By Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell
If God is I AM and Jesus is his Son and the very Word of God, we should be careful when we say, “I am…,” because the next word we use matters! Is it coincidence that the verb “to be” is conjugated in the first person singular as “I am” or the equivalent in any language (all the languages I can think of)? We were made in God’s image and human language even reflects this. God is I AM and we refer to ourselves individually with “I am….” This strikes me as significant.
So, if God is LOVE, then I AM is LOVE. And if we are made in his image, likewise, when we say, “I am…,” we should be able to finish the sentence with “love.” We should become so much like Christ that we become love also.
Scripture describes love this way: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, the NIV, Life Application Bible).
To be more like Christ and to love as he loves us, we need to know his nature and to know who he is. What would we say if Jesus asked us, as he asked his Disciples, “Who do you say that I am?”
When we meet Christ face to face, will he see himself when he looks in our eyes? Will he see LOVE? Will he see I AM?
By Paul Simrell
The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program.
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton
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