Most everyone acknowledges that God is the “Eternal Spirit.” Scripture describes Him as omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, and invisible. In other words, the Spirit of God is always present, all-powerful, all-knowing, and is not contained by natural forms. With such unnatural characteristics, God can appear to be unrelatable. Yet, just the opposite is true; the Eternal is very relational!
You see, a deposit of God’s Spirit is in every person, usually referred to as the ‘spirit of life’. When our spirit – breath of life departs, “our body returns to dust and our spirit returns to God.” (a) [see endnotes for NASB Scriptures] All humans are offspring of God no matter how they worship. (b) Since a deposit of the Eternal is within each of us, we all have the ability to relate to Him. So, how should we relate to God?
Perceptions of God
Everyone is born into this life to live in the “image and likeness” of God. (c) We are all designed to “reflect His image as a mirror” and “resemble His likeness as a child.” Considering we are extensions of our heavenly Father, how well do we understand and relate to Him?
Our misguided perception of God began developing in the Garden of Eden when our first parents chose to ignore Him. It formed a fear of punishment. Their perception has haunted mankind ever since. We still think of God as an angry king and a fearful lord. Our perception of God’s temperament and motives affect how we reflect and resemble Him. The harsh idea has produced many tyrannical kings and overlords.
Despite our perceptions, Scripture is clear about God’s core nature: “God is light…God is love.” (d) Consequently, His actions and expressions are loving and enlightening, void of any dark perceptions like disdain, hatred and contempt. (e) The Eternal One “is not like men” (f) who shift between “productive good and destructive evil.” He does not experience a lapse of memory nor can He fall in or out of love.
The Eternal is long-suffering, forgiving, and lovingly dedicated to the maturing growth of all His offspring. We are told in Scripture: “For neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (g) His love is enduring and inexhaustible!
The Apostle Paul amplified how God’s love for us is not even influenced by our response: “What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it? May it never be! Rather let God be found true, though every man be found a liar.” (h) God is not impatient or condemning as though our lack of response could affect His enduring love, for “Nothing can separate us from His love.” (i) The Eternal remains the same and invites us to interact with Him and become more like His heart during this life!
God’s love is enduring and inexhaustible!
The Great Commission
The character, attitude and personality (CAP) traits we believe are in God, influence each of us, even the person we are becoming. What we think of God, right or wrong, inspires the way we live. Scripture describes God’s expressive CAP qualities that we are to absorb as “spiritual fruit.”
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” (j)
These fruits of the Spirit of God identify the type and quality of expressions that originate in and come from The Eternal One. These fruitful attributes convey and demonstrate His attitude toward us. We are encouraged to personally “walk by the Spirit” and display these godly attitudes.
How well are we perceiving and putting “on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other”? (k) Do people recognize these spiritual qualities in our words and in the tone of our expressions or are we coming up short and missing the mark?
We can ignore God and live as a Prodigal, wasting what our heavenly Father has given us (l) or we can be more responsive to His guidance and live as beloved and cherished children. (m) However, God-in-Christ promises to “never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.” (n) While we can walk away, God’s presence remains steadfast and reliable. His loving support still abides with us today. Let us partake of the good and godly life that is available.
We are given guidelines for sharing this Good News about God and the quality of life He offers. One of the last instructions Jesus gave his followers is called The Great Commission. In the directive, Jesus said: “Go and disciple all nations, baptizing them into the name (identity) of God-in-Christ.” (o) The Greek word translated ‘disciple’ means: to learn, become attached to, and follow. The word ‘baptize’ means “covering immersion” so good absorption can occur. More than a one-time event, we are to be immersing ourselves and others in God’s presence often, so we absorb more and become better testimonies of His CAP.
What we think of God, right or wrong, inspires the way we live.
Building Up Faith
We want to be so close and interactive with our heavenly Father that our attitude resembles His and attracts others into this way of life. Paul encourages us to follow God-in-Christ as he did: “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” (p) Here are a few of the many times Paul instructs us to encourage, strengthen and build-up one another’s faith in God and our faithful response to Him.
- Let all things be done for edification (building up). (q)
- Comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word. (r)
- Strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble. (s)
- Encourage one another and build up one another…encourage the fainthearted. (t)
- Pursue… the building up of one another. (u)
- You also are being built together into a dwelling of God. (v)
So, how do we encourage, strengthen and build-up one another’s faith? First, we must personally pursue the presence of God so our words and lives are examples of the Good News that God has forgiven us. We are free to accept and arise from our slumber, to improve and learn to live as maturing expressions of God.
To clarify: we encourage one another to have faith in God, we strengthen each other by lovingly supporting faith and we build up each other by adding to and fortifying one another’s faithful response.
Biblical faith is more than a belief system or set of rules. Scripture defines faith as: “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (w) In other words, faith comes as we tune into what the unseen God is saying and desiring to do, with a confident agreement! This is why Scripture says “Faith comes from hearing…the word of Christ” (x) and “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” (y) How well are we listening, hearing, and walking in step with God’s guidance?
We can best relate to God by interacting with His presence and paying attention to His guidance. Then our conversations are less argumentative and become more encouraging discussions. It is during these types of interactions the enlightening presence of Jesus tends to appear in our midst. (z)
Our illustrations of God’s loving light enables our families to experience more forgiving love and live in more peaceful security. Even our businesses tend to thrive because of Christ-like leadership. How can you build up the faith of your family members, friends or foes this week? We encourage you to step out in faith and see how God uses you in those moments.
We can best relate to God by interacting with His presence and paying attention to His guidance.