18. Our Nature

Cutting to the Chase” Meditations 18: Our Nature

Jn 1:47 Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”

So we continue to look at who we are, the sort of person we are, where we’ve come from and where we are going, people who were dominated by Sin but who have been washed, cleansed, set free and made anew. But these are really all generalizations, but what sort of people are we? The world would like to think we are the same as them but in relationship with the Lord and indwelt by His Spirit, we are not! In fact there are so many ways we are different, aren’t there.

Let’s try and catch something of the sort of people we now are by looking at something that happened in the early part of John’s Gospel. Jesus has recently been baptized by John and is picking up one or two new followers before he goes back north to Galilee again. One of them was Philip who tells his friend Nathaniel who agrees to go with him to meet Jesus. Then comes our starter verse.

Jesus knows that the outside can be misleading (see 1 Sam 16:7). Jesus knows that Nathaniel tells it as it as he sees it (see Jn 1:46) but is open to learn (he comes to Jesus). Without guile or without deceit? What does that mean? It is something Jesus commends him for so we should think about it. It’s actually quite profound.

Guile refers to cunning, shrewdness, the ability to scheme on your own behalf. It’s a word that well described Jacob who we’ve been considering in the last two studies. Deceit is another unpleasant word, meaning misrepresenting the truth. A dictionary definition says, “the act of causing someone to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid” to which we might add, “so often for our own benefit.” Jacob again.

But here is one of the big dividing lines between the believer and the unbeliever for the believer has God acting on our behalf and so has no need to pretend and try and deceive others. When we know who we are – children of God – we have no need for these things. The unbeliever has to rely on their own wits, living by own intellect and resourcefulness. i.e. a life of self-effort and self-endeavor for self-gain. Is that you and me? Do we still have a life of self-effort and self-endeavor for self-gain, and do we have to pretend to be more than we are?

Humility, we said yesterday, includes being honest about ourselves, the bad AND the good, and sometimes Christians are not so good at acknowledging the good of who they are, so let’s check that out in the next few days. Thank him for who He has made you and is making you, thank Him for the person you ARE and for the person He is making you to be. As I said, these things are quite profound, they go to the very heart of who we are, the very heart of the sort of lives we live. Amen? 

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