The Power of Love: Love Sees Beyond

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Love sees beyond what?

Beyond your habits, hurts, and hang-ups.

People who truly love you see beyond your brokenness to your God-given potential. We all love the stories of a teach/principle going into a failing school filled with kids everyone has given up on and turning it around by giving the kids hope.

Nobody’s love is more powerful in doing this than God’s!

God’s love sees beyond your anger issues, wrong priorities, jealousy, envy, lust, greed, control, fears, doubt, unbelief, judgmental attitudes, rebellion, pride… He sees beyond your behavior, beyond your sin, to who He originally created you to be, and who He is committed to helping you become. This is why Jesus came.

Jesus came to earth the first time to save the sinner, heal the spiritually sick, and to seek and save the lost.

Luke 5:27-32 NLT “Later, as Jesus left the town, he saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. 28 So Levi got up, left everything, and followed him. 29 Later, Levi held a banquet in his home with Jesus as the guest of honor. Many of Levi’s fellow tax collectors and other guests also ate with them. 30 But the Pharisees and their teachers of religious law complained bitterly to Jesus’ disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with such scum?” 31 Jesus answered them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. 32 I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.”

Luke 5:32 TLB “My purpose is to invite sinners to turn from their sins, not to spend my time with those who think themselves already good enough.”

Luke 19:9-10 NLT “For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”

I am not saying that bad behavior is excusable, or doesn’t need accountability, but God’s love sees beyond it.

When a second grader is asked what they want to be when they grow up, he/she doesn’t say a thief, prostitute, or an abuser. Something happened along the way, God knows it and wants to heal it.

God is calling you so He can restore you – not just into who He originally created you to be – but into who He intends you to be – into the very likeness of His Son.

Romans 8:28-29 TLB “And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into his plans.  For from the very beginning God decided that those who came to him—and all along he knew who would—should become like his Son, so that his Son would be the First, with many brothers and sisters.”

We primarily use this Scripture to say that God will work the bad things that happen to us in life for our good. And He will. But what this Scripture primarily says is that God will use all things in our lives, especially the suffering (the topic of Romans 8) to transform us into the likeness of Jesus – which is the ultimate good.

Jesus’ transformation in our lives doesn’t happen overnight when you give your life to Him. No, it begins then, but lasts a lifetime. He is committed to your transformation till you see Him face to face in heaven.

Philippians 1:6 NLT “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”

Let’s see some examples of this in people’s lives as recorded in the Bible:

Matthew 16:13-18 NLT “When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ 14 “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.” 15 Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. 18 Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.”

People had graduated from saying Jesus was a “Teacher” to a reincarnation of a prophet because of His miracles. But they were still not diagnosing Jesus properly or fully. It took revelation from God for Peter to see who Jesus truly is. AND THEN, and only then, was Peter introduced to who he truly was, and would become.

Now you see Me. Now you see you. And you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

This transformation began the first time Jesus met Peter. At that time His name was Simon. But Jesus said his name would eventually be changed – when he was changed.

John 1:42 NLT “Then Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus. Looking intently at Simon, Jesus said, “Your name is Simon, son of John—but you will be called Cephas” (which means “Peter”).”

Peter, and I’m sure Peter’s friends, saw Him as somewhat impetuous, possibly prideful, a bit bossy, and, of course, the one who denied Jesus. But Jesus saw Peter as the one who would bring the gospel to the Gentile world. Peter eventually wrote the book of 1 Peter which is all about submission to authority, patience, endurance, and humility.

Jesus is transforming you. He’s not going to leave you lost (unless you want to be) or the same.

Other examples:

The 1st Century Church saw Saul as their #1 persecutor. Jesus saw him as their #1 apostle.

  • People saw Zacheus as a ruthless taker. Jesus saw him as an outrageous giver.
  • People saw the woman at the well as worthless to society. Jesus saw her as the first evangelist to her people.
  • People saw the woman weeping over Jesus’ feet as a prostitute. Jesus saw her as a true worshiper.
  • People saw Nicodemus as a religious Pharisee to be feared. Jesus saw him as a seeker and future defender.
  • People saw Nathaniel as a cynic. Jesus saw him as a man of integrity.

When you mess up, don’t say “I’m hopeless” No, you must say, “How does God see me right now?” He might say, “Out of line, but not hopeless.” “Weak, but I will make you strong.” “Sinful, but I am making you holy.”

You are in process. Being transformed. On your way!

Whether it is people misinterpreting us, or judging us fairly, Jesus sees beyond, loves us, and is fully and eternally committed to redeeming and restoring us.

But here is the great divide – not just that we don’t see ourselves the way God sees us – we don’t see one another the way Jesus does. We size people up quickly based on their behavior, ethnicity, sexuality, station in life, political leanings, religious beliefs, and we disqualify, or vilify them. And often we are way off the mark!

Steven Covey tells the story of  kids who were unmanaged on a bus. He said something to the father who informed him they are on their way home from the hospital where their mother just died.

Even if we are right about a person’s sins, we are quick to condemn. But God sees the end from the beginning

Isaiah 46:9-10 NKJ “Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure,’”

God sees beyond people’s behavior, to the heart, and to His future for them, and He wants us to see them same way – which means we need to ask Him to give us His heart, His eyes, His love.

They may need to suffer consequences, and you might need to hold them accountable – but ultimately accountable to what? Accountable to who God has called them to be. They may need to experience consequences, but it is for redemption, not condemnation.

We need God to constantly enlarge our hearts and expand our vision.

Think about Peter. Even after His eyes were opened to Who Jesus is, saw Him minister to all sorts of people from all walks of life for over three years, and was given the Great Commission to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to everyone”, by Jesus Himself after His resurrection, Peter only took the gospel to the Jews until God gave him a supernatural vision to break him out of his prejudice!

We need to see with God’s eyes:

2 Corinthians 5:16 – 18 NLT “So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.”

God wants us to reach others with His love just as He reached you with His love.

So, how has Jesus loved you? Conditionally or unconditionally? Has He forgiven you or does He hold grudges against you? Has He blessed you when you didn’t deserve it? Is He better to you than you deserve? Has He gone the extra mile for you (or zillions of miles coming down from heaven)? Has he stood with you when you were rejected, abandoned, accused, or misunderstood. Has He comforted you when you could not be comforted? Has He given you hope when there was no hope to be found?

If so, then make it your life’s goal to be like Jesus and see beyond people’s behavior to who He intended, and intends, them to be. Love them with the love of God.

Your Turn

  1. Do you find yourself judging more than loving? Ask God to fill your heart with His love.
  2. Do you think you are hopeless, that you will never change? Trust in God’s love. Trust that He is transforming you, day by day, into the likeness of His Son.
  3. How do you think you would view yourself, and others, differently if you truly believed that God is in the process of drawing, saving, and transforming people back to His originally intended purpose?