Today I've got a devotion running on Proverbs 31 and Crosswalk about knowing Jesus. If you joined me from there, thank you for taking time out of your busy day to visit me. I promised to share some ideas for enriching your time with Jesus. Instead of a list of tips, I want to share an insight that changed my understanding of God.
Years ago I put God in a box. Perhaps my excuse was youth. Or just being at the bottom of a very steep learning curve. Actually, learning about God is likely the steepest learning curve I've ever had. It puts learning Power Point to shame. After all, how can you wrap your mind around something ... or Someone ... so vast.
It's kind of like trying to think about what is beyond our galaxy ... and then beyond that. Is there an edge to space? And if so, what's on the other side? Have you ever driven yourself nutso trying to imagine?
God is kind of like that. How can mortals comprehend Spirit? How can my limited mind understand the limitlessness of God?
Because God seemed unknowable for many years in my youth, I liked to define Him by my understanding of Who He is. For example, I might have said, "God would never send anyone to war." Or, "God would never intentionally make anyone go through a painful experience." That's how I liked to think of God: a docile do-gooder.
Then I read the Bible.
Seems God could and did do both those things, plus a lot more things I never thought He would. Yep, read the Old Testament if you want to be shocked about our God. He's not always gentle. He's fierce and decisive. He's patient, but there is an end to it.
I discovered that to really know God, I had to stop trying to make Him fit into my world view. I couldn't define Him based on my values, or disregard those aspects of His character that didn't fit into my pretty little picture of Him. I had to accept God for who He is.
To know God, I had to read the Bible with an open mind, but that took faith. Not a lot of faith. Just a little. And it took a determination to stand firm on this truth: I may not understand, but I believe God is good and perfect (Deuteronomy 32:4). And I had to believe: His character does not change (Malachi 3:6, James 1:17).
I also had to understand God has three persons: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus) and God the Holy Spirit. And as I read the Bible with an open mind and a determination that God is good, I had to not put Him in a box, or put limits on Him as Father, Son or Holy Spirit. Visit GotQuestions.org for a great biblical explanation of the the Trinity.
I'll admit that's scary at times. I've come to understand that God values things differently than I do. My comfort is far less important to Him than it is to me. My "security" in earthly things is vapor to Him.
Now, here's the good news. Knowing God has given me more joy, confidence and hope than ANYTHING in this world. We serve a warrior King, who will not be mocked. And yet He is gentle enough to care for the most vulnerable among us. He demands my loyalty, but understands my doubts. I can't control Him, and for that I am very grateful.
You can know God the Father. You can know Jesus. You can know the Holy Spirit. I don't pretend to say I know everything about God - but I know more than I did. For me, it started with accepting Him for who He is, not who I want Him to be. How about you?
On Friday, I'll select one at random to win a prize pack of two Bible studies (one for you and one for a friend) and a Starbucks gift card. I co-authored these Bible studies with my pastor, and one is a good fit for this topic: The Character of God: Understanding His Heart for Us. Please make sure you include contact info in your comment so I can reach you if you win.
In His Love,