The church-god I envisioned as a child, and even during the early years of my ministry, is nothing like the Father I have come to know in recent years.
I’ve changed a lot over the years in many ways. Maybe the way I’ve changed the most is centered on how I see God. The church-god I envisioned as a child, and even during the early years of my ministry, is nothing like the Father I have come to know in recent years.
It’s true that God never changes. He really is the same yesterday, today and forever. But as the barnacles of the rigorous, rules-keeping, regimented religion of my yesteryears have been scraped away by the growing revelation of His outrageous love, I’ve come to see Him in a different light than I ever knew in my past.
God, Jesus And the Holy Spirit
I grew up seeing God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit as a team who each had their own unique perspective and approach to me. My view was that God hated sin and, since that was one thing I was good at doing, I needed help to know how to keep Him at bay. That’s where the Holy Spirit came in. His role was to come to me and tell me in no uncertain terms to “stop it!” Sometimes He would use feelings of guilt and shame. At other times He would sternly remind me that God brought me into this world and He could just as easily take me out if I didn’t straighten up and fly right.
Then came Jesus. My view was that He came to keep God from doing what He was itching to do – zap me. I felt like God had one last nerve and I had gotten on it. Jesus was there to shush God when He was about to go off on me by holding up His hands and saying, “Father, remember, – the scars, the scars!” “Oh, yeah,” God would say and then He would calm down for a while until I royally screwed up again and it became necessary for Jesus to repeat the whole thing.
Is it any wonder I had trouble feeling intimacy with God? The sad thing is that I don’t think my perspective was unique. I meet many people today who still believe that there is somehow a dichotomy between the Father and Son when it comes to their acceptance of us. Many think that the Father is the nervous, on-edge type, and that Jesus is the One who sits by His right hand to calm Him down. The Holy Spirit? They see Him as the behavior-policeman.
They’re All on the Same Team
In reality, it’s not like that at all. The good news is that, contrary to what many believe, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are really all on the same team. There has never been one moment when they weren’t of the same mind and heart toward you.
In the inner sanctum that exists between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, there has always been nothing less than a loving intimacy that defies human definition or even description. Think of the most passionate and tender and touching and enduring love-relationship you’ve ever had with another person in this world. Multiply it by an infinite number and you won’t even begin to get close to the love shared among the Trinity.
The amazing news of the Gospel of grace is that this divine dance isn’t a closed party. Their love is so great that it’s too big to be contained and too intense to be restrained. So the Trinity threw the doors of this private club wide open at the cross and cried out across time and eternity, calling in “the poor and maimed and blind and lame.”
They’re All on Your Side
The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost all see things the same way, do things the same way and see you the same way. They’re all on your side. There’s a party going on right now and, by His grace, you’re in.
Is that how you see God? I hope so, because it’s true. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit love you and want you to relax and enjoy the party. That’s what abundant living is all about.