God created this Earth as a natural environment and a place for us to begin our existence as extensions of His life. Everyone is endowed with the Spirit (breath) of God which makes each person offspring of God. We are intended to grow, develop and mature as children of God. (a) [see end notes for scripture]
Despite some perceptions, God is not a tyrant, dictator, or restricting overlord that demands we be or act in certain ways. He doesn’t punish us when we make mistakes. This is man’s way of control, not God’s. Most of our errors produce their own ill results. Rather than force us, God offers insight to lead and guide us through this life’s process.
So how does God rule and reign in our lives?
God is our kind, caring, and compassionate Father. While this is echoed in many ways through most books of the Bible, the Psalms of David declare at least twenty four times: “God’s loving kindness is everlasting.” As our heavenly Father, God’s eternal love and care for us is unending. I am truly amazed at the magnitude of this thought!
For a garden like life, God planted a “Tree of Knowledge” in the center of Eden alongside the “Tree of Life” as sources of wisdom. (b) The wisdom gained from natural experience is a mix of “good and evil” which brings a combination of both productive ‘and’ destructive results. Most every good and bad change both good and bad brings an end to what was previous. The wisdom we receive from God’s life giving words however produces “more abundant life” in us. (c)
God’s caution regarding the tree of knowledge was: “In the time you partake of that fruitful perception, you will be dying.” (d) The Hebrew text clearly speaks of an ongoing condition, not an event. Man’s error was choosing to ignore God and focus only on wisdom gained from nature. As a result, their intimate relationship with God suffered a deathly hit and fear twisted their perceptions of Him. In their confusion, they hid from God in the natural environment.
We want to understand that no one is fully fleshly or heavenly minded during this life. We all bounce between carnal and spiritual perceptions. (e) Since we are designed to live in this earth, a degree of carnal thinking is appropriate. We can learn much from natural experience.
As our heavenly Father, God’s eternal love and care for us is unending.
Freedom to Follow His Guidance
God knows we are all in the process of accepting His guidance and becoming more responsive to the insights He provides. We are still awakening from our deathly sleep and arising from our relational inactivity; “Destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God…taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” (f)
Each of us has the freedom to accept or reject an active relationship with God. We can learn to be godly people in some areas of life and not in others. We are free to error and in repentance arise in the empowering grace of forgiveness to become better people.
In this life, we only reach some degrees of purity and levels of perfection. Each day we can rise from our sleeping slumber and enter the activity of the day anew, pursuing the better that is available. During this life, we must deal with the absence of Light and the lack of Love in each other. Nevertheless, we learn to walk daily in God’s Light, here a little and there a little more.
Our thoughts and perceptions of God and His ways have a tremendous effect on our maturing growth. While God is our Lord and King, we want to see Him more as our loving and caring Father. When we approach God like Jesus did, as children seeking our heavenly Father’s guidance, (g) we experience the enabling intimacy God desires to have with us.
Our thoughts and perceptions of God and His ways have a tremendous effect on our maturing growth.
Partaking of His CAP
As we learn to be responsive to God’s guidance, our spiritual life is enriched ‘and’ our natural life improves. Our focus on absorbing the perspectives of Jesus Christ as the character, attitude, and personality (CAP) of God adds value to most every aspect of our life. Our natural ‘and’ spiritual sensitivities enable us to more appropriately value all our relationships, with God and man.
Our interaction with God enables us to partake of His CAP and become better expressions of the “Fruit of Spirit…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…let us also walk by the spirit.” (h)
As developing children who partake of God’s perspective, we become more disciplined in His ways and mannerisms. His Light is able to shine through our words and life examples. Some days we may shine well while at times we can come up a bit short.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Hebrew-mature).” (i)
So how does God rule and reign in our lives? As we give ourselves to God’s influencing guidance, our imperfect reflections and resemblances (image and likeness) of Him improves and matures. As we shine, our families, communities and countries are blessed and God is glorified.
When we give ourselves to God’s guidance and “learn of Him,” (j) we override our enslavement to death’s perception (fearfulness) and we are able to walk in newness of life. Our ongoing response to the reign of God keeps us: “be-being saved – as unto the end,” (k) maturing into a more enhanced life.
His Light is able to shine through our words and life examples.
a) Acts 17:22-29; John 1:12; 1 Corinthians 14:20; Ephesians 4:13; b) Genesis 2:9; 3:6; c) John 10:10; 6:63; d) Genesis 2:17; e) 1 John 4:6; f) 2 Corinthians 10:5; g) John 14:6; h) Galatians 5:22-25; i) Romans 12:2; j) Matthew 11:29; Ephesians 4:20-25; k) Matthew 24:13