Abraham Lincoln, one of America’s most beloved presidents, was anything but beloved while he was in office. The South hated him. The anti-war activists hated him. Democrats hated him, calling him a widow-maker. The media ridiculed his eyes, looks, and body, calling him a freak of nature. Harper’s magazine hated him so much as to call him a host of names in print: filthy storyteller, despot, liar, thief, braggart, buffoon, usurper, monster, ignoramus Abe, old scoundrel, perjurer, swindler, tyrant, field-butcher, and land-pirate. (Sermoncentral.com)
With all this hate going on at the time, how did he get to where he is today, considered to be maybe the most beloved president of all time? It was because he stood for something and had the moral courage to address it and it was because he wore the armor of God, standing for righteousness despite the arrows of anger hurled at him.
Its much the same way we are called beloved in the eyes of our Creator. Colossians 3:12 outlines the attributes of the beloved saying, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.”
Abraham Lincoln had to have all of these in large quantities to make it through the turmoil of his world at the time. That’s not to say they were always present in his life. Rather its to say that these are the things he would have had to lean on to get him through what was a very difficult time in American history.
In our relationship, these are the attributes God longs to see in us, because in this true power is found. Strength does not come from anger and vengeance; it comes with being able to weather the storms in our lives with grace. Those who practice such things are beloved in God’s eyes because they are taking on His qualities driven by His love.
God says through the Apostle John in 1 John 4:7-8, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
John speaks to the beloved again saying in 1 John 3:1-2, “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 has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see him as He is.”
We see from these sections of 1 John that the beloved are those who know the Father. We also see in this book that the beloved are still susceptible to the world despite their love for God. John warns, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone into the world” (1 John 4:1).
The beloved of God are targets for a ruthless destroyer. We read about it in the life of Lincoln, and we see it in the world today. Because we are so beloved, the devil works extra hard to draw us away from the honest love of God and toward the deceptive love of the world. To be beloved by God is to have power over evil, so the evil one does what he can to pull us off the path to salvation.
Therefore, the beloved are to be “…imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:1-2). The Godly attributes of the beloved take the love of God and pass it on to those on earth who don’t yet know the power of God’s love in their own lives. They imitate Christ in their every action and reproduce the love of God in their service to mankind. The devil has little power over the one who emulates God in their thoughts, words and deeds.
No matter your position in life, God loves you. The beloved are those who know this and work to take on His qualities of love for the benefit of their neighbors. So, What defines you? Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, thank you for loving us no matter our state in life and help us to be more like you so that we might spread this love to the world. Amen.