Oh what needless pains we bear. When we’ve been misjudged by a friend. When our dedication doesn’t shape our job evaluations. When someone you love turns away with a wound you didn’t inflict. When a stranger responds to you with indignation or contempt. And you’re left saying, why?
When we finally remember to pray, our monologue prayers can be just as confused. We ask to be vindicated. To be justified. To be found innocent for all to see. We try to cling to and defend our value, as we long to be seen for who we are. To be reassured that’s who we still are.
But believers, there's a better Way.
We can resist being caught up in the drama that seems ongoing, and we can pause to listen ... to hear Jesus’ decisive last word that it is finished. We need not establish that we know the truth, because we can recall that we know, and are known by, the Spirit of Truth.
When we believe on Jesus for reconciliation with God, the Spirit of Truth alights on us. We are removed from condemnation, and found righteous and acceptable. God says to us as He said to His firstborn: This is my Child. And … He is beloved.
Beloved! Beloved means that being loved by God has recharacterized us, redescribed us, renamed us.
Funny – it can be cheaply traded in for being bedazzled. There was a gadget that came out in the ’70s, and grew more popular in the disco-ball ’80s. It promised to add rhinestones and glitzy sequins to any item of clothing or accessory you already had. Once bedazzled, the wearers would be sure of basking in the attention of people noticing their sparkle.
I think most of us settle for being bedazzled, when we overlook the more priceless item of being beloved. We’re eager to be seen as shiny, to be recognized for the inherent qualities we treasure. But we end up beguiled by the effort to represent ourselves, missing out on the authentic glow of those qualities that God has stored up in us on the inside.
When someone finds fault with us – especially when they continue to do so – it’s like they’re just picking off our sparkles. And we are busied by the work of defending ourselves, either out loud or mentally. Existing flaws seem trouble enough without people taking a dim view of us, with flaws that they imagine. If we’ve been faithful in some area, we want at least to not be devalued in the eyes of another in that area – particularly if it’s the eyes of a loved one.
You ever notice how sometimes when your back is turned, you can become aware of someone looking your way? Your senses tune into that person. If you’re bold enough, or well enough acquainted, you’ll turn and return the gaze.
There’s a gaze we often have our backs to, and that we sometimes tune out.
God looks upon us. His gaze is as steady as His love for us. If we’re emboldened to turn and focus on God, we see in His eyes who we really are. The nonbeliever sees someone ardently pursued by God and in urgent need of Him. The believer sees the irrevocably Beloved of God.
To be Beloved by God is to be-Valued by God. To receive God means to receive how He values you, and He values you as precious. To receive God means to receive his Spirit of Truth, which is an inner light, and a light round about you, that never dims.
To receive God means to receive being identified with His son, Jesus. And you will receive favor among men just as Jesus did, but you will also be unfairly rejected just as Jesus was.
So what really matters, and must come to matter most to us? That God has received you. That you are loved by God. You are valued and viewed by God the way he values and looks at Jesus – someone greatly worthy to be treasured, embraced, honored, anointed and authorized to represent all that He is.
Because that’s how God chose to see us, we are invested with all that value.
Beloved, let us reflect on what His light reveals: our reflection, in the eyes of Truth.