Growing up, I was always surrounded by linguists. And by that, I don’t mean that my friends were, by any measure, scholarly academics in the linguistic arts. They just enjoyed being smart with their words. And of the plethora of words and phrases that they used to abuse, the one that captured my imagination like no other was this, ‘love to hate, hate to love’.

We called this the ‘love-hate relationship’; and though we were just having a bit of fun, usually at our teachers’ expense, it did strike me as interesting that you cannot put ‘love’ and ‘hate’ together, join them with a preposition and have it mean something positive. Don’t believe me? Try it.

See what I mean? ‘Love to hate, hate to love; love from hate, hate from love; love before hate; hate before love; there is just no grammatically accurate way of joining these two words together and be able to derive a positive meaning from it.

And this got me thinking; has the world been able to pervert all the good things of God, such that they have all become hidden behind the ugliness of sin?

“What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he’s up to.” 1 John 3:1 [MSG]

When was the last time you looked in the mirror and thought to yourself, ‘Wow, I am the beloved child of God’, or ‘Yeah, God loves me’? What DID you notice when you last you looked into the mirror?

And that’s my point.

Putting aside spirituality, we realize that good things in the natural tend to wear off their sheen with time. We get bored of them and stop noticing their beauty. And soon, they stop being special to us. Just take a look at how children play with toys.

When a new toy gets advertised, they want it, they hanker for it, they bug you day and night for it. And when they finally get it, they are over the moon. You become their hero; and they even go so far as to do the dishes for you by day before bringing the toy with them to bed at night.

But this doesn’t last long, doesn’t it? Two weeks on and that which was once their prized possession gets chucked aside. It doesn’t have to be broken. It could still very well be as good as new and make another child very happy. But in the eyes of your child, it has lost its sheen, it’s no longer special.

Aren’t we like that too? Aren’t there things in your possession that you once longed to have, worked hard to get, but which are now chucked in the corner because you’ve had them for so long, they are no longer special to you? Or perhaps for you it is not a thing, but a person; your spouse, your partner?

Beloved, fact is, this world has a habit of eroding the shine off good things. In this world, everything decays, even feelings of pride. And that is why we should always remind ourselves of who we truly are, for if we don’t, we will allow the world to rub the sheen off all the good things that we have been blessed with and hoodwink us into believing that we are no longer the special and the beloved child of God.

You know, it’s not good for your ego, but look in the mirror right now and measure yourself the way the world measures people. Go on, try it. Measure yourself against the position you hold. Measure yourself against the income you earn. Measure yourself against the type and size of house you live in. Measure yourself against the car you drive. Measure yourself against the spouse you have. Measure yourself against how well your children are doing in school. Depressed yet?

Now, look at what you really have. Think of what you have been able to do for your family and your community with the resources that have been made available to you by your job and your income. Remember how much joy you and your spouse shared since the two of you got together. Remember how much joy your children brought since the day they were born. Life looks very different now, doesn’t it?

“What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he’s up to.” 1 John 3:1 [MSG]

When we measure ourselves by the yardsticks of the world, we never measure up, no matter how fortunate a circumstance we are already in; because the world does not recognize our true identity, and refuses to even allow us to take ourselves seriously.

Done a lot of good work lately? Helped a lot of people? Then what about your children who were neglected because you were spending all that time, energy and resources helping others? Or perhaps you just got recognized for achieving top sales in your company. Then what about all the poor people you steamrolled over just to get that award? And your spouse who had to endure countless lonely hours, eating cold dinners, just because you were out there getting sales? You see, there’s just no winning, because the world does not recognize love, it only wallows in hate.

But we should be different, especially when we “Consider the incredible love that the Father has shown us in allowing us to be called “children of God” because “that is not just what we are called, but what we are. Our heredity on the Godward side is no mere figure of speech.” 1 John 3:1 [PHILLIPS]

And for all the good that we have received, all that ‘good’ is a reality. The blessings of income and position are realities. The support that we got from our spouse in our pursuit of that income and position are also realities. The people we are able to help and the lives we have been able to change are also realities. The achievements that our children have been able to accomplish in school, whether or not they come in first, are realities. They are all real and tangible realities of being loved by our Father.

You see, the world wants you to discount all that so that you don’t see our Father’s love in your life. And it does that by turning your eyes away from the provision and focusing your eyes on the lack.

But there is a way to fight that. There is a way to refocus and recalibrate. And it is this,

“…the message which you [believers] have heard from the beginning [of your relationship with Christ], that we should [unselfishly] love and seek the best for one another;” 1 John 3:11 [AMP]
From our past messages, we have seen what love is, and we have seen how we are blessed so that we can bless. Indeed, beloved, unselfishly loving and seeking the best for one another is nothing more than an exercise in sensitizing ourselves, bringing to our attention, the provision and protection that we have enjoyed from our Father; provision and protection that was spawn from His wonderful love for us.

And when all else fails, the world will point you to your sin and make that overshadow all the good that you have done, telling you that because you have sinned, your ‘bull run’ of blessings is about to come to an end.

But be not dismayed beloved, for though you may have indeed slipped, and though

“He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning”;

“For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.”

For “Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.” 1 John 3:8-9

You are born of God, beloved, and

“No one who is born of God [deliberately, knowingly, and habitually] practices sin, because God’s seed [His principle of life, the essence of His righteous character] remains [permanently] in him [who is born again—who is reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, and set apart for His purpose]; and he [who is born again] cannot habitually [live a life characterized by] sin, because he is born of God and longs to please Him.” 1 John 3:8-9 [AMP]
Beloved, it is no accident that Jesus said,

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” John 13:34

For when you do, you constantly remind yourself that you are loved, and that you live in His love. So beloved, love, for you most certainly are loved.

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