Who are you, really?

Today’s Pulse article is adapted from the August 11th, 2020 Pulse.
 
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

One of the mysteries of the gospel of John is that one of the disciples is  referred to as “the disciple Jesus loved” (John 13:23, 19:26, 20:2, 21:7, 21:20). According to church history, this disciple is none other than John himself, the author of the book.

Consider what you would be like if you saw “the one that Jesus loves” as your primary identity, the way you viewed yourself. Not a mother or father. Not a husband or wife. Not a teacher or carpenter. Not an athlete or an artist. Not a good person or a screw-up. Not even a Christian, or one who loves God.

I am the one that Jesus loves.

Philip Yancey, in his book “What’s So Amazing about Grace,” writes:

“Sociologists have a theory of the looking-glass self: you become what the most important person in your life (wife, father, boss, etc.) thinks you are. How would my life change if I truly believed the Bible’s astounding words about God’s love for me, if I looked in the mirror and saw what God sees?”

The testimony of the Bible is that “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Jesus did not die for us at our church-attending, God-worshiping, neighbor-loving best. He died for us when we were yelling at our kids, stealing at work, cheating on our spouse, drunk on the bathroom floor, cursing His name and blaming everything wrong in our life on Him.

You are the one that Jesus loves.

The testimony of the Bible is that Jesus doesn’t just love you in a generic, Barney the purple dinosaur kind of squishy love. No – He loves you in a “you are heading for an eternal hell of torture and the only way to save you is for me to climb on that cross and bear the furious wrath of God for you” kind of love. He loves you with the costliest, most sacrificial kind of love you could ever know. And if Hell itself couldn’t make Jesus turn His back on you, what makes you think that anything you could do in this life could make him forsake you?
So please do me a favor. The next time you can get five minutes alone, bring before God all the different identities in your life. Carry before him all the ways you define yourself, or ways in which others have defined you. Lay them at His feet, and try a new one on for size.

I am the one that Jesus loves.

Open up your heart to the transformative power of Christ’s love, and watch what He can do.

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