Saturday, March 12, 2005

Seeing God Through Eyes of Love

https://www.flickr.com/photos/boskizzi/100352992/
No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. (1 John 4:12)
God is invisible — that is, He cannot be seen with the human eye. We often tend to value that which can be seen over that which is invisible. But in fact, all that can be seen was made by Him who cannot be seen. So don’t let the invisibility of God throw you.

Now, notice what John does here. He says, “No one has seen God at any time.” Then he follows it up with “If we love one another …” Does that seem abrupt to you? A non-sequitur? I mean, what does loving one another have to do with “No man has seen God at any time?”

Remember what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). God is invisible, He cannot be seen with the human eye — and yet, it is still possible to see God.

Or what did Jesus say to Nicodemus in explaining the new birth by the Spirit? “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8). Jesus is talking about the wind and the Spirit (the Greek word for “wind” and “Spirit” are the same — pneuma).

We cannot see the wind but we can perceive it at work. In the same way, we cannot see God with the human eye, but that doesn’t mean we cannot perceive Him at work. This kind of seeing has to do with purity of heart and with love. “No man has seen God at any time,” John tell us. And yet, “If we love one another, God abides in us.” Not only that, but John adds, “and His love is perfected in us.”

What does love have to do with seeing God? Everything. But it is not just about our love for God or even His love for us. It is about His love working through us — being perfected in us.

If we love one another, God abides in us. This does not mean that God comes to abide in us when we love one another, for we cannot love one another until God does come to abide in us. Rather, our love for one another is the sign that God abides in us and that His love is doing its perfect work in us, fulfilling its mission in us.

In other words, when we love one another, we are seeing God at work. Even though we do not see Him with our physical eyes, we see His love doing its thing. We are experiencing God at a deeper level than our eyes can ever reveal.

Now, go back to the beatitude, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” To be pure in heart means to have an undivided heart, one that is all for God. A divided heart fences off sections from God and from others. It is holding back from God and others and keeps us from loving them freely. God does not hold back His love from us, but we can hold back His love from flowing through us to others. It is only when our hearts are undivided, and we give God free reign in us completely, that we begin to perceive His love perfected in us.

Welcome the rule and reign of God in your heart, giving yourself completely to Him. Let His love do its perfect work in you, reaching out to love one another. Then you shall see God.