Sunday, February 12, 2012

What God sees...

This morning in worship, my pastor prayed that we would remember that Christ is sufficient-- that when God looks at us, He sees Christ and attributes Christ's characteristics to us.  I have known this for a long time, and been grateful for that act of grace, and for the fact that Christ bears my sin, and God sees the perfection of Jesus when he looks at me.  But the Holy Spirit applied this to my heart in a different way this morning.  As I prayed and contemplated this idea, it occurred to me that this is not some nebulous, general sort of application.  But it is specific, like all of God's promises.  When I suffer, what do I see? I see myself struggle, whine, distract myself.  I am selfish, I am lazy, I am unkind to others.  But when God sees me suffer, He sees Jesus suffer-- and He is always concerned for others, preeminently concerned with doing God's will, patient, and never complaining.  If that is what God sees when He watches me suffer, how can His response to me be anything but a tender Father's loving response to His child?  What a comfort that is when my own sin and lack of holiness is quite evident to me.

If I apply this idea further, when I am hurting, and I strike back, or dishonor Him, He is seeing Jesus turn the other cheek and respond out of love.  When I am discouraged or depressed and lack courage or hope, He sees Jesus, ever trusting, hopeful, faithful.

All of this is not to say that how i respond doesn't matter.  The beauty is that God doesn't only promise to see Jesus when He looks at me, but to make me more and more into the image of Jesus.  So the longer i battle in this life, the more like Jesus I become here-- not because I am good or pulling myself up by my own bootstraps, but because I can stand on God's promises, and His grace is sufficient for me in all things.  What an amazing gift such grace is!

All That I Need by Stephen Altrogge

In You is strength to sustain me
And wisdom enough to guide my hand
Mercy enough to forgive me
And power to finish what You began

All that I need is in You, Jesus
The fountain of grace that overflows
All that I need is in You, Jesus
You are my only hope
You are my only hope

In You is fullness of gladness
And fullness of grace for every need
Rest for the ones who are weary
And beauty surpassing all that we’ve seen

You satisfy my heart
You satisfy my soul
You satisfy my heart
O help me always know

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