“See how much the Father has loved us! His love is so great that we are called God's children—and so, in fact, we are. This is why the world does not know us: it has not known God. My dear friends, we are now God's children, but it is not yet clear what we shall become. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he really is. Everyone who has this hope in Christ keeps himself pure, just as Christ is pure.” 1 John 3:1-3 (GNB)
How should we react during those hard times when the path God asks us to follow seems so arduous, and all within us screams that we should simply give up the fight?
This is not a theoretical question for me. Often, in times of trouble, I have abandoned the fight, if but for a little while. But over time, I have slowly learnt how to walk with God more constantly. One of the most important aids to doing so has been to learn to focus on God’s ultimate plan for my life.
The first time I studied this passage, I was grieving over the death of my father — struggling with questions, doubts, and guilt over his suicide. But as I reflected on these verses, I understood for the first time that in eternity, I would be freed from all sin and temptation and would be like Jesus forever, because I would see Him as He is. Indescribable joy and peace flooded my heart as I realized that all the suffering due to my sinfulness would one day end.
But as I continued to reflect on this passage, I realized that John promises more than that here: he says that by entertaining that hope in our minds and hearts, we will become more and more like Jesus in the here and now.
And so, from that day on, I began to practice a spiritual discipline that has been crucial to my growth in Christ and I’m certain will greatly benefit you as well. Throughout the day, I choose to focus on God’s love and promises, trusting in His strength to do so. I choose to focus daily on Jesus, in all His glory and beauty, rejoicing in the eternal destiny that awaits me.
By focusing on that great hope, we will grow in trust in our ability to worship Him, praise Him, and obey Him more day by day.
Father God, Thank You so much for loving me and making me Your child for ever. Thank You that I do not yet see all that I will one day become by your grace. Yet, even now, I can know that one day, I will be as perfect as Jesus is, because I will see him as He is. Thank You that focusing on that great promise fills me with hope and gives me the desire to become more and more like Him day by day. Today, may I keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith, in such a way that sin has no appeal for me, and doing Your will fills me with joy. Amen.
Try the practice of Spiritual Breathing:
Just as you need to constantly breathe physically, you need to breathe spiritually, too. You can try spiritual breathing to rely on the Holy Spirit by faith throughout your day. When you realize you’ve sinned, or when temptation, stress or doubt weighs on your mind, you can…
Exhale: admit your sin to God — no excuses — take full responsibility for your mistake and resolve not to repeat it. Let go of worry, fear, or self-reliance.
Inhale: rely on God to fill you by His Spirit. Receive His hope, confidence,
forgiveness, and power to make better choices.