Message for Your Spiritual Leaders
A little bit different slant to a very important topic, the development and maturing of your relationship with God Almighty.
A little bit different slant to a very important topic, the development and maturing of your relationship with God Almighty.
John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
Eternal life is knowing God … what this means for our journey on this earth.
Psalm 111:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.
Feelings can be VERY misleading. Our feelings are based on what we believe and know at the moment. One area they can be incredibly misleading is in regards to our connection with God; especially for those who haven’t diligently sought God in truth and spirit. Feelings like God doesn’t care, He is distant, seeking Him doesn’t matter, and reading the Bible doesn’t matter. We have to fight and disregard these type of feelings when it comes to seeking God, which can be difficult. However, for those who fight through those emotions and continue to seek, they find a relationship with God far beyond their expectations, thus a life beyond their imaginations for He is life.
As in the verse above, those who do God’s commandments from their core are those who have pushed through contrary emotions and have discovered a deeper wisdom and knowledge. They’ve learned that the paths to abundant eternal life are walking in God’s ways and not their own. They’ve learned that all else is lies and deception that lead you further from what you desire instead of closer. Thus, they willing and desire to walk in God’s ways and truth and are driven to keep pushing deeper into Him.
We start out in this life following our own will, which is formulated by the world’s (culture, society, traditions, etc) concepts. From birth, we’re consumed by this world and its philosophies therefore that is what we own as truth and live by. But as we seek God in spirit and truth, we gain an altogether different understanding. We see not only the truth of God, but also the truth of our own lives and what we are truly manifesting by following our will. We start to see that when we are in “control” we manifest depravity and not the life we desire. We begin to see when God is in control of us He brings about every perfect gift and blessing.
It’s hard for people to seek God, to truly devote to seeking Him as He calls us to. We’ve been misled to believe that His paths aren’t really full of life, but hardship, depravity and loss when in reality it’s our ways that bring these afflictions. It’s all backwards. Further, we look at others who are supposedly following God and judge God and a life with Him by their lives, a HUGE mistake most of the time. Many people aren’t truly seeking and walking in God’s truth. They are following a man-made religion, not God. They don’t truly seek and therefore in lack of truth and knowing cling to their self-will of depravity.
Only when the God is truly YOUR God, meaning He is in charge and you are at rest, do you journey His paths of truth leading to abundant life, in the deepest and fullest sense. When you do, the life you live far exceeds your expectations. Eph 3:20
While most never traverse this path, because the lies they hold about God that keep them at bay, some do. Matt 22:14 For those who come to the point to dare to seek God as they feel a stirring that there is much more, they seek and continue to seek despite what they initially feel. They seek in spite of the fear of losing their lives, of losing control, and what their lives might become once they step into God’s domain. They seek regardless of not wanting to at times because they are buried in lies that a life with God is anything less than magnificent.
Those who actually do His commands, (not the religious commands governed by mere humans Matthew 15:8-9), are those who have sought and understand the Truth of God. They understand that God’s way is the only desirous way, yes desirous. And it’s actually not their own will, but God’s light and truth pouring through them as they’ve become united to God’s will by laying down their own.
I’ve traversed this journey, I fought against what I felt many times and continued to seek God. I have the before and after pictures of my life and the afters blow my mind. I know His ways are better, my life is a testimony to me.
This newness of life fuels my passion to encourage you to seek and persist in seeking. God’s gifts are like a consuming ocean, more than we could ever want. The more others have of this true life blesses my spirit all the more. There is nothing more important than seeking first God’s kingdom and His righteousness. Matthew 6:33
Seek and persist regardless of what or how you feel. It’s the path of life that’s met with much resistance in this world. Realize this conflict as you embark upon this journey. Don’t trust your feelings. Trust if you seek you will find. Meditate on God’s truth and promises. You have nothing to lose; and everything to gain. For those who persist in seeking God in His truth, there awaits in this life, unspeakable joy, purpose and blessing.
The Path Found by Few
Shrouded in a cloak of lies
Hoping in what only binds
Trusting in what won’t deliver
The deepest desires cast to a sliver
An existence governed by strife
Hoping, yet never bringing true life
It’s a faulty assumption of hope
That self-will brings what you grope
There’s a way out
Clouded by doubt
That looks like depravity
Yet holds true vitality
To walk God’s paths leaving your own
Is the only way to be full grown
To be the budding vine
Is to be enraptured with His wine
To drink from the heavenly fountain
To rise to His Holy mountain
It’s narrow and disguised
This path out of the lies
But for those who dare to walk
Enter into His sacred flock
The home of all they hold dear
A place without pain, angst or fear
Flowing streams of life abound
Watering the soul to be unbound
Now covered now garments of light
Transformed and entering endless heights
~ Rachel DiPaolo
September 7, 2011
A PODCAST (click here to listen) is available on the deeper meaning of fasting you often don’t hear discussed. You can also get it at Itunes. Search for Stirring the Deep under podcasts.
