t have to do anything to deserve his love and attention. I simply have to allow myself to be the object of His unquenchable love.
Though I am unlovable, it actually makes sense because He calls me His child. Just like a child does nothing to deserve his mother’s love, so I just sit in my Father’s lap, reveling in His attention to me, wondering in the depth of His love for someone so insignificant.
I’m forever amazed He could actually see me as an adorable child, as His own.
And so in Him, I am finally free.
I am free of all pretense. My pride is an unneeded mask I toss away in His presence. I don’t have to pretend anymore to carry some worthiness.
As a result, I’ve noticed where the insults of others used to cut me, now I can readily accept how worthless they see me.
I am rubbish? Fine. I wholeheartedly agree. Yet I am rubbish that is cherished, treasured, and polished like a brass ring. I may be trash in this world’s reality, but in the prism of His love I’m refracted into brilliance, and color, and added depth of dimensions.
In this reality, I really don’t even register. But in His eyes, I sparkle with the delight a new born baby holds only for his parents. Others may see a rather plain infant. But God sees through the eyes of a Father, and somehow sees Himself in His child.
I am a backdrop on which He projects infinite worth and beauty and significance. There is nothing left for me to strive for. Everything I ever hoped I could be is already accomplished in this hologram of love I now hide within.
I gladly hide behind what He wills me to be. And by that will, I am purified and empowered.
I’m free now to be nothing more special than His child, loved for no reason but that I’m His. And with that, I drop my desperate struggle to be good enough for everyone else, and finally…rest.
Tonight I rest in His arms, as His most beloved yet unlikely child.
And as I drift off to sleep, I hear Him singing sweetly over me with the tenderness of a loving Father. He’s singing the truth which has so completely saved me…
“Yes, Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so…”