Posted by: glorifyhim1 | January 29, 2013

Seeing God

“Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God” (3 John, verse 11).

As I read the above verse this week, I was reminded of how important it is for my life to reflect the God I know, the God I love, the God I serve – the God I see! As a believer, my lifestyle, actions, and choices I make reflect not only on me, but more importantly on God. Do the things I do and the words I say help others see God more clearly? Do they reflect accurately what I know about God, what I’ve experienced in my relationship with Him, and what I would like others to know about Him?

Sadly, I know that my life does not always portray the God that I know. Instead of allowing His Spirit to control me and help me to live the life I know I should live, I give in to my fleshly desires that corrupt the image of God that I want others to see. Galatians 5:19-21 provides an extensive list of the sins that we can fall victim to when we yield to the flesh. Let me share just a few that can creep into our lives, sometimes without our even being aware.

  • Selfish Ambitions

Ambition is defined as “an earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction as power, honor, fame, or wealth.” Ambition is not inherently wrong. We can earnestly desire good and godly things. The problem is when those ambitions are motivated by selfishness, when we are concerned primarily with what we want and with our own interests and desires. Sometimes, even those of us who truly want to honor and glorify God can allow those things that we do for him to become our motivation rather than God Himself. When we fall victim to selfish ambition, people are more likely to see us rather than God. Sometimes it helps to take a step back and prayerfully evaluate why/how we do the things we do. Are they for us or for Him?

  • Contentions and Dissensions

How we handle disagreements and controversies reflects greatly on how others view the God we serve. Do we disagree agreeably? Are we patient, kind, and loving toward others even when we do not agree? Do we show respect to those who do not share our opinions? When non-believers see believers fighting among each other, or when they feel the wrath of believers directed toward them, I wonder what they think about our God. Jesus said: “…love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:44-45). “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).

  • Envy and Jealousy

Both envy and jealousy reflect discontentment. With envy we want what someone else has whether it is a possession, ability, opportunity, etc. With jealousy we are resentful, perhaps even fearful, because of another’s successes or advantages. When believers display such attitudes toward others, I wonder how it reflects on our God. When we become envious and jealous of what others have or can do, do we communicate a lack of trust in God to take care of us and work out all the details of our lives? Does our discontent tell others that God is not good or that He is not enough for what we need?

  • Outbursts of Wrath

None of us are immune to anger. The Gospels record instances when even Jesus became angry. He became angry when the Pharisees blasphemed the Holy Spirit (see Matthew 12). He displayed anger when he drove out all those who were in the temple buying and selling (see Matthew 21:12-13). We can become angry when others use us, mistreat us, and hurt us or those we love. There is no limit to the triggers for anger in our world today. Yet James reminds us that “the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:20). Paul told the Ephesians: “Let all bitterness, wrath anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31-32). When a believer can respond in this way to those who make him angry, he is helping the other person to see his God. He can tell them about Jesus who withstood the wrath of men and willingly gave Himself to be nailed to a cross and to die because of His love for us. In some small way, we show others the love of Christ when we refuse to respond with anger and hate.

When I give way to selfish ambition, contentions or dissensions, envy and jealousy, or outbursts of wrath, I do little to show others the God I know. Even more, the Scripture above declares that when I do evil instead of good things that neither have I seen God! You see, it is kind of like the old adage, “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.” When we abide in Christ, we live in the power of His Spirit. As we yield to Him, He produces righteous acts in us. He is the One who enables us to live in a way that can point others to Him. Thus, when we see God, others can see God, too, as they observe His righteousness revealed in us.

How convicting and humbling! But how thankful I am that my living so others can see God is not a matter of my trying to do all the right things in my own power. It is not what I do, but how close I stay to Him so that He can reveal Himself in me. It makes me want to stay closer and closer to Him. I want to see God!

 

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