Colossians 3:4 TPT And as Christ himself is seen for who he really is, who you really are will also be revealed, for you are now one with him in his glory!
Let’s spend a few moments pondering a very important question. Do we relate with and connect with Jesus in our heart as a Person? Or as a concept, somewhat distant – one we may know a fair bit about – and have a vague sense of feeling familiar with. Enough to conclude, “I sort of know Him.” Let’s process this a bit further – think about the last time you spent time with one of your kids, perhaps you tucked them into bed and turned out the light. Remember that feeling that filled your heart? That feeling of a mother or father, filled with warm love and appreciation for this little one who just grabbed you around the neck and hugged you as they sloppily kissed you goodnight. Think about that special feeling that filled your heart. Now ask yourself if you experience those feelings and emotions when you spend time with Jesus – are you relating to Him as a Person, your heart filled with the incredible emotion of His love for you, and yours for Him? Or would you truthfully admit – no, that sounds wonderful but that is not how I consistently experience Him. I would like to have a connection like that, but this doesn’t describe my experience with Him. Sadly, that was my answer for most of my years as a believer, until a few years ago.
It wasn’t from lack of desire, I had amassed a ton of knowledge about God (which by the way felt like a heavy burden I dragged around, due to my inability to “make it work.”) And I faithfully read the scriptures, and yes, both they and He were familiar. But I wasn’t able to move all that into my heart – although I desperately wished I could. The passageway between my head and my heart remained disconnected – or blocked – the reason undiscovered. And I remained stuck, mired in my feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness, painfully aware of my lack of value – living life from this perception of my identity. It sounds hopeless doesn’t it?
I learned things are never without hope when God is a part of our lives. It may take us awhile to get there but HE is RELENTLESS! Hebrews 11:6 says “And without faith living within us it would be impossible to please God. For we come to God in faith knowing that he is real and that he rewards the faith of those who passionately seek him.” Determined not to leave this earth in the state I was in, I made a decision to seek Him with a renewed passion. And the rewards began to come.
A very respected Bible teacher wisely taught “You will never hear what you are not willing to obey.” I remember how defensive and frustrated I felt when I heard this. What was I not willing to obey? The truth was it was what I would not accept and obey! I had never been willing to accept the Father loved me as much as He did. How could He, after a lifetime of failure after failure, and miserably failing to meet the expectations of all the important people in my life? How many of us attach our worth to performance? Our minds may be clear that God’s love is not attached to our performance, but do our hearts believe it? Clearly, mine did not.
There were a few giant sized boulders that had to be knocked out of my belief system in order for me to choose to intentionally focus on what the Bible says about Who God is. Have you ever heard someone say (or perhaps you have heard yourself say) “oh well, God is in control?” If I may be honest this statement had always left me confused – in a state of cognitive dissonance. When I looked at the world, the suffering, the tragedies, and tried to reconcile that with a God Who was in control, well, I never did get there. Fortunately, through some excellent workshops, the clouds cleared and the sun shone on a scriptural truth that moved one of those big boulders aside. As I studied the opening chapters of Genesis, and Psalm 8, I discovered God is not in control of our planet – He has delegated His authority to us – mankind. He is sovereign, and He is certainly powerful and could take control, but if He did, He would be going against His own word. He has given us free will and He will not ever, under any circumstances override our free will. We are in control. He faithfully draws us to the paths that lead to good and godly outcomes, but ultimately the choice is ours. Every outcome man is experiencing is a direct result of the choices we have made. Instead of blaming God and misrepresenting His character, we are to take personal responsibility for either choosing to live in harmony with His righteous ways or seeking to satisfy our flesh through the ways of the world. This led me to another doctrinal teaching which in my opinion may be responsible more than any other for misrepresenting God’s character, causing many to turn their backs on Him. This is the doctrinal teaching that God brings suffering (or allows it) to teach us – using it as a form of behavior modification. As I sought, through the scriptures, to understand God’s character, by studying His Names and focusing on the life Jesus modelled here on earth, I could not find any evidence this was true. Not once did Jesus break someone’s arm to teach them a lesson. Nor would we bring harm to our children to teach them. God allows us to suffer consequences and so we should allow our children to learn through consequences. But we would never bring them suffering or harm to teach them. When these two doctrinal errors were brought into the light, the bridge of trust formed in my heart, enabling me to have a more accurate understanding of God and to accept Him as He is. As I meditated on His Names, I opened my heart to experience Him as my Jehovah Tsidkenu (Jesus my Righteousness,) Jehovah M’Kadesh (Jesus my Sanctifier,) Jehovah Rohi (Jesus my Shephard,) Jehovah Rophe (Jesus my Healer,) Jehovah Shalom (Jesus my Peace, Rest, Safety and Security,) Jehovah Shammah (Jesus is Present,) Jehovah Jireh (Jesus my Provider) and Jehovah Nissi (Jesus my Banner). I spent many hours on the deck overlooking the Minas Basin, unashamedly weeping as I would close my eyes and picture myself with Him – His righteousness filling me, surrounding me, incredible emotion exploding within my heart. I did this with each of His Names, experiencing each aspect of His character from a heart level, as my understanding of His love grew. As my heart became persuaded of Who He is, I began to understand and experience Him as He truly is. Probably for the first time in my life, I was filled with the incredible sense of my innocence being restored and a burdensome weight gone – no longer present. I felt light, purified and clean. And as my opening scripture states, I began to learn who I was. I recently was studying a scripture with the word “blessed.” I looked it up in the original language and was shocked to discover it meant “joined to the Names of God.”
Experiencing His love, opening our hearts to receive it, joining ourselves to Him, and becoming one with Him, completely changes and transforms our lives. When we discover that our focus needs to be completely on Him, and intentionally choose to move it away from ourselves, regardless of our past failures and sin, we begin the journey of permanent transformation. I finally realized it had nothing to do with me and everything to do with Him – His very Being and Person that I could know! His Finished Work on the Cross – His death, burial and resurrection – has covered it all – there is a great exchange and there is nothing I can add to it – every requirement has been fulfilled.
It has been a process of willingly and intentionally creating the awareness that enables me to identify my faulty heart beliefs – and one by one sending them away, replacing them and persuading my heart with the truth of Who He is, and who I am in Him! I have never felt so loved, so accepted, so whole and complete as I do today. My heart is in a place of peace where I seek to hear and know His Voice, His leading and guidance, as He provides everything I need for life and godliness. It is a place where we joyfully connect, bringing our desire for one another, our love for each other and where I experience His righteousness – as it should be!
Thank you for sharing my journey with me. I hope you will join me again as I share how learning about personal responsibility has liberated me – and everyone around me! Much love and many blessings!