No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. (1 John 4:12)
Perhaps you have heard it said that the only Bible some people will ever read is you. That is completely true, so the question we all must ask ourselves is, “What kind of God do they see in me?” I hope that today’s meditation will both comfort and challenge you.
The greatest need that everyone in the world has today is to see God. Now, all of humanity are receipients of God’s general revelation; He is visible in nature, the heavens declare the glory of God (Psalm 19:1, Romans 1:20), and He has set eternity in the hearts of men (Ecclesiastes 3:11). And yet, because God is love, the most recognizeabnle and compelling demonstration of God must come through His love in us that we share with others.
Jesus has told us that, after loving the Lord our God, the most important commandment is to love our neighbor as we love ourself (Mark 12:31). And He has given us this exhortation: “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35). We cannot be “camouflage Christians,” hiding the indwelling Spirit by acting just like the world around us. Throughout my years of service as a pastor, I have often heard people say that they just can’t seem to love others as God wants them to; I always respond by citing 1 John 4:13 — “We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.”
Due to our sinful nature, none of us are truly loving people; any love we that demonstrate to others is actually self-love, which has the ultimate goal of satisfying our deepest need, which is to be fully known and yet fully loved. But when God reveals Himself to us in Christ and raises us from death to life, we are given the Holy Spirit, who begins the process of giving us the ability to love . . . a godly, sacrificial love that flows from a heart that beats for the glory of God and the good of others — all others.
You see, when the Christian is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, our camouflage is supernaturally cast off , because “God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit” (Romans 5:5). Now we are ready, willing, and most importantly, actually able to put God on display to the watching world. Our verse for today, 1 John 4:12, makes it clear that the best way for others to see our God is to see God’s love for them flowing through our lives. This Spirit-fueled love loves others at all times, with no thought of or desire for a return. We love simply because He first loved us (1 John 4:19), and by loving others, we let the world see our loving God.
So let me ask you: Have you been camouflaging God’s love? Or have you been putting Him on display by loving others as Christ loves you? This is a choice we make moment by moment. And if you do indeed have the Spirit of God living within you, the choice is yours.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!