“There really ought to be a sign upon my heart, ‘Don’t judge me yet, there’s an unfinished part.’“ –Joel Hemphill (He’s Still Working On Me)
I was listening to a song once about the love of God and how, despite our iniquities, He still loves us. A line from the song was the writer lamenting that he didn’t know why He loves us, but was so glad He does, anyway. For a moment, this particular line struck me, and I thought about it. What does He see in us, anyway?
According to the Bible, He sees, “… no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1) because “if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, … the blood of Jesus … cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7) So, whenever God sees us, He sees Jesus, and we are made righteous in Him. However, this has led to a big question outside of the Christian community. Why would such a big, omnipotent God invest so much time and energy into such lowly, hopeless worms as us?
Then, it hit me..
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me and I will hearken unto you.” (Jeremiah 29:11-12) Apparently, He sees us as something greater.
Allow me to provide an illustration. An odd illustration, but… stay with me for a moment.
Right now, I am typing this article on a rebuilt thirteen-year-old Compaq Presario. The processor is a single-core 1Ghz Intel Celeron, and it runs on only 172MB of RAM. “Don’t expect miracles from this old thing.” people said as I set out to build a working computer for my dad. “It’s old and it’s run its course. Not much more can be done with it, and you’d be better off spending a few hundred dollars for a brand-new state-of-the-art computer that actually works.”
However, I was tired of watching everyone struggle with it, so I took it upon myself to begin work. From the outset, I could see a vision of a perfect, dependable computer. Everyone else looked at the old box and saw a piece of junk, but I looked at it and saw nothing but raw potential.
The road was difficult. I hand-picked parts from various machines that best suited its needs and ran test after test to make sure everything was performing well. I gave it more memory and extra storage capacity. As for the programming, I wiped the hard drive clean of its original operating system and installed a brand-new one. It ran okay for a couple of months, but soon returned to its original sluggishness. I was discouraged, but I went back to work anyway.
“What happened?” everyone said. “I thought you said this new Linux system was supposed to be the best! Why do you have to go changing things around all the time? You’re such a computer nerd! Why can’t you just settle for good enough? Why can’t you just accept that it’s junk and there’s nothing more you can do with it?” Regardless, I kept at it. I could see a great computer underneath the old exterior, and I wanted others to see it, too.
After a few nights of fruitless searching, I finally found a solution. I started with a pure, stripped-down Debian/GNU Linux image for server admins and completely built the operating system from the ground up. All the automatic “push-button” mechanics that modern users take for granted, I had to learn how to manually create on my own, but the proverbial fingerprints were mine instead of the manufacturer’s. When it was finished, no one could believe that this was the same old clunker I had started with.
But it was far from over.
I continued to research, build and test. I watched others as they used it and tweaked the interface accordingly. I didn’t want it to merely suit my tastes, but others’ tastes as well. worked out the kinks, and the more I learned, the better it became. Currently, every other computer in the house has quit on us, but the old machine that everyone counted out is now singlehandedly bearing the weight of the family’s computing needs and can perform everything expected of a modern computer.
So, where am I going with this, exactly?
I was personally invested in this project, not just as an amateur computer tech, but as a man searching desperately for spiritual truth. When things started pulling together, I drew parallels between my work and the Potter’s hands. (Jeremiah 18:1-10)
When we first accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, we’re nothing much to look at. In fact, the world has counted us out as worthless. However, God doesn’t see our worthless flesh when He looks at us. What He sees, instead, is the finished product. He sees who we will become when we allow Him to work on us from the inside out.
First, He gives us brand new parts, a RAM and Hard Drive expansion called the Holy Spirit. As we crave His word and instruction, He then proceeds to remove all of our old, bogged-down, operating system that condemns and replaces it with a new system that glorifies. At first, we’re difficult for people to accept. We constantly hear from our friends, “What’s wrong with you? You’ve changed too much. Why can’t you be the same old person and be miserable with me?”, but God’s not finished with you, yet. He builds your programming from the ground up to run leaner and more efficient than ever. He tweaks the interface of your new nature until you are an acceptable servant to minister unto Him, spreading the good news that Jesus is Lord and God is good.
This, in my humble opinion, is a key to understanding how to walk in love. Author and Bible teacher Joe McGee once said that if a woman had a husband who loves her like Jesus loves her, divorce would be out of the question. This is a tremendous statement, but how do we see in others the things Jesus sees? Simple. We must be willing to be reshaped and reprogrammed.
We must be willing to read the Bible, seek the truth, and find out what Jesus first saw in us.