"Of course, I want to
relate to God. But . . ."
Is He My
THERE IS LITTLE QUESTION that God wants to relate to us born-again Christians
in a personal way. We were, after all, purposely created in His image. We were
designed to easily interact with our Creator on an emotional level. In fact, God's
desire to fellowship with "His people," has prompted Him, throughout the years, to dwell
The Jews, while wandering in the wilderness, were instructed to build a tabernacle, a portable temple, to serve as the earthly dwelling place of God. "And let them make me a sanctuary; THAT I MAY DWELL AMONG THEM" (Exo. 25:8). "And I WILL DWELL AMONG the children of Israel, and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, THAT I MAY DWELL AMONG THEM: I am the LORD their God." (Exo. 29:45-46).
Later on, once the Jews were in the promised land, the tabernacle gave way to the temple, a more permanent dwelling place. "Then he [David] called for Solomon his son, and charged him to build an HOUSE FOR THE LORD God of Israel." 1 Chr. 22:6
God didn't stop there. Eventually He took on flesh, and came down to earth to meet us face to face! The Bible, referring to Jesus Christ as the Word, says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and THE WORD WAS GOD....And the Word WAS MADE FLESH, and DWELT AMONG US." John 1:1,14
And although Jesus ascended back into heaven, and the Jewish temple was later destroyed in 70 A.D., God had already planned the "final" dwelling place--the body of the believer. "Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? BUT HE SPAKE OF THE TEMPLE OF HIS BODY" (John 2:19-21). "What? know ye not that YOUR BODY IS THE TEMPLE OF THE HOLY GHOST which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?" 1 Cor. 6:19
(By the way, this is one reason why Christians are commanded to live a holy, and sanctified life.) "And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for YE ARE THE TEMPLE OF THE LIVING GOD; as God hath said, I WILL DWELL IN THEM, AND WALK IN THEM; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people" (2 Cor. 6:16). "But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by HIS SPIRIT THAT DWELLETH IN YOU." Rom. 8:11
Now, having said all that, there should be no reason why we, as Christians, should not be making a conscious effort to get closer to God in sweet fellowship. After all, it is the least we can do for a God who has shown a track record of reaching out to us first.
However, some find it hard to relate to God for the simple reason that they are not sure HOW TO VIEW HIM. To them the question always comes up: "Do I relate to God as my Father, or as Lord?" The Bible gives us the answer. "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly OUR FELLOWSHIP is with THE FATHER, AND with HIS SON Jesus Christ." 1 John 1:3
Here's how we can relate to both AT THE SAME TIME . . .
A RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TWO PEOPLE normally requires that each person have a relational identity; they each fulfill a role that compliments each other. For example, there are parent/child relationships in which one person identifies with being the child, which the other fulfills the role of parent. There are employer/employee relationships, where one is the boss and the other one follows orders. Other relationships include husband/wife, teacher/student, salesman/customer, and so on.
Normally, once the roles are defined and a person assumes one of them, the other complimentary role is implied. So, for example, when Jesus Christ said, "And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is YOUR FATHER, which is in heaven" (Mat. 23:9), He implied that we, as saved, born again Christians are His children. Therefore, we are to enter into a Father/child relationship and relate to God as our Father.
However, some get confused when they also hear Christ say, "And why CALL YE ME, LORD, LORD, and do not the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46). The implication here is that Christ (God in the flesh) is our Lord, making us His servants within a Lord/servant relationship. So which one is it? Father or Lord? Child or servant?
Some may think this is all trivial. After all, in either case we play a subordinate role in the relationship, whether we are God's child, servant, or merely His creation; the bottom line is God is God and we're not. However, having already seen God's desire to get close and personal with us, how we view ourselves within a relationship will dictate how close WE try to get to Him. For example . . .
Consider a typical situation at work. From 8 to 5 we participate in an employer/employee relationship with our immediate boss. This is otherwise known as a working relationship. Normally working relationships with "the boss" don't grown into something close and personal. Closeness is not even expected. You don't have to know the boss personally in order to carry out his orders. However, suppose the boss was also your father, would a deeper, more personal relationship be expected? Would you find it easier to get close and personal with the boss on the basis that he is not only your boss, but he is "family" as well?
A similar thing occurs when we only view God as Lord and nothing else. We fall into a servant's role, having primarily a working relationship with God. We view servitude as the only means of relating to God. Naturally, we don't have an inclination to get that close and personal with someone who is strictly our Lord--the boss. An emotional bond is never reached. "Abba, Father," and the emotional connection it represents, will never emit from the lips of someone who is strictly in a Lord/servant "working" relationship.
