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Loving without Seeing

1 Peter 1:8-9
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (NIVUK)

We all know that love does not depend on seeing our loved one: indeed, as the English expression says, 'absence makes the heart grow fonder'.  But without a personal encounter of some kind, true love can never start.  One kind of false love is infatuation - a one-way desire for a person (who may not even know who you are!).  Some people think about God like that.  They admire His awesome majesty and immense power, but do not believe they can be known by Him.  But the truth is: when we believe the Good News about Jesus, repenting of our sins and desiring His rule in our lives, His Holy Spirit says, ‘I love you!’ and we respond ‘I love you too, my Father’ (Galatians 4:6).

Peter had the privilege of knowing Jesus personally.  They were together in Christ’s most significant moments, including the transfiguration (Mark 9:2), the raising of Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5:36-43) and Gethsemane (Mark 14:32-33).  Peter was an eyewitness of Christ’s majesty.   But now, Peter declares the relationship of the scattered believers with Jesus to be equally real and joy filled.  How could that be?  A few verses further on, Peter explains that the Holy Spirit who led the Old Testament writers to reveal Jesus, also revealed Jesus through the apostles’ preaching (1 Peter 1:10-12).  As Jesus had said, the Spirit reveals Him to all who seek Him (John 15:26); as they believe in Him a true two-way relationship develops with their Saviour.     

We have never seen Jesus, but all born-again Christians are certain that they know Him personally.  Indeed, our love for Him is a response to knowing that He first loved us (1 John 4:19).  Jesus said that there is a special blessing to those who believe and love without seeing (John 20:29).  And we know that this love is two-way because He gives us a growing confidence that we are known and loved - which is the reason for our joy (2 Timothy 1:12).  Every time we read the Bible, the Holy Spirit reminds us of our relationship with Jesus.  Right now, we know that we are saved and joyfully anticipate our Saviours’ return.  

Meeting Jesus face to face, is the glorious 'hope' (confident expectation) of every Christian.  While we wait, we should want to show our love for Him by obeying His Word - and then experience the joy of His pleasure.  Such a Christian should be a joy to work with!  But, unfortunately, some of the problems we encounter at work are not always the fault of others.  When we take our eyes off Jesus, our horizon is clouded by our own problems, which we take to work with us and inflict the emotional fall-out on our colleagues (Proverbs 29:6).  No wonder they are miserable with us too!  Christians, loved by God and waiting for His return, should go to work differently and make a joyful difference to others.

Dear Lord God. Thank You for the joy that comes from believing in Jesus. Forgive me for forgetting how much You love me and for struggling on in my own strength. Please help me to keep alert to all the privileges I have in Christ and not inflict my problems on my colleagues when I would do better to pray about my troubles and my fellow workers. I do pray for those who make life difficult for me, and ask You to refill me with Your joy, so that I will not be a hindrance to them. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams