Thursday, February 27, 2020

Revealing Love

Most of us spend our lives looking for a sign from God. We want Him to show us something. We want Him to plaster a rainbow across the sky, the way He did for Noah. We want Him to wet the fleece, the way He did for Gideon. We want Him to raise up the dry bones, the way He did for Ezekiel. We're all waiting for God to show us something, something that will reveal His love to us. That will reveal His presence to us. That will reveal Him to us.

But God doesn't reveal Himself to us. Not since Jesus. (And I think probably not, as a first choice, since the beginning of all things, but...sin.) John even says so himself.

God reveals Himself - and His love and His presence and His grace and His heart - among us (1 John 4:9).

And that changes everything.

You can look all the way back to Genesis 1 and see that this is the way God's always wanted to do it. He's always wanted to be among us in such a way that we can see exactly who He is, that His love isn't some grand idea that we have but is something tangible that we can touch every day. He walked with His people, and even when they sinned, He still went after them. And then we went on living this unreconciled life, by our choice, until He just couldn't wait any long and came to do the reconciling. And then, in Jesus, God lived among us again, revealing His love in the kind of flesh and blood that we could relate to.

That's the same way He reveals it to us today.

It's Jesus, yes. It's absolutely Jesus. Even today. But it's also the way we live with one another. God's love is revealed among us when we do the loving. His heart is revealed among us when our heart beats. His grace is revealed among us when we are gracious with one another. His mercy, when we are merciful. We have become bearers of God's love into the world, revealing it in the places in which we live and move and breathe. This is the way He's chosen to do it.

So much of the world, Christians included, are waiting for a sign, and what we've failed to realize in God-among-us is that we are that sign. We are the rainbow in the sky. We are the wet fleece. We are the dry bones. We are the way that God is showing Himself in the world, among us, not to us. And we are the only revelation that some are ever going to see of Him.

It matters. It ought to impact the way that we live with one another, not just as God's love to our neighbors, but as recipients of God's love from them. We have to recognize where God is moving in the world, even through human hands, because this is the sign He's given to us. This is how He's revealing Himself.

We all know Christians who can be so busy loving others that they don't feel the love themselves. They pour themselves out and wonder if God even notices. That's why I've been deliberate about saying this in both directions. Because as busy as we are loving, we need to be just as busy being loved. We need to let ourselves witness the revelation of God's love among us as much as we are letting ourselves be a part of it. We need to stop and see in the witness of our neighbors, from our brothers and sisters, the rainbows. This Christian life we live is about both.

So let's get to loving and being loved. Shall we? For this is how God reveals Himself.

Among us. 

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