We hear all kinds of voices in the world. There are those who speak the truth in love and there are those who speak in lies. There are voices that hurt and offend. Such words can make us feel worthless. And then, there is another voice that gives life. A voice that does not stop telling us that we are beloved from all eternity. This is the voice of God, the Eternal voice. It is the Logos, the Word. It is the voice of eternal love.
It is the voice that gives us comfort and safety.
When Jesus was baptized and started his ministry, God the Father spoke and said, “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.” The Father doesn’t get quoted much in the scriptures. His message regarding Jesus must really be precious.
God’s love for his Son, Jesus, holds true for us. In John 3:16-17, God says that he loves the world so much and that he sent his Son not to condemn but to save. The world needs to hear this message. John 10:27 says that God’s flock hears his voice. It is a voice, not of condemnation but a voice who cares. It is a voice filled with grace.
Listen. To be called as the Beloved of God is something radically different for us humans. In the world, we hear a lot of condemnation. We hear arrogance, rejection, hatred and pride. However God also tells us that He includes all others in this love. Instead of rejecting others as less valuable, God accepts others in their own uniqueness.
The world is evil only when we listen to what lies it is saying. It is evil only when we are willing to be its slaves. Evil has no power unless we give it power by believing it more than what God says. Yes, there is a better alternative. Listen to God. He has defeated evil through His Son, Jesus. Evil operates through lies and deception (John 8:44).
Who is Jesus? When we listen to the scriptures, we see a clear portrait of one who makes us think upside down and inside out. Quite different from how many non-Christians view him, Jesus wasn’t interested in starting a new religious system of rituals and rules, rights and wrongs and dos and don’ts. Amazingly, Jesus had a completely non-religious plan. His message was that we can only find true peace and wholeness when we hold close a love and grace-based relationship with God and with others, and even our enemies…. And even with those who annoy us or make things difficult for us.
This voice of God became like one of us – God in the flesh – to drive the point home. That He loves us and calls us His beloved.
You will remember that during his life, Jesus didn’t go easy with this radical message. The truth is, he pushed so hard that the dominant religious and government leaders of his time decided they had to get rid of him. They wanted to silence him. Shut him up. They wanted the voice to be silenced so that they could continue in their status quo of fooling the people. We all know how that went down.
I believe that in order to truly hear and see Jesus, understand his message, and follow him, we need to refuse the lens given to us by a works-based, legalistic religion. Instead, we need to become a community of faith who listens to God and studies his word.
Every time I let myself be seduced by the noisy voices of this world telling me that my “lousy little life” is all I have, I fall into a trap. But when I let these voices move to the background of my life and listen to that small soft voice calling me Beloved, I know that there is nothing to fear. Dear friends, if you listen to God’s voice, you will hear Him saying “You are my beloved son (or daughter).” That is our identity. Beloved son or daughter of God. Believing in God’s perfect love, living it and proclaiming it — cast out all fear.