Because as he is, so are we in this world.1Jo 4:17b
It is interesting what we usually hear when we read this verse. We usually read it like this: because as Jesus was in this world, so we are. And we interpret as follows: Just as Jesus had to bear his cross, so do we, as long as we are in this world.
But that is not what John is actually saying here. Just remember that all the letters of John, actually all the new testament was written after Jesus died and resurrected. Years later in a matter of fact – in this case as much as 60 years later. A whole lifetime.
And still John uses present time when talking about Jesus. Just as Jesus is, so we are. And we are such here on earth. Now.
But what is Jesus now? He is king of kings, lord of lords. He reigns and rules. And what about us?
We often react just like Mary reacted when Jesus talked about the resurrection of the dead. Yes, one day – in the sweet by and by. That is why John added the phrase: in this world.
The first part of the verse gives us the tool that brings all this about as well as wat happens when we are like him:
Here is how love has been brought to maturity with us.1Jo 4:17a
It’s love that has to come to maturity. Which love?
Of course it is first the love of the father and of Jesus towards us. They loved us so much, that the father sent his son, and this son died for us. That was the start of a new relationship.
Then it is our love for the father and the son. We love them back for they first loved us.
Next it is the love for our brethren. For we are first joined to a church, to leaders and other believers, and then to God. As John puts it in the beginning of his letter: that you might have fellowship with us, that is, fellowship with the father and the son.
But we too often leave out the fourth component of this love: love towards ourselves. Oh, now it gets problematic. That is exactly what we try to kill for years now. Self-love. Let me give you a little illustration that Kris Vallotton gives in one of his books:
Let’s pretend you are the painter of a picture that we are looking at together. I proceed to tell you how bad the choice of colors is, how wrong the perspective chosen. Now, do I honor you as the creator of that picture doing that? Certainly not.
God has made you. Granted, we fell. But in his death and resurrection Jesus made you a new creation, again after his image. Imagine: God painted you, formed you. And Jesus sat there on the chair as the model, the pattern you were created after. And you put yourself down. You critique yourself. You do not use your full potential that God has given you. This is not honoring your maker, is it?
We have to come to a whole new level of understanding of who we are in Christ. We are kings. We are sons. We are the fourth part of the unity that is God. When we see that we are just as Jesus is now, and we are that here in this world, this love for the creator and all of his creation – including ourselves – will be brought to maturity. Not selfish love, as selfish love is immature, but love for the possibilities and giftings, the fertile ground and creative capabilities, the great portray of the creator as well as his ambassador and representation God has made me and you to be.
This is “the new normal”, and it is great.
Can you see it? Can you love you? Any comment?