Overview: Fasting is an area that is greatly misunderstood and misused. When we understand the spiritual implications behind it, then it has tremendous power in our lives.
Here I discuss this act and the spiritual depth and meaning behind it. I hope this explains unanswered questions about it. Hint: it’s much more than not eating.
Now, unlike any time before, is the time for God’s elect, those who are united to God in truth and spirit, to pray for the deliverance of the souls of others.
In Job 42, God had “accepted” Job because he saw his true self, and in that awareness he repented and turned to God. After coming through the refining trials and continuing to cling to God and the truth, Job finally saw God. He knew Him. Job 42:5-6 Because of the new spirit within Job, God told Job’s friends to go to Job and have him pray for them because He had “accepted” Job. Job 42:7-9 God would hear Job’s prayers.
Why have the elect pray on others’ behalves? They have traversed a journey like Job’s. Like Job, they have passed through the refining trials. As they’ve clung to the truth through them (very important element), they’ve come to a point of “seeing” themselves and God. This awareness has led to a deep repentance at their core, which has affected every area of their lives. As a result, their will is submitted to God’s, and they hold the Spirit of God, the spirit of truth, in them as a new creation. Their lives are a testimony to them of God’s spirit in them. 2 Corinthians 5:5
In being united to God, they abide in God’s truth and are constantly going deeper into it. They put it above all else. Psalm 138:2 They abide in it daily. They desire to obey the truth and be completely consumed by God. That truth in them has sanctified them and prepared them to be powerfully used by God. And because they hold God’s truth, they pray in unison with it.
Connection Between God’s Word and Prayer
Often people dismiss the connection between abiding in the Word of God (truth) and prayer. But the two go hand in hand. If you turn from God’s truth then your prayers lack power. In Proverbs 28:9 it says they not only lack power, but they are an abomination. One, truth reveals who you truly are and who God is. Only when you honestly know both can you repent of one and turn to the other. Two, if you don’t seek and abide in truth then you don’t know God for He is truth. So if you don’t truly know God, who are you praying to? 1 John 5:19
Once through the refining trials and filled with God’s spirit of truth, a person’s prayers have tremendous power. In Revelation 19, Christ, called the Word of God, comes with His saints to conquer. His method of conquering? The sword that comes out of His mouth; His Word, truth. God’s words have power. By them He creates and destroys. Those filled with His Word, hold its power. May we not underestimate the power of it and neglect the Word and the significance of prayers spoken in line with it.
Now God is very merciful. Truth and mercy go hand in hand – thank goodness. Someone who is seeking God in truth, but immature in their understanding of the God and His ways as they progress through the refining trials, probably aren’t praying in line with God’s will. They are unknowingly praying against God’s will, and they don’t really know what is good. But their heart is to know God and their seeking testifies to that fact. Graciously, the Holy Spirit prays on their behalf as they don’t know what to pray. This is why at times they feel their prayers aren’t answered. God isn’t answering them as they expect because of His love. If He did ramifications would be harmful. This is what Satan does, he gives someone what he superficially wants yet it’s to his destruction. God gives you what is best for you, and as you learn in time it’s what you truly desire.
As a young believer continues to abide in the Word and the instruction of the Holy Spirit, they come to better understand God’s will and pray more in line with it, though the Holy Spirit is always interceding to some degree for God’s people because there is always more to learn.
Conversely, for those who have willingly NOT abided in the Word, their prayers lack power. They’ve been misled by false teachers and religious doctrine that abiding in the Word and diligently seeking God by feasting on His truth daily isn’t that important. As a result their prayers are without strength no matter how good they may appear. Matthew 7:22-23 (Though God still shows them mercy in their lives.)
Powerful prayer comes from knowing God and being united to Him in truth and Spirit. It’s then that your heart, mind and spirit are truly united to Him.
