I was just reading a small book by Henry Nouwen today that made the obvious point that no sooner had the Father said to Jesus, “You are my beloved Son,” than another voice said “Prove it!” Of course I had read the story of the Baptism and Temptation of Jesus many times. It is my favourite passage of Scripture in the New Testament , but I had never seen it in quite that light before, though once someone points it out, it looks very obvious: “You are the Beloved”…. “Well, if that is so you had better prove it somehow! Prove that is a right name for you, a right description of you.”
Are you living to prove something today? To prove you are a child of God to yourself or to the world, or to the church, or to God?
I cannot remember the context at the moment but I know that R.T. Kendall both said and wrote that the greatest freedom in the world is having nothing to prove.
It is just a simple fact that it was when I became secure in the Father’s love in the mid 90’s and realised I had nothing to prove that ministry stepped up a notch in terms of fruitfulness. I didn’t do anything other than live from that place of my belovedness. To do that is really counter cultural and an alternative and radical way of living. So many people in the world and even more sadly in the church seem to be insecure about all manner of things and try to gain security, affection, worth, approval and applause by all sorts of means… but never gaining it in a way that satisfies. As a result life has no rest attached to it of any lasting type, but only temporary soothings and comforts and fleeting moments of peace and rest. Many people in and outside the church are addicted to simply thinking they need more and more of their chosen drug. There is a deep restlessness because no achievement or relationship is ever quite enough; nobody ever quite affirms me or what I do in a way that meets my core need for secure, eternal non wavering love, my need to know my worth and value in a way that is established beyond a shadow of doubt. It is a tiring thing trying to convince people and indeed ourselves of our lovableness, our giftedness, our innocence, our worth etc etc. It makes billions of pounds for many industries that trade on our insecurity by giving us many products at a price, which do not live up to claims as to their potential to greatly boost our feeling of wellbeing.
We need to make sure there is a secret place into which we allow no voice other than the voice of our Father in heaven tellings us in the words of Jesus that He warmly affectionately loves us that we are the Beloved. Christ came and lived and died and rose again in order to take you and I into His security in The Father’s love.
It is possible to be saved, eternally loved and not sure of it as a believer. If that is where you are, then ask the Father to help you into assurance. He will in his own way and time by His Spirit. It took a long time for me to find that security in the love of my heavenly Father. It came many many years after my conversion, many years after meeting Christ as Saviour. I say from personal testimony, “Don’t despair.” The Spirit does want to help you and I to cry from deep within, “Abba! Father!”
I say again: this could be our greatest witness to the world: showing we have found security concerning our belovedness and have nothing to prove; living as one who does not see other human beings as competitors, rejoices in the successes and achievements of others without reserve, save this; that we long for others to discover their belovedness in Christ too and live in the freedom of having nothing to prove.
So listen for the voice that says, “You are my beloved” and ignore the voice that says repeatedly, ad nauseam, as it did to Jesus, “Prove it!” Make space to hear of your belovedness in solitude. How? Well, I am trying to write shorter blogs, so will leave that for another day.
You might have been thinking I should say something about the EU Referendum. So I will. It matters, so I hope you vote. However despite the claims to the contrary it is not the most important decision you will ever make or that the people of Britain will ever make. The most important decision we can ever make by the grace of God is to say “Yes” to the Father as He says over us through the cross of Christ, “My beloved!” It is that and that alone that leads to truest prosperity that will last for eternity long after Referendum Day and its dissection and implications have become a footnote in the history books.
God bless you… going to vote now…. and I am not telling you which way!