Please understand, there is nothing wrong with serving God. We are told to "Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service" (Rom. 12:1). However, the Bible also says, "Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ" (Gal. 4:7). Our relationship status has been raised to that of a son, yet not at the exclusion of serving. For while not all servants are sons, all sons can easily be a servant. And there lies the secret to relating to God both as your Father and your Lord.
In fact, it helps if you view the Trinity as a family looking to adopt more kids. You could say, the Father, the Holy Spirit, and the only begotten Son, form a heavenly family. (The Holy Spirit's function often pictures that of the mother within an earthly
ARE THE CHILDREN OF GOD: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and JOINT-HEIRS WITH CHRIST" (Rom. 8:16-17). "For whom he [the Father] did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he [the Son] might be THE FIRSTBORN AMONG MANY BRETHREN ['Younger' brothers and sisters]" (Rom. 8:29).
family.) God the Father arranged to have that heavenly family enlarged, by adopting more kids.
The Bible says, "But when the fulness of the time was come, GOD SENT FORTH HIS SON, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might RECEIVE THE ADOPTION OF SONS. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
Wherefore thou art no more a servant, BUT A SON; AND IF A SON, THEN AN HEIR of God through Christ." Gal. 4:4-7
If you haven't already realized it, Christ is not only our Lord, authority-wise, but He is also OUR "ELDEST" BROTHER, family-wise. The Bible bears this out. "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that WE
How many Christians today are only relating to God through the number of ministries they are in, or the amount of time, talent, and treasures they sacrifice? To some the ONLY means of impressing God and gaining His approval is by doing things for Him. That kind of Christianity can become shallow, and "results" oriented.
If we are going to measure our walk with God ONLY by how much we accomplish, what happens if persecution comes and shuts down our ministries? Will we even find ourselves in prison one day, in a lonely cell with a complete stranger living inside? Read the book of Ephesians. Notice all the references the Apostle Paul makes to His Heavenly Father and the fact that he has been adopted into God's family. Do you realize that Ephesians was written from a dungeon? Obviously, a working relationship was not the only relationship Paul had with God.
Jesus, Himself, reiterated our status as His brethren, right after His resurrection.
"Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not ascended to my Father: but go to MY BRETHREN, AND SAY UNTO THEM, I ascend unto MY FATHER, AND YOUR FATHER; and to my God, and your God." John 20:17
When you view the Trinity as a family with adopted kids, any conflicts in trying to think of God as both Father and Lord, disappear. The Bible says, "But to us there is but ONE GOD, THE FATHER, OF WHOM are all things, and we in him; and ONE LORD JESUS CHRIST, BY WHOM are all things, and we by him." 1 Cor. 8:6
Simply put, our Father has given our older Brother the authority to Lord over us. This arrangement is not strange at all, when you consider how often the earthly father of a large family will leave his eldest son in charge of the rest of the kids.
We therefore can relate to God within BOTH a working relationship, AND a personal, Father/child relationship. We are to serve our Lord, whose Father happens to be our Father also. "Blessed be the God and FATHER OF OUR LORD Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy HATH BEGOTTEN US again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" (1 Pet. 1:3). Relating to God on a personal level becomes easier once we realize that we are serving our Father, while under the authority of our older Brother, as a close family member, and not strictly a servant.
IF you were to die today, are you 100% SURE
you would go to Heaven? The Bible says
YOU CAN BE SURE (1 John 5:13).
BUT FIRST, you must realize what keeps you from going to Heaven are your sins, because:
"...your iniquities [sins] have separated between you and your God," Isaiah 59:2.
In fact, in God's eyes YOU ARE A SINNER: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" Romans 3:23.
SECONDLY, you must realize that there is NOTHING you can do to save yourself and earn Heaven: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Eph. 2:8-9) Baptism, good deeds, church membership, and self- righteousness are all examples of good works that cannot save you, because, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he [Christ] saved us," Titus 3:5.
THE ONLY WAY you can get saved is through Jesus Christ. He said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6) THAT'S WHY: "...while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8-9
THEREFORE: You must REPENT (change your mind); admit that you are a Hell deserving sinner and can't save yourself. And call upon Christ, and Him alone, to save you. "if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus [REPENT], and shalt believe in thine heart [TRUST] that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Romans 10:9
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