Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
John 3: 16-17 (NIV)
In the Gospel written by the Apostle John, from which the two verses above come, John records numerous occasions which demonstrate that throughout Jesus’ life, throughout His ministry, Jesus always went around making somebodies out of what society viewed and labeled as nobodies.
Jesus went around finding people where they were, in whatever situation or place they found themselves, and took them where they ought to be. And it all began because, before anything else, He loved them.
Whether the woman at the well or the woman about to be stoned for adultery. He entered their lives at a critical moment, lifted them, and moved them toward all they could and were meant to be. Whether it was the leper on the side of the road calling out to Jesus, or Matthew and Zacchaeus, both hated tax collectors, or the invalid sitting beside the pool for 38 years—He made an eternal difference in all their lives.
Jesus grew the Kingdom of God one by one by one, by giving a little lump of His grace, a little piece of His love, a little bit of Himself to everyone He met.
To love, not condemn, each of them and us into the Kingdom of God.
So that each one of them, and each of us, could bloom into all that He intended for us to be. Like glorious flowers, glorious children of God, all created and then sent out into the world to make a difference in the lives of others. That’s what He intends, wants and hopes for us.
Those two verses capturing God’s view of us and all we can be, reminds us that in every day and setting—“God loves us just the way we are, but He refuses to leave us that way. He wants us to be just like Jesus.”
God sees our potential and is always drawing us forward, convicting us, poking us to be better. Always moving us in the right direction. Always moving us toward reaching our full potential as one of His children and one of His followers. Always moving us toward all we were created to be.
But in the process of moving us, prodding us toward our best, don’t ever forget the first line of that statement—“God loves us just the way we are…”
If you think His love for us would be stronger if our faith was, or you and I were more perfect, you’re wrong. If you think His love for us would be more if our understanding of His Word and teachings were deeper and better, wrong again.
We need to be careful to remember that because He knows we are not yet where He wants us to be, or all He intends for us to become—His love for us is still always the same.
So we need to be careful never to confuse or compare the quality, amount and perfection of God’s love for us with the love from other people around us. The unfortunate truth is that the love of other people for us often rises with our performance and falls with our mistakes.
But that’s not so with God’s love. He loves you and me—the same, the most—no matter what.
He loves you and me right where we are, but loves us so very much, that He refuses to leave us there.
In His Name–Scott