Over the last three months I’ve been wrestling with how our knowledge of God affects how deeply we relate to Him. Now some of us have a head full of information but lack the revelation that the apostle Paul prays about in Ephesians 1:17, “… may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation,so that you may know him better.”
This was my battle for many years as a Christ follower. I knew Him in my head but never had that Spirit of Adoption moment. Well that eventually came and changed how I related to God the Father. Before hand I related to God as a son who had to perform, work, and be perfect in every way. Obviously this was just a projection of my relationship with my earthly father. He was, as I’ve stated in previous post, hard to please. Because I had never experienced grace as a child growing up and had learned that everything had to be earned I struggled for a long time to get my arms around the whole idea of God’s grace.
If you read Matthew 16:13-20 you’ll see Jesus respond to Peter’s answer to his question “But who do you say I am?” with these words. “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.”
The accurate knowledge of Jesus and the Father revealed by the Spirit releases us to live as a people that can receive grace. When this revelation comes all striving to please because we believe we have to deserve or earn our way into God’s Heart lose power to disable us. We begin to live as free men and women. Men and women that know with deep assurance that Our Father delights in us even when we prostitute ourselves to the things of this world (Read the Book of Hosea if you want to understand what I mean).
But dear ones it saddens me to tell you that this is where the church in America is most deficient. So many of us lack depth in our understanding to the personality of God. A leader in the midwest writes that “this is the most prized possession of the Kingdom but it is also the most neglected.” My experience in almost thirty years of ministry has shown these words to be true. I see it in so many people that I minister to, pray with and counsel.
You ask people how they view God and they will share words like absent, disappointed, distant, harsh, critical, etc. No wonder so many of us lack intimacy with the Father. Our view of him is broken and this makes it difficult to approach Him. If we cannot approach him it makes it difficult to receive His grace. This disables us in so many ways in all areas of our faith to live out of that Vine, branch union that the Gospel of John writes about.
Without that knowledge of God as a Father that loves us, we will take our pain to lesser gods to find comfort for our pain. This was key in my healing in the area of my addictions. Learning to go “the way of the cross” with my pain, grief and loss. Realizing I had a place to take my pain from my past and present freed me to no longer bow the knee to the idol gods I had worshipped for many years. My friend Andy calls it “death unto resurrection.” Admitting weakness and then allowing God to bring His power to raise me up to stand cleansed from my shame, sin and pain. Its like taking a “spiritual shower.” Weakness, repentance, and confession can do a body good!
Previous to the revelation of the Father’s heart to me I’d confess my sin and beat myself up, condemning myself to the grave. Or my pain was temporarily comforted by acting out with porn.
But what a treasure it was to discover the Father’s heart toward me is one of love, grace and mercy. When the Spirit reveals that to us we “hasten to His throne” to receive His loving and healing words.
If you realize you have an inadequate understanding or wrong fear of God the Father I pray that God the Holy Spirit would come and remove the scales from your eyes so you might behold Him in all His beauty and majesty.