Before you read this you may want to take a look at Acts 7 especially verses 55-60.
So here we have Stephen being martyred – pretty dramatic – and my favorite part is when he sees Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father! Wow! Jesus was resurrected and seated at the right hand of God but here Stephen actually sees Jesus standing – as if what is going on can’t be watched from a sitting position because He’s so excited.
I can just hear Jesus saying, “That’s my boy! Oh Stephen, you have ravished my heart! Oh Stephen, you make me so proud! Come on! I can’t wait to hold you in my embrace! Come on! You’re so close – keep going! I’m giving you the love you need for this moment. Just keep looking at Me! Do you see the tears in My eyes? They are tears of joy for you and tears of love for your killers. Oh Stephen, I’m so proud of you! Thank you for loving them! How I love you!”
Here’s where it gets tough: Can you imagine Jesus saying this about you? Can you picture Jesus standing up in joy over you?
My thoughts have always been, “Well, I’m not being martyred so probably not. But I know Jesus loves me.” There was something in me that still thought I had to earn God’s love – or at least His stand up, applauding kind of love.
But here’s the truth. I think Jesus stands up for everyone of His kids like He did for Stephen.
When He looks at you does He see all your faults? Or does He say, “You are so lovely”? (Song of Songs 1:5).
I don’t have to earn God’s love or do something in my eyes to make Him proud of me! Just being His son or daughter qualifies you to bring His heart joy! Letting Him love me, believing He loves me, and releasing His love to others is my only call and the only thing we can do that makes Him proud. His delight isn’t in your money, influence, success, or works – His delight is in you!
Luke 19 talks about some servants that got a decent amount of money. There was one servant who didn’t bring pleasure to his master and why was that? Because he saw his master as harsh, impossible to please, and strict. He disconnected himself from God’s love. It’s when I disconnect myself from God’s love that I ruin my life. It’s when I stop the flow of love and reject His acceptance of me that I destroy my life. It’s when I take my eyes off of His eyes of pleasure for me and look at my pain, short comings, and trials that I forget who I really am to Him.
We have to see ourselves the way He sees us because we can’t move forward in love until we do. When we know we are flawless in God’s sight we become unoffendable and able to release forgiveness to those killing us.
It is your own shame that causes you to take offense, point fingers, and judge your brother. Shame makes you feel the need to hold a grudge because you are holding a grudge against yourself. Shame makes you point the finger at your brother because you are pointing the finger at yourself. Shame makes you see God as an angry judge who counts all your faults so that’s what you do to those around you.
You have to love yourself before you can love others. You can’t have shame and be Jesus to people. I have to let Jesus free me, love me, and accept me before I can truly love. I have to let Jesus destory my blanket of shame so I can love the people throwing stones at me.
So let’s both do something. Let’s close our eyes and pierce through our misconceptions and wrong ideas of God. Let’s pierce through the shame and works mentality. Let’s pierce through and see Jesus standing beside the Father gazing at you with love. Ask Him how He sees you. Ask Him if He is proud of you. Ask Him if He finds joys out of your life. And then live out of that place of being loved!