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  • Writer's pictureGWL

See, Look, Behold




See, Look, Behold

1 John 3:1-7

When I was a young teenager, I couldn’t wait for my 15th birthday! Maybe it’s a boy thing… but I was on pins and needles to get my learners driving permit… knowing the next step was a driver’s license!

I went straight to the courthouse, within a day or two of my birthday… took the written test… passed it with flying colors… no problem.

Only, it turned out there was a problem. An eye exam (vision screening) was part of the process. And at first, I struggled. In fact, the person administering the test kinda prodded me along, helping me “see” a few things I honestly couldn’t see! After the screening… the lady said, “you passed… but you need to get to an optometrist!”

So my mother scheduled me an appointment with Dr. Thompson, who used to practice here in Lanett (Anita Jones’ father). And sure enough… the doctor confirmed that I’m nearsighted! I can see things up close, but struggle with things far off…

Of course, you don’t get your eyeglasses right away. It took the better part of two weeks back then. But I vividly remember how shocked I was when I first walked out of the optometrist’s office with my new glasses on… and how clearly I could see! It was amazing! I had no idea that my vision was so bad…

It wasn’t until someone else told me I needed glasses that I realized something wasn’t right, and it wasn’t until I was able to see clearly that I knew there were things I hadn’t been able to see before.

In the third chapter of John’s first epistle, John writes, “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are.”

In the eyes of God, we are not our past, we are not our jobs, we’re not our bank accounts... or the things we’re good at. We are God’s children. God is able to look beyond the exteriors and facades we put up, and see our true selves.... AND in a world that has a fascination with claiming identity... we, as followers of Christ... as believers... identify as God’s Children. That’s what God calls us... it’s how God identifies us.

The problem is, we don’t always see that in ourselves. All too often we get caught up in what others see in us. What others say or think about us. And we get so preoccupied trying to “live up” to those things... or “get over” those things... that we lose focus on what really matters... what ultimately matters.

It reminds me of Matthew 6... “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness... and all these things (food, clothing, the things of the world) will be added unto you.” It’s a matter prioritizing... of “seeing” things in their proper place.

Our lesson for today begins with a simple word that we most often read over without much thought: “See….” Sometimes the word for “see” is translated “look” or “behold.” Look upon what God has given you! Behold… acknowledge who and Whose you are! You are a Child of God!

In fact, Right now we are the children of God. Right now we belong to God through Jesus Christ. Right now we are justified, saved by grace, forgiven.

Yet… at the same time, we are not fully righteous. We are not even good all of the time. We make mistakes more times than we can count. But when we finally see God, when God is revealed to us, “we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.”

On the day when our lives are wholly and perfectly found in Christ, there will be no more sin, no more suffering, no more darkness, no more pain. We experience glimpses of that now, for sure! Paul said, now we “see through a glass dimly” - our vision is far from perfect. (1 Cor. 13:12)

But as you and I surrender our lives to Christ, and as we learn to walk in His will and ways, growing as the Spirit of God reveal more and more of God’s Word to us… through faith, by grace, leaning on Jesus as the Way, the Truth, the Life… God is glorified, and we are sanctified! A theological word for the process of transformation that takes place within the lives of those who follow Christ!

When we experience Christ we are transformed. And we learn more and more who and Whose we are, as we worship and pray and serve in the presence of the God who created us to “glorify Him and enjoy Him forever!” (Shorter Catechism, Q1)

Think about the Disciples after the Resurrection! They were transformed from a fearful group of recluses… to unwavering proclaimers of the Good News - giving their lives for the sake of the Gospel! They were transformed.

Think of Saul, and his transformation into Paul along the road to Damascus.

Of course, the process of transformation, or sanctification, doesn’t always happen overnight! It most often takes, for most of us, a lifetime. But when you and I “see” Christ for who he really is, it begins the process of divergence from the ways of the world that doesn’t end until we look like Jesus.

Until that day, we live with verse 3: “And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.” In this in-between, in this time where we are already children of God but not yet completely who we will be... we cling to our hope in Christ. When feel lost, we look to Jesus for direction. When we struggle, we call out to Christ for guidance. Even in the midst of hopelessness, we find our hope in Jesus, and it is because of Jesus that we are being transformed... molded and shaped, into the image of the One who loved us first, and loves us most.

It is because of Jesus that we are being reconciled. And in him, we find our hope.

Maya Angelou wrote a poem that illustrates this so beautifully, yet simply:

When I say… “I am a Christian”

I’m not shouting, “I’m clean livin’.”

I’m whispering, “I was lost,

Now I’m found and forgiven.”

When I say… “I’m a Christian”

I don’t speak with pride.

I’m confessing that I stumble

And need Christ to be my guide.

When I say… “I’m a Christian”

I’m not holier than thou,

I’m just a simple sinner

Who received God’s good grace, somehow.

May we always look to Jesus, our Hope, as we await the day when we can finally see clearly…

Sent from my iPhone

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