John 15:7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
Call To The Elect
In Revelation 11, the two witnesses (the two groups of believers, the two lampstands whose light wasn’t removed, who aren’t bound by local institutions, denominations, or titles) stand before God. Their words have tremendous power. Revelation 11:5-6 They intimately know God. They know His truth. They walk in it. They’ve been purified by it. John 17:17. They’ve honored God’s command by doing what He has instructed; know Him, seek Him, abide and mediate on His pure Word that comes from Him. Revelation 2-3 Thus their words and prayers have tremendous power.
God is calling these elect to pray on others’ behalves. They are able to pray in a power and a manner that those consumed in darkness (lies and deception) cannot. God is using them to deliver many because of His great love for ALL His children. God is longsuffering, patient, and waiting for people to truly repent from following self and turn to Him. He doesn’t want any to perish. Because it’s God who saves, prayers are needed by those accepted by Him to pray to have mercy upon souls bound in darkness. Revelation 6:10-11
Do you see the difference of the power of those who are truly of God, who have His Word abiding in them, and who pray in line with His will? In God’s holiness, God’s elect need to pray to an extent that others cannot. Now is the time to pray; to pray for God’s truth to penetrate others’ lives, for their souls to be united to God’s in truth and Spirit, and for God to have mercy.
James 5:16 Confess your trespasses to one another (and forsake them), and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
John 14:21 “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
What would you do for your children and grandchildren? What acts/behaviors would you do for their well-being, joy and safety? What would you do to be closely united to them? Why do you do what you do?
You do what you do, because you love them. This faithfulness to them is an act of obedience. It doesn’t feel like obedience because normally we associate that gritty word with acts we don’t want to do but should. But when it comes to our kids, we want to “do what’s right” because we love them so it doesn’t feel like obedience.
Now take that mindset and apply it to God. We desire to do His will because we love Him. When we know God to a certain depth; His truth, goodness, freedom, peace, rest, joy which are all consumed in love, then we want nothing more than to be united to Him. He is life. He is love. He is the home of our desires. He is our great reward. He is our portion. We desire as much unity as possible, so we strive to walk His paths (obedience) so that we walk with Him.
Love is based on truth; not assumptions or lies because then there is no true bond. It would be all imaginary. Therefore, an aspect of true love is we don’t assume we know what pleases another; we want to make sure we know, therefore we seek. We want to know what brings another joy and delight. We want to know what will foster a deeper purer union. When we do and we act upon that knowledge, then the union solidifies because we are walking within an oneness of will and mind.
When we truly love God or want to love Him, we desire to know Him and His will. We don’t want ignorance, fears or anything else to separate us from Him; therefore we seek. We long to be as close as possible to God even to walk in His footsteps. Therefore we seek the truth of His will in the Bible with the instruction of the Holy Spirit and walk in that will. It’s our utmost desire because of the love we feel.
How can we do what we don’t know? How can we know without seeking? If we truly are desiring unity with God we will seek to know Him. We will have a passion and hunger for His truth so we can walk in unity with Him.
As we draw near in truth, we begin to surrender to whatever God’s will may be because of His inherent perfection. We fight any compulsion to hold back because we’ve experienced and know His goodness. When you know His goodness and love, you can let go and trust.
Therefore, obedience is the fruit of love, or love in action. It’s the result of knowing God and His truth finding its home in our soul. If we are seeking a true union with God, then we will desire to obey. Our life will show the fruit of that obedience. Faith (belief in and love of God) without works (walking in His truths) is dead. If there is no fruit of walking in His truth, then the truth isn’t in us.
Salvation comes by grace. A testimony that we understand this gift given to us is obedience. Salvation came from God that we might be united to Him. If we aren’t fostering unity in cultivating a deep and real relationship, we missed the whole point of that saving grace. Our heart to walk the path of life that fosters unity with God reveals our understanding of the grace we’ve been shown. It isn’t self-imposed obedience that anyone could do that testifies to our awareness. It’s the flowing desire to want to obey and walk in God’s truth because that truth is in us. Heart-motivated obedience comes from God’s spirit within us.
If you feel resistance to walking in God’s will, then you simply need to know God deeper. When you seek to know Him with all your heart, soul and mind you will encounter His magnificent love and goodness and in return you will love Him and desire Him to a point of being consumed. Therefore to be united to God in love begins by seeking to know Him personally, deeply. God desires you to be in a bond of love with Him that deepens with obedience. Seek Him in truth by abiding in the Bible with the instruction of the Holy Spirit. As you draw near you will know and abide in His love. In time, you will desire to walk in His will because you know of His goodness and that doing so enhances your union with Him.
This obedience is the kind God desires; an obedience driven by love.
