Friday, August 26, 2016

So you really think you know God?

I’ve been going through a short list of God’s qualities that I posted recently, called Developing a Healthy Image of God, and if you haven’t read the previous ones, I’d encourage you to do so, because each one builds upon the other. Today is about how personal God is. When He gave Moses the 10 Commandments, it wasn’t supposed to simply be a set of laws, they were guidelines to help His people learn how to relate to Him and to each other. That was how they would learn to love Him and stay close to Him, and experience His love in return. But humanity is weak and they just couldn’t remain faithful to God, even with those simple laws. God instituted more and more laws, but no matter how much He guided them, they failed miserably.  

In the Holy of Holies, God’s glory rested on top of the Ark of the Covenant, on what was called the Mercy Seat, between the wings of the two mighty golden cherubim on the lid. He appeared as pure, unapproachable light. God’s presence was unbearable to look at or come near to. His holiness would kill sinners like us. Only sacrificial blood could cleanse us. So after thousands of years, God did the unthinkable by offering Jesus’ blood in our place. Now, we who belong to Christ are permitted to actually have that same unapproachable light living inside of us! If we die to our flesh and surrender our lives to Him, He turns our dirty, sinful, defiled lives into the Holy of Holies, where His wisdom, power and all the fruit of His Spirit can flourish and manifest. If that isn’t personal, I don’t know what is.

When you are baptized in the Holy Spirit, you begin to experience this amazing transformation, but it’s only a beginning. It grows stronger and starts to permeates your life more and more, according to how you allow it to grow, how radically you obey His voice, and how much you are willing to sacrifice your flesh. It’s up to you. Many Christians have given up a few bad habits, and are living nice, wholesome lives, and are content with that. But don’t be fooled into thinking that this is all there is to being saved or having the infilling of the Holy Spirit. For those of you who don’t yet have the Holy Spirit, and even you who already do, there is so much more than we can ever imagine. (I’m speaking to myself as well!) Some of us have developed a closer relationship, listen to Him and act on His urging much more than others, but none of us are using the authority and power that we have available to it’s fullest. Imagine what we could be doing on a daily basis, if we gave free reign to the Holy Spirit?  

If your failed attempts at faith have led you to blame God for being uncaring, you have much to learn about what real faith is and what it can do. If your idea of a personal God is treating Him like a magic genie in a bottle who’s supposed to do whatever you want, no matter how you live your life, don’t expect answered prayers. God is loving, close, and personal, and cares about the tiniest details of your life, but He needs us to submit to His ways so His light can shine in us. He is always trying to communicate His love and guidance to you if we would only listen. He is speaking to you right now as you read this, and wants to show you how you can develop this personal relationship, and how you can see His power become real and visible in your life today.

O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I get up; You understand my thought from far off. You search my path and my lying down and are aware of all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it fully.  Psalm 139:1-4, MEV 

…that the eyes of your understanding may be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of His calling and what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance among the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power,  which He performed in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principalities, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet and made Him the head over all things for the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all things in all ways.  Ephesians 1:18-23, MEV

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