Monday, December 3, 2012

Reveling in Revelation ~ "To Him Who Loves us"

          It is fitting that there are difficult and painful things to endure as we journey into the book of the Bible that speaks about the troubles to be faced by Jesus’ servants. Who could not tell of some heartache of rejection, disappointment, or unfair treatment that connects to our attempt to live a sincere life of obedient faith in Jesus Christ? The approaching Christmas season may magnify the painful reality of such things.

          As has been my testimony for two decades, God speaks to his people through his word on a daily basis, applying his word to whatever we are going through so he can teach us, reprove us, correct us, and train us in his righteousness, making us fully equipped for whatever good works he has prepared in advance for us to do.[1]

          Today’s word of encouragement from the Lord was this: “To him who loves us…”[2] What first ministered to my heart was the realization that God cannot turn our attention to Jesus without us seeing that Jesus has already turned his attention on us. When we are told to look “to” Jesus, what do we find? We meet the eyes of the One who is looking upon us in love.

          Some time ago, when I was teaching through Genesis 1, I found that the whole picture of God’s work in creation could be summarized as: “God is the center, and we are the center of his attention.” Here John affirms this thought by calling us to turn our attention on Christ, the center of all things; but then see that Christ has had his attention on us from before the beginning of time.

          As I consider the value of Jesus introducing his letter with this description of, “To him who loves us,” I cannot help but notice both the positive and the negative of this focus. On the positive side, I can see why it is so important for believers to look at all the events prophesied in the Revelation through the mindset of, “look to him who loves us.”

          Often when we go through bad things our minds begin entertaining questions about whether God is listening to us, whether he cares, whether our prayers are reaching his presence. If we begin the journey through Revelation with this confident assurance, “To him who loves us,” we will then interpret every prophesied experience as a trial he will lead us through in love. Never will we let a difficulty rise up to the level of the authority of Scripture and tell us that God has stopped loving us. Such a thing is not even possible. All through the experiences of the book, the Church must help each other by calling out, “To him who loves us!”

          On the negative side, the necessity of believers being so immersed in the glory of Jesus Christ who loves us uncovers a familiar and sinister plot of the Red Dragon. He works to use childhood experiences and lifelong heartaches to repeat to our minds what he first said to Eve in the Garden, “Did God actually say…?”[3] All through his attacks on the Church through antichrists, beasts, counterfeit religions and worldlings, he will bring up old experiences that made us feel unloved and unlovable and challenge us with the deceptive question, “Did God actually say to YOU that he loves YOU?”

          As God speaks through his word today, he draws our hearts to remember every Scripture he has already breathed out with the proof and assurance of his love. We are to remember that he so loved the world,[4] that he has loved his people with an everlasting love,[5] that his love never fails,[6] and that his love was perfectly, and undeniably put on full display when Jesus laid down his life for us while we were still sinners.[7]

          The point for me this morning was simply that I am not to fix my eyes on the work of the world, the flesh, or the red dragon. I am to look “to him who loves us.” I am not to adjust my life to the lies of the evil one, the lies of my own sarky flesh, or the lies of the world, and believe that I am not loved by God. Instead, I am to give glory and honor and praise to the Lord Jesus Christ who undeniably loves his brothers as the Father undeniably loves his sons, and as the Holy Spirit undeniably loves his little charges like me.

© 2012 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, Canada, V1K 1B8 ~

[1] II Timothy 3:16-17; Ephesians 2:10
[2] Revelation 1:5
[3] Genesis 3:1
[4] John 3:16
[5] Jeremiah 31:3
[6] I Corinthians 13:8
[7] Romans 5:8

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