Recently, I received a review of my book, Defeat Fear Forever, that was a little shall we say, less than positive. One of the things the reviewer didn’t like was what he thought of as ‘elevation of humans’. He didn’t like the idea of us humans having what I call a horizontal (meaning eye-to-eye) relationship with God. He didn’t like me saying that Jesus was going to put those who overcome on His throne with Him (Revelation 3:21).
Now, let me be clear. We do not elevate ourselves. God, Himself, elevates us, through His own grace and mercy. He is God and we are not. However, He calls us His bride. By calling us His bride, He elevates us up to His level. He is still the king, yet we are welcome, in fact invited, to rule and reign with Him. We don’t and won’t have His power. He will always be God and we will always be His creation. Yet, He chose to love us. He chose to breathe into us His very breath of life. He chose to make us in His image. He chose to give us a choice as to whether or not to follow Him and His ways. He gave us the choice of good or evil. Then, even after our evil separated us from Him, He offered us a way back through the sacrifice of His very own life’s blood.
It is so easy for us Christians to think less of ourselves. We are sinners saved by grace. This is absolutely true. Yet, what about the ‘disciple whom Jesus loved’? That was John and that was how he refered to himself. Was one of Jesus’ very own disciples referring to himself wrongly? Do we believe the Bible to be the inspired Word of God or not? If that is so, then we must accept the way John refered to himself, not as arrogance, but as a simple acknowledgement of fact. Why did Jesus love John so much? Because John loved Jesus so much. Because John went out of his way to sit next to Jesus, to be close to Jesus, to hang onto His every word, to just be near Him.
The ‘disciple whom Jesus loved’ was the way John refered to himself. If we realize that this is not a bad thing, what do we do with that? How does this change us? John was no more beloved by Jesus than any of the other disciples. Yet, John understood something profound. John got it! John not only understood God’s love for him, he turned it around and understood God’s love for everyone around him. Then, because John loved Jesus so much and wanted to be like Him, he turned around and started loving the world the way God did.
Jesus says we are to abide in Him and He will abide in us (John 15:4). What does that mean? It’s not just something academic. It’s not a groveling, lower than dirt, situation either. Jesus invites us to abide in Him. He offers to fill us with His very own Spirit. He wants to abide in and with us!
We aren’t called to be just God’s children. We are also to be His bride. I don’t know about you, but in my marriage, we are equals. My husband doesn’t want to be treated like my daddy, he wants to be treated as my husband. He doesn’t need another child, he needs a partner.
Many of us Christians don’t walk in the authority we have been given as God’s children, much less as His bride. We live beneath our privileges. What queen in her right mind would choose to live in a cottage when she could live in a castle? What queen chooses to view herself as a penniless peasant when she is wealthy royalty? When we learn to walk in the authority we have been given, we will see the signs and wonders following us. We will have a boldness we have never known before. We will realize just how much we are loved and in turn learn to love others in a supernatural way. We will be a force for change in ourselves and in the lives of those around us.
It is not wrong to view ourselves as ‘disciples whom Jesus loves’. In fact, that’s the right way to look at ourselves. It’s humbling to be so honored by the very King of kings. Yet, that is what Jesus wants for us. Take a look for yourselves in Scripture and start learning to look at yourself the way God views you, very loved and very precious–even ‘to die for’!
P.S. Just wanted to give a plug for Response To Grace Ministries. They offer terrific Bible studies and ‘Beloved Disciple’ is where I got a lot of ideas for this post.