Friday, November 20, 2009

# 290: Experience God’s Nature

Being loved is the most precious ingredient in the universe. We were created to love and be loved. Love is an invisible ingredient that will, at all times, display an action and possibly (hopefully) a response. Of course, the quality of love is important. Much of the physical love we see around us is tainted with self-centeredness: needing to be loved in return. And that is natural. But to love without desiring anything in return is precious (greatly desired) and scarce. This type of love has nothing to do with romance; it is selfless.

What gives this selfless love value is for someone to actually experience the love one is receiving. A person may know she/he is loved—that part is all well and good—but if it does not produce a delightful emotion and a reciprocating action, that love has lost most of its intended purpose.

Even though all peoples desire this type of selfless love, it may be the scarcest of all spiritual ingredients. Why is this? The reason, most likely, is because it cannot be made up. It has to be a genuine, intricate part of the one who is doing the loving.

The above paragraphs are describing love between humans. There is a divine love that is also available: a love for God, an active love for the needy, and of course God’s superior love for human individuals.

God loves all peoples, but has a special kin-type love for those who are His children through faith in His Son Jesus Christ. As His children, we know that God loves us. However, if we are not reciprocating God’s love (by not obeying His commands), there will be little to no beneficial effect in how we experience His love for us. In short, experiencing God’s love is a result of obedience. That is the way love works (e.g. “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.”).

In the case where a Christian knows that God loves him/her, it’s all well and good; most likely, though, if that love does not produce some emotion-like reciprocating love, there will be no need or incentive for obedience. And remember, obedience ties the knot in God’s plan of Salvation that cannot be broken. No obedience, no Salvation. End of the subject.

We can learn more of how God’s love works by examining human love. When a male and female’s love first starts before marriage, they can actually feel their love. They are experiencing the love they have for each other, and everything is peaches and cream.

As time goes by, that first love they had for each other isn’t as noticeable as it was when their love first started. They may still love each other, but they are not experiencing love like before. And this can lead to marital problems. For love to be what it was meant to be, it must at all times be experienced. To put it another way, real love is more than just being/living together.

Now the question is asked, “Do we just believe that God loves us and leave it at that, or are we actually experiencing (through feelings and emotions) God’s love for us?” It is sad to say that not many are experiencing God’s miraculous love for them. And the lack of that experience has a devastating effect on how our Christian lives are lived. After all, experiencing God’s love is what makes the difference between those who only call themselves Christians and the active, obedient, genuine Christians.

How can we know for certainty, without a shadow of a doubt, that we are really being loved by God and not just making up this experience? There is a sure way: when we are living a holy life that stems from obedience and not just faith, coupled with active love for God and our needy neighbors. If we are not practicing the above-mentioned four virtues, we are only fooling ourselves.

One of the wondrous attributes about God is His love for every one of His children as if he/she were the only one He loves. He does this through His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is another one of God’s marvelous miracles. Though the Holy Spirit is one, He is a separate entity residing in each Christian, and He caters to each holy desire of the individual He was assigned to. Along with that, He teaches, guides and counsels all of God’s children in the way of holiness and love, according to the NT. John 16:13. “But when the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into ALL truth.” John 14:26. “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things . . .”

One of the most stunning verses in the whole Bible is a New Testament (NT) verse that is often overlooked: Acts 1:8. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses . . . to the ends of the earth.” That Godly power turns us into a spiritual, superhuman race. Then and only then can we live in a manner that is fitting of children of God.

Here is the only thing: everyone who claims to possess the Spirit of God/Christ may not be a recipient. The only reason they may believe as they do is because of a verse in the book of Romans written by the apostle Paul. Romans 8:9. “And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” Some marginal Christians must believe that receiving the Spirit is an automatic occurrence at conversion. I don’t think so. The NT is not explicit as to when or to whom it is given, but one thing is for sure: It is given to those who are obedient.

The Holy Spirit will not/cannot be inactive. If people receive the Spirit and then do little or nothing to further the cause of Christ, the Spirit—not willingly, but out of necessity—will leave those people. Is there such a thing as an inactive Christian? I would say no, but the NT does not have a definitive answer.

I will say this: In my life, if I am not praying, meditating, or thinking on spiritual matters, the Spirit that resides in me is mute. He cannot teach, guide or counsel us when our minds are on earthly things, even though many of those worldly chores cannot be neglected. In reality, the Spirit is given to us as the main thrust in our lives. One of the biggest enemies the Spirit has is our doubt in whether He can do what good and holy things we request.

The way we experience God’s love, power, and nature is through the Holy Spirit’s constant communication with our Heavenly Father. The Spirit does what He hears and makes it known to us. Therefore, we will be in constant touch with God Almighty through His Spirit. But that communication cannot continue while our minds are not on Godly matters. 1st Thessalonians 5:17. “Pray continually.” That is the main reason we must avoid as many worldly activities as possible. That is one of the main reasons God commands us to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. When we love God to that degree, there won’t be much more time for other things. If that is our goal, we will, out of necessity and in obedience to the most demanding commandment, make every effort to keep our minds on things that glorify Jesus Christ.

That may seem like a high price to pay. But remember that if you and I have the Spirit of Christ, we are superhuman gods on earth. Don’t forget that this all has to do with continuing the work that Christ started 2,000 years ago, and continually experiencing the life of God and Christ.

We all were born as products of a physical world. That means that since birth, our minds have been on matters related to physical things. (And that is only natural.) But when we receive the Holy Spirit of God, things must change. In order for the Spirit to communicate with us, we must purposely put our minds on Godly/spiritual matters. He cannot and will not force His messages on us while our minds are engaged in physical thoughts, since He communicates with us through our thought process. At the same time, we must be certain that the messages we receive are in accordance with the NT. The reason I say that is because there is also a counterfeit spirit (the evil spirit) that pretends he is giving us godly information. Therefore, at all times, we must discern where the message is coming from. If not, we may be experiencing a false love, only to thwart the work of God.

Never forget this: Satan can enter our thought process when our minds are not on Godly matters. Of course, those thoughts will seem normal because they are concerning every day things. But he still wins, because he is keeping our minds off of heavenly things.

That means that if one is not intimately familiar with the NT and yet believes in getting messages from the Spirit, it is easy for that person to be tricked. There are several denominations that believe their members are in communication with God’s Spirit, but the teachings they receive are in conflict with the Word of God. The best way the devil can mimic the Holy Spirit is when people have their minds on worldly goodies. Therefore, we must be absolutely certain that there are no holes in our belief system, and we do that by intimately knowing our Bible and being obedient to it.

A few individual thoughts:

My goal/Holy grail is to know and experience all that God, through His Spirit, is able to reveal to imperfect humans, so that I can live it and relay it to other needy people.

The more we are loved and respected in this world, the less we need/desire the love God has waiting for us. Likewise, the more pain, sadness and hatred we experience on earth, the more we will be inclined to desire and seek a better place: heaven. Matthew 11:28: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Our natural desire for worldly comfort is one of the most formidable enemies of God, and one of the best allies of the god of this world (Satan). The less comfort, contentment and security we have in this ungodly world, the better chance we have of experiencing spiritual rest. Matthew 11:29. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your soul.”

Wealthy people who think of themselves as prosperous became that way through some sort of greed. They cannot experience the power, motives and nature of Jesus Christ. This theme on the evil power of greed is made clear throughout the NT.

In conclusion, the most obvious reason we don’t see much of God’s power to perform mighty supernatural healings and miracles in today’s world is because we are not experiencing His nature and love.

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