We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us. We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy (1 John 1:1-4 NLT).
John wanted these beloved friends in Asia Minor — what we call Turkey, today — to know that Jesus was real. Jesus was also God. In Jesus, God was real and present in our world. People had seen him with their eyes and touched him with their hands. This Jesus was God's Son, eternally existent before time began and was alive in history in human form in Jesus Christ. Jesus allowed those who witnessed him, to enter into friendship and fellowship with him. Because of their testimony, those who believe in him now can have fellowship with him, too.
Think of it: the eternal God chose to take on human flesh and become one of us. But why? Why would God do such a thing? Why limit himself to space, time, and mortality when he was beyond space and time, God the eternal one not bound by our limits and three-dimensional realities?
This same old apostle, John, shared the answer, an answer that is as deep and moving to comprehend as it is simple to say:
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him (John 3:16-17).
James Nored reminds of a beautiful story that helps us understand how deep this love God has for us — the love that led him to come to us in Jesus:
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God chose to win our hearts rather than dominate us into submission. He sacrificed himself to win our love and bring us back to him. All the stories about Jesus that circulate this time of year originate in one divine motive: to win our hearts back to God. They remind us that God's design for us is not manipulation or some arbitrary set of rules to control us but our Father's desire to bring us life, blessing, and love.
As we bring our year's journey to an end, the question you need to ask is as important to answer as it is simple to ask: Has God won your heart? Don't confuse that with, "Are you a Christian?" or "Do you claim to be a Christ-follower?" or "Do you go to church?" or "Are you spiritual?" Each of those questions falls short of this one: Has God won your heart? If he has, those other questions will take care of themselves. If he hasn't, then you are caught trying to live in two worlds, and that will ultimately pull you apart.
Has God won your heart? Read the following words from another apostle, Paul, as he talks about what God has done in love to win your heart:
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, while we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life (Romans 5:6-10).
Here's my heart, Lord! What about yours?