"You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self,
which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds,
and to put on the new self created to be like God
in true righteousness and holiness." ~Ephesians 4:22-24
Saturday morning I found myself kneeling before the Father for only God knows how long, tears streaming down my cheeks uncontrollably and incomprehensible songs of psalms and prayers of pleading quivering loudly in my mouth.
I was being persecuted for my faith and I was hurt by the insults thrown at me. My whole sense of being was shouting a violation of my human rights and I felt betrayed by my own blood. Also, I was plagued with a deep sense of remorse at the earlier motive of my heart. I was hurt and confused and the only thing I knew, by the leading of the Holy Spirit, was to fall on my knees and call upon the Lord.
In times of persecution, it is so tempting to retaliate. With all their hurtful words and physical attempts to hurt me, it was so easy to hate those who persecuted me. It was so easy to plot revenge and to give them the cold treatment like they never existed. But by His grace, in the reflection I made later that day, the Father’s Spirit reminded me that first and most important of all, I was created to be like God.
Created to be like God—this tugged at my heart. It dawned on me that even before I was born, God has anointed a wonderful purpose for my life and that is, to be like Him, to reflect Jesus.
Earlier last week, I was blessed to have been able to read a summarized biography of two great Christian women, Esther Ahn Kim and Betsy ten Boom. This time, I will focus on the story of the latter.
Betsy, together with her sister Corrie, was cramped in a concentration camp by the Nazis during the Holocaust in a flea-infested cell. It was told that in one of her days that she was weak and sick, one of the guards lashed out strongly a whip at her chest for being slow at her work. Her sister, Corrie, undignified by this act, rushed to hurt the guard for her but before anyone can notice Corrie’s violent reaction, Betsy stopped her. Corrie winced upon seeing the gush of blood oozing from the wound in her chest but Betsy serenely told her, “Don’t look at it, Corrie. Look at Jesus only.”
Look at Jesus only, this is how you can become like Me—this is what the Father is telling me, amidst the hurt and the confusion. Look at Jesus hanging on the Cross, fully knowing His imminent death at the hands of His persecutors, still having the compassion to pray to the Father for forgiveness to those who have insulted, mocked, whipped, spitted at, and crucified Him. Look at Jesus, who with so much compassion and love in His eyes, told the adulterous woman that He does not condemn her either and gently told her to go and stop sinning. Look at Jesus, who, despite knowing my sins and shortcomings, chose to woo and pursue me with His perfect love and made me a dwelling place of His Holy Spirit. Look at Jesus—His obedience, His humility, His Great Love, His Perfect Sacrifice for all of us, His Mercy, His Grace.
Even before the creation of the Earth, the Father has already designed a blueprint for my life. He already envisioned me to be like Him. But sin corrupted me and separated me from the Father. His purpose of creating me to be like Him diminished but not for long. Because this purpose materialized by the death and resurrection of His Only Son, Jesus Christ, who came in obedience and humility, to save us from sin. And because Jesus already defeated sin and I am now clothed with the Holy Spirit, I can now access the grace to be like God. And I can do that not in my own strength and righteousness, but by the grace of Jesus.
And so in all circumstances, I choose to look at Jesus only. For this is the Father’s ultimate purpose for me.