Before All Things

Read John 1:1-5

Michelangelo,  The Creation of Adam , 1512

Michelangelo, The Creation of Adam, 1512

We learn two essential notions concerning Jesus in John’s first two verses. The first being that the Word of God, Jesus, existed before all of creation. Second, this eternal Word of God, somehow more than a product of God, was and is God. But it is the Word's relationship with God John chooses to highlight. This same Word, who is God, is also mysteriously knit together in close intimacy with God. John teaches us that the Christian Deity in all of His perfections is relational at the core. Let that sink in, the all-sufficient Creator, in need of nothing, exists in eternal intimacy. God has perpetually existed in a state of perfect harmonious self-giving love towards the Word, and the Word towards God. This fact is how we know and believe God does not merely love but is love. The Word is God, and the Word is also with God. 

So then to be like God means to be in right relationship with God. As creatures designed in the Divine's image, the desire to be seen, known and loved by another comes from deep within our makeup because Godself longs to be seen and known by us. Thus, relationship with God is unparalleled among all other things vying for our attention. It is the single most crucial aspect of our life and wellbeing. It is from here everything else derives meaning. Without a relationship to our Creator, we are merely unseeing wanderers rushing through the world searching for life, hoping to find it in pleasure, success, stuff, or our legacy. But with Jesus, we are given the light to see. Everything begins to fall into its rightful place. The light provides shape and form to the shapeless shadows, and we begin to understand ourselves and our world a bit more. 

My relationship with God is the first thing, the most important thing, that which matters more than anything else. It will make me a better husband, friend, and pastor. It ultimately makes me a better human. Being united to God in friendship shapes my soul in a way that allows me to become more of what I was always meant to be. This reality is true of us all.

But true friendship with God is not based on its benefits. It is not a self-serving social move that somehow helps us climb the ladder of success. A real relationship with Jesus is born out of trust in who Jesus is. As the Creator of all things, the Word is life and life only comes from this Word of God. Jesus is the very thing we all spend our lives searching for. With Him, we have everything and without Him nothing. Any pursuit of life outside of Jesus only results in finding more death and decay. Even the best things He gives us will be misused, abused, and objectified if we burden them with the task of offering life. Searching for light apart from Him results in only finding more darkness. It is this intimate proximity to God we need above all else because it is God we need above all else. We need the life-giving Word of God who longs to be near us.

Let's make time for that which matters most today and let's do it again tomorrow.

We do this daily in two meaningful ways. First, we spend time in prayer, sitting before God and pouring our hearts and burdens out for God to hear, or silently sitting before God expecting to sit in the presence of the Divine. Second, we spend time with the written word of God, prayerfully allowing it to direct our hearts towards a better understanding of God while asking God to transform us through it.

Let's Live Into This Today:

  1. Spend a quiet moment, re-reading and reflecting on today's passages. Meditate on the fact that the same God of Genesis 1 genuinely wants you to know him intimately.

  2. What causes you to doubt God wants a real friendship with you? Take that to Jesus, confess your doubt, asking God to help you truly believe this.

  3. Spend time in prayer. If needed, take a physical posture that helps you focus on God. Maybe close your eyes and hold out empty hands, kneel, or lift your eyes to the sky. Find any physical posture that may help you better connect with God. Then sit in his presence quietly for a few moments. Think about the fact that God created you, cares for you, and wants to be your friend. Think about how you were born to know and be known by this same God. Then respond to God with thankfulness, or confession or whatever seems appropriate to you. Then ask Jesus to draw close and to stay close to you. Ask Jesus to transform you, to help you believe and understand God's love for you while helping you love God more.

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