Do You Believe He Loves You That Much?
A more proper title for this page would be "Do you believe he is really in you?", but my gut feeling is that the problem is not ignorance of the scriptures or an inability to follow the reasoning that classifies it as symbiosis. I also feel that it is not due to denying that symbiosis is a reality. Rather, the problem is with one's emotions and feelings that are affected by the cultural beliefs that one picks up unconsciously from church and society. These cultural attitudes lead you to think "I am not worthy/too sinful/undeserving of having the Holy Spirit really be in me. It works for everyone else because God loves them that much, but not me."
I sympathize with those who think this way, because for a long time I thought that way too.
What pulled me out of this kind of thinking was a hard-nosed reading of 1 John 3:1-3:
1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
In the first verse, John points out that God the Father has a special manner by which he bestows his love on believers: by calling them sons of God. What is important to see is that the world doesn't know us as sons of God because they do not know God. While we know that God loves the world, there is no indication here that those in the world are loved in a manner that makes God call them sons of God. The upshot is that the world doesn't recognize the believers as sons of God, meaning that there is nothing about them that the world can see that distinguishes them as sons of God. This shouldn't surprise us since they were equally clueless looking at the outward form of Jesus our Lord, and we shouldn't expect to do better in this regard than He.
The second verse is more emphatic and insistent: "now are we the sons of God". There are two important differences between the first and second verses. The first difference is one of timing: the first verse says nothing as to when we should be called sons of God, while the second emphasizes that we are sons of God now. The second difference is in the verb tense: the first verse says we "should be called", while the second emphasizes that "now are we the sons of God." The thrust of the second verse should be plain: while the first verse argues that we "should be called the sons of God" (referring to the propriety of us being called the sons of God), the second insists on the present reality of our status as sons of God. The verse insists that we are, right now, at this moment, while you are reading these words, that you are son of God NOW.
It should be reassuring that the difficulty you have, and I had, with believing the present reality of your Divine sonship and daughtership is acknowledged: The writer admits "it doth not yet appear what we shall be". In other words, "You are sons and daughters of God, even though it sure doesn't look like it right now." There is an acknowledgement that sons and daughters of God ought to look like Jesus as he now exists, in his post-resurrection body. There is an acknowledgement that we will look like Jesus when he comes again. However, there is an acknowledgement that we do not look like Jesus now, even though we are sons of God now. When he comes again we will, but at the current moment, the outward appearance is deceiving. Second Corinthians 4:13-18 says:
13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; 14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. 16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
There is another aspect of verse 2 worth mentioning: the part with the grey background insists that, when Jesus comes, we will be like him. How much like him? Here's the revolutionary part of this verse: there is no distinction between sons of God. You are as much a son of God as Jesus is. You hold the same status in God's mind as Jesus does. It stands to reason that God loves you as much as he loves Jesus.
I have always regarded verse 3 as a promise that meditating on the hope of the second coming and the fact that it would make us outwardly the sons of God would have a purifying effect on the believer. However, it was not until I included the 1 John passage above into this essay that I saw that it is a statement of how to implement the symbiotic methodology! By reading verse 2, we are forced to think about it. If we concentrate on that thought long enough so that we start to have hope, we have selected that thought. It gets fed back down into the heart, where the Holy Spirit resides, and the permission implied by having that hope releases the Holy Spirit to purify the heart of the one who has that hope.
If you skipped the page where the question was about having the right priorities, go back and read it, for the cure to your problem of not thinking you are worthy is to work first on that part of your thought life that hopes in the purification of the body in the resurrection when Jesus comes again. This verse promises you that doing so will purify you. This implies that purity is possible, and that it is done by hoping for the perfection of your body at the second coming. Here are some equivalent thought-deviations from which you can choose the one you disbelieve the least and feed through the Variance Management process:
I do not currently believe that I am a son/daughter of God now. I ought to believe that I am a son/daughter of God now. This difference is unacceptable, Holy Spirit, and I ask that it be reduced to where I do believe that I am now a son/daughter of God, despite not looking like one.
I do not currently believe that God loves me enough to have made me a son/daughter of God now. I ought to believe that God loves me enough to make me a son/daughter of God now. This difference is unacceptable, Holy Spirit, and I ask that it be reduced to where I do believe that God loves me enough to have made me a son/daughter of God now.
I do not currently believe that God loves me as much as he loves Jesus. I ought to believe that he loves me as much as he loves Jesus. This difference is unacceptable, Holy Spirit, and I ask that it be reduced to where I do believe that God loves me as much as he loves Jesus.
Why should these work? Because beliefs are thoughts. Because they are thoughts, they can be affected by the Holy Spirit as easily as any other thought. There is no evidence that beliefs are "special" thoughts that are excluded from the symbiotic thought control methodology, and I cite as proof the man who cried out "Lord I believe. Help thou mine unbelief!" Sometimes, out of the mouths of ordinary men comes words of deeply profound wisdom: the man recognized that he did not have enough faith for Jesus to heal his son, but he had enough faith to believe that Jesus could give him the faith to believe. Apparently, Jesus answered his prayer for he did heal the man's son.
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