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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Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the LORD is waiting to show you mercy, and is rising up to show you compassion, for the LORD is a just God. All who wait patiently for him are happy. (CSB)
Matthew 14:29 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter answered him, “command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” And climbing out of the boat, Peter started walking on the water and came toward Jesus. (CSB)
Matthew 14:19, 20 Then he commanded the crowds to sit down on the grass. He took the five loaves and the two fish, looking up to heaven, he blessed them. He broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. Everyone ate and was satisfied. They picked up twelve baskets full of leftover pieces. (CSB)