Daily D – 1 John 3:2
Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. 1 JOHN 3:2 (NLT)
The transfiguration of Jesus (Matthew 17:1-9; Mark 9:2-13; Luke 9:28-26) that so radically changed Peter’s perspective on everything similarly reshaped John’s view of all things. He tells us that when Jesus returns, we will be like him. What does that mean?
It does not mean we become divine. Contrary to movie theology, we neither become angels nor gods. The Apostle Paul helps us understand what John is saying here. In 2 Corinthians 3:18 Paul writes, “And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” The closer and deeper our relationship with Jesus, the more we reflect his character.
What does this mean for us? Two things come to mind. The more aligned and attuned with Jesus we are, the fewer defense mechanisms we employ with others. The more we reflect his glory, the less pretense there is about our lives.
Defense mechanisms are natural. Psychology textbooks provide the shock of recognition when we read about the many ways we protect ourselves from others. In the presence of Jesus, as John and Paul explain so beautifully, there is no need, no desire, to protect ourselves. Perfect love is like that. It drives out all fear (1 John 4:18, 19).
We experience no pretense in the presence of Jesus. When we see him as he is, we likewise see ourselves for who we are. There is no need to act like we are bigger, or smaller, than we are. He knows all about us and loves us just as we are.
Imagine an environment where we could relax in freedom from defense mechanisms and pretense. Imagine laying aside those burdensome behaviors. One day we will ultimately do so. Today we can shed more and more of those old skins by growing into our authentic selves as intended and designed by our Creator.
As Paul noted in 2 Corinthians 3:17, to know and experience Jesus for all he is brings freedom from all that binds us and holds us back. We are really real when we see Jesus for who he is and see ourselves for who we are without defense mechanisms and pretense. John impresses upon us the truth that we are God’s dearly loved children.
This identity and relationship reshape our countenance. It reorients our behavior. It renews our lives. It restores authenticity.
I will live as a child of God with many fewer defense mechanisms and increasingly less pretense.
Our Father, I want to live in your perfect love that makes us fearless. I want to live in your perfect love that makes it possible for me to serve others without fear of loss. I want to live in your perfect love so that I do not have to pretend I am something I am not. I want to live the life you intend for me with authenticity. Amen.
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1 Samuel 24:16, 17 When David finished saying these things to him, Saul replied, “Is that your voice, David my son?” Then Saul wept aloud and said to David, “You are more righteous than I, for you have done what is good to me though I have done what is evil to you.” (CSB)
1 Samuel 18:5 David marched out with the army and was successful in everything Saul sent him to do. Saul put him in command of the fighting men, which pleased all the people and Saul’s servants as well. (CSB)
1 Samuel 13:13, 14 Samuel said to Saul, “You have been foolish. You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you. It was at this time that the LORD would have permanently established your reign over Israel, but now your reign will not endure. The LORD has found a man after his own heart, and the LORD has appointed him as ruler over his people, because you have not done what the LORD commanded.” (CSB)