Thursday, June 3, 2010

As In a Mirror

How do we know God?

By looking at a picture of a person, do you know them? Can you have a relationship by only knowing the outside of a person? The body is not the person. The person is the spirit within, the thoughts and dreams and spiritual attributes. The true person guides the deeds and motions of the body- without the spirit, the body is dust, and without life. To know a person then, there must be a communication of the things of the heart.

God, on the other hand, is spirit. “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." (John 4:24) While it is true that the church is his body on earth, (1 Cor 12:27) we are imperfect human beings, while Christ, the head who is physically unseen, is perfect. He is fully alive, truly a person, unencumbered by the flesh. And yet Jesus came to wear the weakness of a human body. He became as dust to be glorified once again, bringing believers to eternal life through the glory of his resurrection!

How do we know this God? Can we see Him through His creation? Certainly, in a small way. But creation is such a small and fallen reflection of who God is. People are the only beings made “in the image of God”. But even at that, we are only created beings. By sin, the image of God in us has been all but destroyed, and by Adam's fall the whole world is subjected to sin's destructive influence. God is not his creation, any more than an artist is his painting. An artist paints a landscape, but by looking at that painting afterward would you know the artist? That is, would you have a relationship with the artist, with the artist knowing you as well as you knowing the artist? Art is certainly an expression of the soul of the artist, but it is not the artist himself. Likewise, God expresses part of who he is through nature, but appreciating the artwork doesn't translate to knowing what the artist looks like. If you already know the artist, you may find that you know them better after studying their work. You won't get far doing it the other way around because you will only be imagining what the artist is like. The essential part of the relationship, direct communication, will be lacking.

The communication that is so essential to truly knowing God is found through His Word. He has written a letter to all who will read it, and has given an interpreter, the Holy Spirit, to help us understand and live out those words. We are certainly well equipped. Not only are we freed from sin's lordship, but we have a letter filled with assurance and love, the Holy Spirit who is God living in us, and a promise of eternal life with God.

Why is it so hard to feel God's presence? Why do we find the Bible so dry and worldly entertainment so appealing? Why do we worry about our future on earth and fail to be excited about our inheritance in heaven? Why do we concern ourselves over our grades and salaries more than the salvation of the lost? May I propose that our relationship with God is lacking. We fail to listen and don't understand why he isn't speaking. What is our priority today? Is the station of our heart tuned in to his, or is the static of this world weakening the signal? Perhaps we need to become familiar with his voice once again by reading the words he has written to our hearts through the Bible.

May this be our cry! “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. I am a stranger on earth; do not hide your commands from me. My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times.” (Psalm 119:18-20)

“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4)

“All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:16-17)