We know that a dog or a kitten never pretends to be more than they are. Who they present to us is who we fall in love with. Such innocent purity helps us in every relationship we have. Our pets do not wonder why we love them even though they may bark or make a mess at times. When it comes to friendships, humans worry about being overly transparent, however, Jesus calls us His friend and we cannot come to embrace who it is that He knows and loves, unless we are honest about who we are ‘in Him’ and to God. Regardless of our pretend posturing, or our efforts to impress, or what we imagine God does not know, we are loved with His perfect love. Humans cannot enter into His fullness, into His depth of perfect love if we deny who we truly are. Are you sufficiently challenged to obey God? “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” john 13:34 As God has loved me and you with all our warts, pretensions, character flaws, personality projections, brokenness, worst tendencies, shortcomings…our Father is commanding that we MUST love our neighbors as we love ourselves. In order to earnestly obey God, we must know ourselves as we are. We must recognize the truth, accept that truth, and love ourselves as His beloved new creation.
We cannot fully surrender to God’s perfect love, that casts out all fear, unless we come to know who it is that He loves deeply and perpetually. Equipped with His courage, our hidden reality, becomes naked before God and in the light of God’s love. Is it possible to truly love ourselves as we are loved? All things are possible as we surrender to His indwelt Holy Spirit. Any under currents of anger, sense of entitlement, grandiose imaginations, pride, thoughts of lust, envy, or self pity are already known and forgiven by our Father, and He loves us anyway. As we meet Him in the depth of who we truly are, He gives us that piercing revelation with grace and mercy. Our authentic self is first exposed, then transformed by the experience of His unsurpassed love. To know God is more than the study of Scriptures. To know God is to share in His knowingness of all that He has always known. This is to experience God’s love fully.
Before God struck Saul blind on his determined way to Damascus to kill Christians, Saul was attached to his teacher of the Law of God. Not one human could convince Saul that what his most respected teacher taught him did not mirror God’s heart. His prideful knowledge of the Scriptures secured his confidence that Jesus was NOT the Messiah. Saul stood firm on all that he believed to be true about God and himself. “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come.” John 16:13 Saul’s position of respect and authority bolstered his self image as he had built a reputation of a great teacher. His identity was that he was a man who would kill to defend God’s way. When God, His Son Jesus, appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus, the Holy Spirit led Saul into all truth about who Jesus was.
Saul was transformed as He personally experienced the power, grace, mercy and perfect love of God. The once prideful Saul was blinded and led into town. He had nothing to do but contemplate his ways in darkness. Once Saul embraced that he was a sinner, he was baptized by the Light and the revelation of who Jesus is, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the great I AM. Just like God told Moses, tell the Israelites that I AM. Saul was humbled and transformed into the fearless Apostle Paul who wrote the majority of the New Testament. “He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.’ Acts 11:14 I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ God Almighty even used a donkey to confound the wise. His ways are not our ways. Are you open to receive enlightenment from the Holy Spirit? Before you read the Bible ask Him to give you understanding and discernment. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” 2 Timothy 3:16
Our spiritual attachments become our idols as we devote our attention on establishing a reputation for ourselves as all knowing, all understanding all that is holy. The consistent effort to present ourselves as puritans, is a mask that keeps us in denial of our truly floundering self. We do not recognize who Jesus knows and loves because we have not fully surrendered to the point of admitting our attachments to things, images, teachings or impressions outside of Christ. We cannot be transformed by God unless we experience His perfect love. His perfect love, loves us as we are, warts, misconceptions and all. “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” James 4:10
Our sacred call to self discovery is from the indwelt Holy Spirit who beckons us to meet Him where He alone knows all, at our core. When we enter into His holy Presence, “He makes known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed ‘in Christ’ to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment – to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. In Him we were chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope ‘in Christ’, might be the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:9-12
God chose us and forgave us, as His imperfect beings to do His will. He gifts us to His liking and uses us to fulfill His will. We all fall short, and we may lack confidence like Moses, but our Abba Father loves us as He created us, just as we are. If we deny aspects of ourselves, our lack of self-acceptance keeps us from genuinely surrendering all of who we are to God for His glorious purpose. In order to transform us from a Saul to a useful Paul, we must allow Him to reveal the truth. As we embrace those unbecoming personality and character traits, we find our true self, which is who God can relate to with a depth of honesty that ushers in humility and thanksgiving that God would chose us. “Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 10:39 The death of our carefully crafted public self allows us to know our Father of mercy. His mercy responds to that which is ‘in us’ that is not pleasing to God – then He transforms it into that which is loveable. The gift of His mercy is what allows us to love ourselves, God and others authentically. As we lose our attachments to our ways, our goals, our preferences, that is when we find His way. We are His adopted, beloved and sealed child of God, set aside for His purpose. Jesus was talking about self-discovery. What do we hold most dear? What is the stuff that we cling to, the parts of us that we value more than Him? In our transparency with self, our Creator is there mercifully allowing us to sacrifice, and willfully surrender all that we are for His name sake. The goal of a spiritual relationship with God is that we allow Him to transform us so that we come to embrace who He loves at a depth that only Perfect Love can reach. ‘Therefore, if anyone is ‘in Christ’ the new creation has come: the old is gone, the new is here.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 Fully exposed to God as our authentic self we experience His awesome compassion, mercy, kindness, grace and long suffering. He waits for us patiently to fully surrender. “for He chose us ‘in Him’ before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.” Ephesians 1:4