Our Creator made us in His image to share His glory. What a tremendous honor! The God Story is all about taking imperfect men and women and graciously blessing us so there remains no question Who deserves credit for our triumphs. It makes sense that authentic, worthwhile faith would not be automatic or easy. Turbulence insures the opportunity of a God honoring result.
Because we need to believe in something – even if it is nothing – there are plenty of people prone to inhabit religions of our own making. It is also in our DNA to twist, conform, and reject truth. This is why some pretty crazy cults with even crazier beliefs have sprung up in America. Even Jewish traditions were antithetical to Jesus’ plan for setting people free. In fact, like all religious traditions, the opposite was happening (see the many words of Jesus on this). People were being invited into all kinds of bondage. When it comes to many aspects of religious pursuit, we spend entire lives climbing mountains only to discover we were ascending the wrong mountains. Sobering.
There has to be some way to ascertain authenticity. It is why it is so critical for us to allow the Bible to interpret itself. By diminishing God’s words to a series of dusty old stories, we lose sight of the fact we have been provided supernatural, animated words of life. Here is an example. Do you realize God’s Story is a book of only one testament? Where exactly does the Bible make the distinction old and new? Often we are quite prone to add or twist in order to get it to say what we want.
The idea we can get the Bible to say anything we want arises not because of the nature of the Bible, but our own propensity for blowing smoke. We can “make it say anything” when we reject the context, or when we choose to remain ignorant of the process of searching and allowing the Word itself to lead us in discovery of true meaning. For instance, you have probably heard the quote “I can do all things through Him Who strengthens me.” Yet the context clarifies that Paul had learned how to do just this – no matter his circumstances – good or bad.
Jesus created the world, He judged the world, He gave Himself for the world, and His witnessed signs and wonders cause all else in ancient times to pale. This is precisely the point of Jesus visiting the earth. It was a supernatural event of glorious proportions. His good news changed the world forever, and delivered millions of souls from death. This is the context of all Scripture.
It is important for us to be dedicated to the right things – the right Someone. Like me, I imagine you want to make your life count. You don’t have to believe what I believe, but it seems we all owe it to ourselves to invest in a calculated, thought-through trajectory of belief. There is simply too much at stake to get this wrong. The last thing we want to do is navigate ourselves into oblivion.
What if God has shown up on the earth? What if transcendence and face-to-face encounter have collided in space-time? What if this was planned before the dawn of time? The ramifications are epic.
Embracing sacrificial generosity
Another thing we learn from the God Story is that God is enormously generous. It is in His nature to lavish gifts upon each of us. He sets the stage for a life spent giving and draws us to give ourselves to something and Someone greater.
It also appears the more we give, the more He asks of us, and the more He gives. But it is not as though He is trying to mess with our lives. He is interested in transforming us. Sacrificial giving is one way He has demonstrated this through Himself and His Son. Humans are value driven. If it has no apparent value, there is little fascination. Apparently this is part of being made in the image of God. He values His truth. He values kind generosity, and He invites us to do the same.
What this means is the more we give, the more we receive. We not merely give to receive, we are blessed when we live generously. This moves us from a small place into wide open spaces. He asks us to join Him.
What about truth?
My personal search for authentic faith led me to the God Story. It was not as if I was searching hard to find God. I wasn’t. I was living my life by my wits for personal satisfaction of my inner desires, but my Creator awakened my heart to my true roots and ultimate destiny. He opened my mind and my heart to my God connection.
Religion had proven inadequate in my quest for a satisfied mind. Historic and current life philosophies had left me feeling empty. I struggled to find a place where both solid science and authentic God truth could bring harmony to my world view.
My personal encounter with Jesus was a simple, revolutionary connection. My mind and heart were opened to the reality of a Being who could answer all of my questions because He Himself was and is the Maker of all things. He was and is the King of the earth. He is my King. So began a 50 year learning process of discovering what it means for me to bow my free will before the authority of God’s ultimate will. Clarity.
√ Have you learned how to allow the Bible to interpret itself for yourself?
√ Have your done your own thought-through research on the Word’s ramifications?
√ Has sacrificial generosity overtaken your life? Do you give freely and obediently?
√ Has your personal God encounter rocked your world?
It is important to have a compass. This is why God has given us His.
Dave and Burnadette