January 2, 2014

Face to Face

A mother tells of her little boy wanting her to stay in his room until he fell asleep each night. She told him that God was with him all the time. He said, “I know, but I want somebody with a face.”
I’ve felt like that. God is with me all the time, but sometimes I need a face, or at least to be with Christians who are like God in some way. How good of God to provide that kind of fellowship where we can share the face of His Son with one another.

Jesus is the face of the invisible God. While we cannot physically see Him now, we can know that He is no idol. He is God Himself who came in human flesh that we might have someone with a face.

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:29) 

Some of my brothers and sisters in Christ are like Jesus in many ways, yet only Jesus is the “radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (Hebrews 1:3–4). Only Jesus is “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation . . . For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross” (Colossians 1:15, 19).

Sometimes I’ve longed for Christian fellowship, even idolized a few people that have been like Jesus to me, but realize that this longing may not be coming from my own heart. Jesus lives in me, and in Him is the fullness of God . . .  

For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. (Colossians 2:9–10) 

Because I have been filled with Him, could that longing I feel be the longing of His heart and not mine? Could it be Jesus longing to have fellowship with others, with me? As I interpret those desires that way, I find that my communion with Him and with other believers is far more amazing than I ever thought possible. Think of it; the God who created the universe and all things wants to have face to face conversation with me! This can mean intimate prayer, but can also mean rich sharing with others in whom He also dwells. 

We are on holidays. We attend a wonderful church while we are here, but haven’t had many opportunities to talk with other Christians. This has had two positive results in my thinking. One is that I can see how easily I can “idolize” my brothers and sisters in Christ and make them a substitute for intimacy with the Lord Himself. 

The other is a deeper realization that those who do not know Jesus are oblivious to the glory of Christ. They do not know the wonder of this God who became flesh . . . 

In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (2 Corinthians 4:4)

There is an old hymn that says I might be the only God that people ever see . . . giving me the responsibility of relying on Him alone, no idols, and no trusting in myself. The goal is that my face might perhaps reflect a smidgen of the glory of His face to those who are otherwise blind.

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