John 14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”
John 15:10 “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”
I’m discovering when you dive into the issues, fears, bad choices, and unhealthy behaviors of people, the core cause is a lack of inherent value, which comes from a feeling of rejection.
I’m beginning to think this core issue (which has many faces) is the black hole in each one of our souls, which the only remedy is oneness with God.
At birth, Our Creator, the One who matters above all, is disconnected from us because of the sin nature we are born into. In this disconnect, we experience a sense of rejection that breeds a lack of value. (Deep unchanging value comes from God. A fullness and completeness of us comes by being connected to Him.)
However, this gap between God and us isn’t our intended state. We were created to be one with God in a bond of love. But because of our corruption that comes from choosing self over Him, we are rejected. God can’t be united to that which isn’t holy, for He is holy. That self-seeking aspect of us that leads us to follow self verses God is the sin that was passed along through Adam. He chose to follow himself and do what he thought best instead of walk in unity with God. Thus, he severed the bond with God and was cast out of His presence. Because we are all connected, that corrupted state is a part of us.
To our further destruction, we spend our lives trying to fill that void with everything but God. The world, governed by the first one to reject God and go his own way (Lucifer), offers a smorgasbord of lies promising to fill that vast hole. They are empty vanities of how we can gain the value we desperately need to rid ourselves of that feeling of rejection. Relationships, sex, lust, goodness, self-righteousness, the perfect parents, children who love us, success, financial wealth, perfect bodies, power, perfect health, fame, control, and so on.
In trying to fill this void and suppress the feeling of rejection, we develop all kinds of bad habits to “protect” ourselves and gain value. We build walls, lash out to control others, manipulate emotionally, withdraw from others, and become people pleasers. We become slaves to others brokenness as we try to earn approval and acceptance. We stomp on others to make ourselves stronger. We become addicted to substances/things to subdue our feelings. We surround ourselves with people trying to fill the void, yet remain completely alone.
The only way to remedy our state is to be reconciled to the One by which that void was created, God. All those other things can’t accomplish what we desire, because they can’t. God loves us. He wants us to be reconciled back to Him as He showed us through Christ Jesus.
Only through Christ, our eternal forgiveness and reconciliation, is the pathway to God opened. However, Jesus is only the door. To find deliverance from the destruction we created and oneness, we have to journey into gate and into God’s presence. By abiding in God’s presence, (seeking His face to know Him and be one with Him), we are put on a path of healing and restoration for our souls. We experience God and His love. We understand how our ways lead to death and how His lead to life and the fulfillment and satisfaction of our souls. Through this journey, we chose God above all else.
Having spent our lives trying to obtain value from all these other sources, it takes time to develop a relationship with God that is strong enough to trust Him to let go of all these other things. Though they haven’t worked, we hold onto the hope that they do, because the world tells us they do. We have to intimately know God to the extent to be able to truly turn from all that we have held on to, thus turn from self (true repentance) and be deeply rooted to Him, nothing else.
God wants nothing to fill that void but Him because only He can. He created us to be in a bond of love with Him, therefore nothing else will suffice. Anything else is an idol, which is full of empty hope. God is offering Himself to us; we only need to embrace Him in truth and spirit.
In theory, turning from self and embracing God sounds easy. I’ve found it isn’t. The path to oneness with God is narrow and few find it, because the multitude of lies in this world that tells us the contrary. It’s a journey that has to be walked with God one-on-one. No one can do it for us. We can’t do it by listening to others talk about it or talk about God. Others can only point the way. We have to spend time with God like someone we love. Though this process we get to know Him, so we can trust Him and let go of everything we tried to use to fill that void and be united to Him. In giving up the empty hopes, what we lose is the superficial temple we built trying to find our own glory. What we gain is who we were created to be as one united to God.
Dig deep into God. What are those things that you are defining yourself by? Those things you are trying to fill that void with? Seek God to know Him as He is. In time, you will start letting all vanity to embrace the One who can fill you as you desire.
In this society, we’ve been conditioned to be handed things with instant gratification. (money – credit cards, food – McDonald’s, necessities – Walmart, relationships – Facebook, success – network marketing). We’re being taught and conditioned to this mindset. This mentality has become foundational to the church system – people tell you who God is and what God wants from you; then you do it.
Being a part of organized religion is often a first step for many of us, because we don’t know what else to do. So we follow what others tell us to do. But some of us come to a place where we sense there is “more”. And a restless awakens our hearts to seek after that “more” we are being called to and often that means moving beyond the boundaries of organized religion.
