Knowing that God is the best-est, most loving father, beyond our earthly imagination, will not be relevant to us – will only be a nice theory and thought – if we do not know that God is real. So, before you read the rest of this or listen to another message somewhere else, if you are not sure that God is real, I would challenge you to take time to know his reality.
…if you are not sure that God is real, I would challenge you to take time to know his reality.
If you sincerely want to know his presence and reality, then simply take a moment to ask God to show himself to you in one way or another. Your prayer doesn’t have to be religious, fancy or cliched. In fact, a sincere mumble will do just fine.
Or, go close yourself into a closet, or someplace solitary and private, and imagine that God is there with you. (I know you might be thinking that you are trying to get away from imagination, and that you want reality outside of your head. But, I would challenge our thoughts about imagination. Imagination DOES exist in our world – it is a reality – and so it is not entirely useless or illegitimate.) Anyhow, if you need to, set up an empty chair, close by, next to yours, and imagine that God is sitting there with you. Again, I know you want to know that God is real, and you’d rather maybe see him before you begin talking with him. He might physically show himself to you, but more than likely, he won’t. So, you just have to believe – with the little, but very real – faith in your heart, that God is real and there, and begin.
If you already know God’s reality, then you need to know at all times that the God you are interacting with is not angry or annoyed at you. On that first night in Evansville, Indiana when I prayed, I kept condemning myself because that’s all I really knew how to pray and all I knew about God. I fear that many of us approach God with thoughts primarily about ourselves and of how annoyed and angry God must be with us. If that’s you, when you pray, instead, try to clear your mind of thoughts about yourself, and instead fill your mind with thoughts of who God is according to his word.
…you need to know at all times that the God you are interacting with is not angry or annoyed at you.
First of all, he is Jesus Christ. When I approach God, I always have Christ and who he is – as presented in the four gospels – in my mind. Of course, you will have to take time to read those gospels for yourself and note his consistent and repeated character traits. Once you have taken the time to do that, you will be able, during your prayer times, to easily focus on who he is and what he does.
Next, I also recently have begun to do quite literally what Jesus Christ commanded us to do, as it pertains to prayer and approaching God. For one, in the gospels, Christ’s disciples asked him how they should pray, and he told them how to do it and what to say. In that prayer – commonly known as the Lord’s prayer, but what I call the disciple’s prayer – the first thing is to acknowledge our heavenly father, who is hallowed, set apart, like none other.
To acknowledge God as our heavenly father, like none other, is actually quite a loaded acknowledgement. It means, first of all, that he is not like any father on the earth. But at the same time, we can get an idea of what God is like by observing our fathers. But, not just our fathers, but also our mothers, because God created both male and female in his own image. (Read Genesis, chapter 1, the entire thing. But more specifically, verse 27.) Thus, if we want to get a fuller picture of what God is like, we don’t just observe our fathers, but also our mothers. So, besides God being a protector and provider (common fatherly tendencies) he is also our comforter and nourisher (common motherly tendencies). And he is infinitely MORE than our fathers and mothers, though, because he is heavenly, and they are not. Thus, he is creator, healer, reviver, savior of our souls, forgiver of our sins, and so much more. He can get into every part of us that our mothers and fathers cannot get into.
There is much to say about who God is, but one last point that I will make is that, whatever God requires of us, is the standard of his own morality and personality. Thus, when God told us how to love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, he is telling us about the same kind of love that he loves us with. (Besides that, he also IS love, according to 1 John 4:8, and so we can conclude that he IS and does all of the things described in 1 Corinthians 13.) Also, when we are told, in Galatians 5:22-23, what should come out of our lives as a result of the Holy Spirit living in us, we have to understand that God’s standard for himself is the same. Thus, God himself (who is the Holy Spirit anyway!) emanates love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
…whatever God requires of us, is the standard of his own morality and personality.
When we really know who God is and what he is like – when we really know God’s love – it helps us to receive, either directly from him or indirectly through others, his love, gifts, blessings, patience, encouragement, comfort, correction, etc. And consequently, we will also be people who show the same kind of love toward others. As we allow God to love us, we will be able to love others in the same way, and fulfill the “new command”..
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”Jesus Christ (John 13:34-35)