by Robert Beames
There’s a popular song which always makes me laugh when I hear it. A girl sings a catchy tune about the way her current boyfriend views her. According to her boyfriend, this girl is ignorant, ugly, undisciplined, a real drag and apparently can’t do anything right. The girl doesn’t necessarily agree with this point of view and so we quickly hear about another guy entering the picture. This other guy doesn’t see the girl in quite the same way. In fact, his view is completely opposite of how the girl’s boyfriend sees her.
The song says this other guy thinks the girl is actually everything that the boyfriend thinks she’s not. According to the other guy she’s smart, funny, extremely attractive and has it all together. He sees in her everything he ever desired and he can’t stop thinking about her. According to him…she’s perfect!
Somewhere in the song the girl mentions a decision she’s being forced to make. No doubt! Whenever I hear this song, I can’t help thinking the obvious. If I’m the boyfriend, I’m looking for a new girlfriend about now, because there’s a huge chance I’m going to be without one soon. It doesn’t sound like a difficult choice for her. On the one hand, she has a guy who can’t find anything appealing in her, and on the other, there’s a guy who doesn’t see in her a single flaw. Although she probably doesn’t get why the other guy has such a ridiculous affection for her, in the end she won’t care. She’ll simply bask in it while it lasts.
When faced with a similar scenario, most of us would not belabor the decision, either. Yet, we are often faced with this scenario and, amazingly, we often vacillate between being completely accepted and being used. We can’t decide which master we want to serve, God or something else. How can this be?
Perhaps it’s because we fail to believe that God really sees us the way He does. Knowing our failings, sins and short-comings, we may assume that God has to take all these flaws into account and judge us accordingly. However, this is true only if we do not trust in Christ. The truth is the exact opposite for us if we do.
It’s not that we don’t sin or fall short. We do so continually. Although we deserve severe punishment, God chooses to give us extreme kindness. Why He does so is solely based in His perfect love. We can’t explain it any more than we can explain why one young lady flies head-over-heels in love with a man and another finds the same man repulsive. We have to accept it on faith and believe it even though it doesn’t seem right, given what we know about ourselves.
How we see ourselves is nowhere near how God sees us. Fortunately for us, Paul gives us a more accurate picture of how God our Father see us.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure …In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:3-12 NKJV, Italics mine)
According to Him, we lack nothing as He’s given us everything we need spiritually. In His loving eyes we are perfect—this was determined before anything else existed. In His view, we have been adopted into His family only because it pleases Him to do so. He esteems us to such a degree that every ounce of His boundless mercy becomes a tsunami rushing directly toward us. Because He desires it, we have been given all that His cherished Son deserves. Through His intentional and intricate thought process, He has prepared an inconceivably amazing future for us. It’s all willingly comes from God. This is who we are…according to Him.
Do you ever feel useless, like you can’t do anything right? We may often feel stupid, lazy and know we deserve to be punished. And this is true for us most of the time. Yet, based on the work of Christ what is true for us all of the time is that God looks upon us the way He has chosen to look upon us—“according to the riches of His grace”—not according to our sinfulness.
If we’re having difficulty deciding between the two views, ours or His, maybe we shouldn’t overthink it. It won’t do us much good to attempt to explain it. Perhaps in the end we shouldn’t care quite so much about the logic God uses to consider us perfect when we’re really far from it. Maybe at the end of the day we should simply relax and enjoy what is ours in Christ forever…according to Him. (I believe He wanted me to remind you of this!)