In organized religion as a whole, instead of you seeking to deeply know God, you are handed a pre-packaged God; a package deal of say a prayer, join the church, serve the church, and go to heaven. The church institution tells you how to pray, how to worship, how to tithe, and how to serve God. Instead of being lead by the Holy Spirit; you are led by a human. Each week you’re instructed by others on who God is, how to act and what He wants – instead of seeking Him yourself. However, seeking is foundational to a life with God. This is the one act that should be done above all others; yet it is deemed optional and not necessary. That slight in error has a grievous ripple effect.
1 Chronicles 16:10-11 Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually
As God (and what a life following Him entails) are “handed” to you, seeking isn’t necessary. The act of spending time one-on-one daily with God seeking His face and the instruction of the Holy Spirit isn’t deemed essential to eternal life; therefore that’s why most don’t do it. However, in reality you gain the essentials to true life through seeking. Seeking leads to knowing, which leads to trusting, which leads to a true belief, repentance of self, dying to self, true surrender and a love for God that puts Him first. In addition, there is often a fear instilled in believers by the church in seeking on their own. They are warned to be careful to not go astray – in other words, the church will protect you from going astray. This false fear breeds the blind leading the blind mentality. Matthew 15:14
Since we’ve been conditioned by the society at large to be “handed” things it doesn’t cause us to pause when it pertains to God – though it should. God is not calling us to a religion but to a relationship. The church structure today is like giving someone a distorted painting of a place verses travelling there and experiencing it yourself. The church hands you a picture of the kingdom, a relationship with God, yet prohibits people from entering in by this plug and play mentality. Matthew 23:13 As one is captivated by the spoon-feeding, because it does have a temporary high as all instant things do, no “personal” relationship is developed by the believer. There is only an engagement to a structured system telling you who God is and what He wants from you. The relationship is with the church, not God.
With this pre-packaged God, people can’t hear God. It’s not part of the package because all they receive is from a person, not God. They aren’t connected to God. They only have a faulty image, and haven’t walked, talked and gone through life with Him. Thus their beliefs are in the system and not God. Their trust is in the words of people and not God. They’ve gone through life with an image and praying to that image, because they haven’t spent time seeking God’s face to know Him as He is, something no one else can do for them. Because they haven’t sought; they don’t see the difference. Only in the light, do you realize the darkness. Therefore they aren’t listening to God. They are listening to people talk about God believing they have a relationship because that is what they are told. This “receiving” and not “seeking” is how many are and will be deceived.
This ever increasing mentality is one reason why those who are seeking are leaving the church – they see it for what it is; an offering of pre-packaged God. They aren’t into following people but God. They don’t want a faulty image handed to them. They want a real relationship. They want true fellowship with God and others. They see the idolatry of it. They see the damage of it; the plug and play that leaves souls starving and bound in affliction, pain, and loneliness as they once were.
As the church system is structured – individual seeking isn’t necessary. It’s optional. Yet, that is the one act that is to be above all others for a believer. Seeking leads to knowing, trusting and abiding with God in truth and spirit. It isn’t instant. It’s a journey that most are kept from walking by this erroneous mentality.
Like the other instant gratifications in our lives that have brought more problems than good, quadruple that and you have a taste of what this mentality does to a soul as it keeps them from an intimate union with God. Matthew 23:15
God loves us more than we can imagine. He wants us to intimately know Him, not live in some substitute reality of Him. Seek Him and you’ll find true life.
Come and see what we have to offer thee
A God of instant play, don’t delay
A ticket to heaven, come eat the leaven
No time to waste, come in haste
We give all you seek, we are humble and meek
Worship with us, as us, be us
One of our kind is a path for the blind
Say a prayer, live without care
Be good to your brother, love your mother
All is fulfilled with only a small bill
Your soul to keep, to own, to reap
We’ll fill your need, we’ll stop the bleed
Look no more, serve the board
Grow our club, to one blood
By a pre-packaged God to give a lost mob
Count the numbers, rejoice in the plunder
Souls trapped in lies, bound by disguise
In us you can trust, listen to us you must
No need to seek, we have the answers to keep
Don’t seek in private, don’t even try it
You’ll be taken away by evil’s sway
Stay with us, be us, trust us
A pre-packaged God, the path to trod
A new PODCAST (click here to listen)is available on trusting Seeking God in Truth and Spirit.
