For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers.” Romans 8:29 (ESV)

Here is a simple, but profound principle… You can’t love someone from a distance, AND you can’t throw rocks at a person when you’re standing close to them. It is much harder to be critical, speak negatively about a person when you are close to them, that is, when know their heart. But from a distance it is easy to criticize, to throw stones of accusation against them.

Likewise, those who are close to Jesus, who know Him will embrace Him and trust Him even when they don’t understand the why. But those who don’t really know Him, when the challenges come they get angry and are quick to doubt His goodness. They blame Him, even accuse Him of their problems, or apparent silence in the midst of their valley. But those who know Him, trust Him!

Those who reject Jesus today, don’t know Him. The Jesus they are rejecting is not the real Jesus. Maybe they got hurt by church leaders, or abused by their earthly father. Maybe, God didn’t show up when they needed Him, or at least He didn’t come to their rescue as they had desired, or expected. The reality is, the Jesus they are rejecting is not the real Jesus!

I was one of those, until I saw Jesus in a group of young people who should have hated me. I had torn apart the youth group, but instead of rejecting me, these young people displayed the love of Christ for me. For the first time in my life I saw the real Jesus through these kids. I was undone, and by the end of the week I was totally surrendered to the real Jesus!

Most people do not know the real Jesus. They reject the Sunday School version of Him, or the cultural version, or the religious version. But the Lion and the Lamb version, wow, He is worthy of our praise devotion and surrender. Unfortunately, most people who reject the real Jesus never have the opportunity to get to know Him. But here is where we come in. Like that youth group that should have hated me but instead displayed Jesus’ love for me, we to can display that love of Jesus to those around us These young people who poured out a tsunami of love upon me didn’t have to try or force it. It just oozed from them!

Ask God to continue to increase His love in you that you might display it to those around you. Ask God to allow you to draw even nearer to Him and to feel His heart, to know Him intimately! Ask Him to make you more like His Son! Ask Him to lead you to people today to be His hands, feet and mouth in order to show His love for them. Ask Him to allow you to be a doorway for them to begin seeking, desiring and wanting the real Jesus. Ask Him to make and shape your life to reflect Him, especially for those in close proximity around you!