Help! I'm not Who I Want to Be.
The first verses of 1 John 3 contain some extravagant promises that have strengthened my feeble heart this morning. I have known nothing more wearing in life than the struggle with indwelling sin. I find these promises especially nutritious during those times when my heart struggles to nourish and sustain itself through the monotonies, challenges, and failures of everyday life. So I invite you to consider with me four life-giving realities that lift a downcast head and a strengthen a weary heart.
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.  Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.  And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. (1 John 3:1-3)
A. Behold the extravagant love of the Father. (vs. 1)
John encourages us to look upon and consider the love of the Father. He beckons us not just to generally consider the Father's love but specifically the kind of love we have received. It is the love of a good father to a child. The love of a father for a child is characterized by unconditionality even in spite of immature awkwardness, constant failures, and even spiteful disobedience. A father's love for his child is entirely detached from performance, merit, and ability. Behold and be amazed that though we were once enemies of God, we have now been called children of God. Love like this strengthens the faint heart.
B. We are not yet who we will be. (vs. 2)
A good father does not simply love the prospect of what his child will become, but he loves his child as he is. If we ever gaze upon God's law, we are abruptly reminded that we are not who we should be, however "we are God's children now." One of the most consistent and overwhelming longings in my life is the longing to be better than who I currently am… to be a better me. I want to change. I want to be more holy, more mature, more faithful, more loving, more disciplined. I want to be less frail, less anxious, less afraid, less selfish. This text calls me to consider my current status. I am God's child NOW, and as God's child He is committed to completing His work in me. This work is apparently so extravagant that "what we will be has not yet appeared." Though God loves the 'current me' and not just the 'future me', the less sinful, more holy version, what I will one day be has not even yet been seen!
C. Beholding is Transforming. (vs. 2)
Though we do not yet know "what we will be" we are given a pretty extravagant clue. "We shall be like Him, because we shall see him as he is." Could there be a more exciting version of you than a Christ-like version of you? This is even more specific than being sinless, but rather we shall be like Christ! Even more, this text explains the how part of our exciting transformation. The reason we will be like Christ is "because we shall see him as he is." Once we have beheld Him in all his glory, unblinded by the fogginess of sin, the sight of him will be utterly transformative. This exciting reality is attested to often in the Scriptures, that as we gaze upon Christ, we are transformed. "And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another" (2 Cor. 3:18). How do I become more Christ-like? Is it more discipline, more effort? Perhaps, but to the end that I do more beholding, because beholding is transforming.
D. Hope purifies. (vs. 3)
Not only does beholding transform, but hoping transforms. The act of looking ahead and banking on these promises has the power to dismantle the contaminating power of sin in this present age.
Do your failures and struggles make you insecure and timid? Consider the extravagant love of the Father and take heart that though God loves the current version rather than the future 'version of you', you are not yet who you will be. Do you want to change? Do you long to be free from the tyranny of indwelling sin? Behold who he is, consider what he has done, and hope in all he has promised. We will soon be like him.