Overview: The main difference from a maturing believer and one who isn’t is a seeking heart. Those who diligently seek to know, trust and love God are those who experience Him and abide in His kingdom. In this show, I talk about what this seeking entails, why it is important and how God rewards those who seek Him. Seeking is the key to knowing God in truth and Spirit and walking in His power. It is what changes your life to be united to Him.
The ultimate choice we have to make is between following God and following self. Following God leads to eternal life and following self leads to death. To be in unity with God, we have to turn from our self-will (true repentance) and follow God’s will. In following God we seek to do only His will, just as Jesus did. John 5:30 But we don’t know God’s will unless we seek to know – thus why God tells us to seek and live. Amos 5:4 When following self we do what we think is good and right – whatever it is.
To learn about God through the Bible a similar approach must be taken in order to draw near to God in truth and spirit – we have to deny self.
God tells us to believe in Him. The Bible with the instruction of the Holy Spirit is a gateway to deeply knowing God so we can believe in Him as He is. This venue isn’t everyone’s; for we are all unique. But it is a part of my journey, and for you who feel called to this thought-provoking venue will resonate with my journey.
Reading the Bible isn’t about learning “techniques of good living” to then fulfill our own purposes and desires. We have to let go of all our self-will in coming to God in order to really know God and for Him to be our Lord.
There are three areas of denying our self-will when abiding in the Bible in order to learn about God, thus draw near in truth and Spirit.
The first area is in regards to making time to seek God. It’s putting abiding in the Bible to be taught by the Holy Spirit as the priority. Consider all the times you’ve put something above spending time with God, when God has told you to seek Him first. Matthew 6:33 Times you choose to sleep in, attend to another person, do a task, or get consumed in work. At those times, YOU are deciding what is more important versus doing what GOD has told you to do – love Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, to put Him first, and to diligently seek Him. This choice to do what you want is following your self-will. When you continue this pattern, deep down you think you know better, otherwise you would do what God says. So who’s will is dominating in you?
The second area is who you focus on when you do abide in the Bible. To get to know God through the Bible, you have to set your needs, wants, and expectations aside and focus on God. If you read the Bible with the mindset and motive that is focused on you, then you aren’t denying self, you are putting self first. You are putting your self-will and what you think the time in the Bible should be about above seeking to know God. Instead of saying, God, what do you want to teach me? What do you want me to know about you? It’s always about fixing you, searching for a certain answer, or preparing for a Bible study. Whose will is in control at this point?
If your interactions with your spouse were always about you, you would learn very little about her/him. There would be no true intimacy or bond. You would do what you thought that person wanted, but you really wouldn’t have a clue. You haven’t sought to know him/her intimately because every interaction has been about you. Therefore you wouldn’t have a real relationship, certainly not a healthy one. With God it’s the same. We have to realize we don’t know God unless we individually seek to know Him. Until we do we have a false image of Him, which means we have a false relationship. It’s necessary to seek Him while putting ourselves aside to know Him as He is. Then we’ll start to develop a real relationship.
The third area has to do with conforming the Bible to your beliefs versus the Bible molding your beliefs. It’s realizing that you have filters and ways of viewing God and the Bible that are wrong. That you hold ideas that you think are “truth” but aren’t. When you come to learn of God, you have come with a humble heart which is willing to receive and hear anything God may teach you instead of trying to fit the Bible to your paradigms. If you think you already know, you don’t really seek. You conform what you read and hear to what you already believe. If you think you already know then who are you following when you abide in the Bible?
In order to know God through the Bible, there is a choice to make, God or self. It’s a prelude to the ultimate choice of choosing Him in everyway over our self-will.
The way to life is choosing God. The only way for the Bible to be unsealed to you so you can draw near to God in truth and spirit is to choose God in these areas. If you don’t deny self when coming to the Bible to be taught by the Holy Spirit, then you are reading for your own purposes and goals based on what you think is good. Your will is in control. This is how the Pharisees could know the scriptures, but be totally off. They used them to fulfill what they determined was right and good.
God has to be first. He is Lord. He can’t be second.
One side note, letting go of self-will isn’t about losing your identity. It’s coming to the understanding that God’s will is good and leads to true life and therefore that is what you want to do. If you were walking through a dense forest and you had a guide with you who knew the best and safest way to get through it, what would you do? You would follow him. Same with God. God knows the path to life. We walk with Him when our will is submitted to Him because then we are walking in His footsteps. The journey leads us to what we’ve always truly and deeply desired, because God is that good.
Tomorrow when you sit down to learn about God through the Bible consider these three areas. Ask the Spirit to examine your heart; are you really making this about God and seeking Him or about you?