Have you seen God lately?

27 03 2017

the-shackoctavia

The movie, The Shack, has touched thousands of people with emotional healing, redemption, and forgiveness. It has also helped restore people’s trust in a loving and caring God. But at the same time, it has also opened up a multitude of questions about our conventional understanding of God and the Trinity. As a result, there has been no lack of criticism and warnings that the film should be considered heresy, even though it is only a fictional story.

The debate mostly centers on who God is or how He (or She?) should be perceived. But that overlooks the bigger question. That question is not a matter of who God is but where He is. The Shack may give you the impression that God is in some abandoned cabin or place that you need to visit. It’s much the same line of thinking that compels believers to attend a local congregation on Sunday morning in order to really find Him and worship Him.

This thinking stems from the tendency to view God from the perspective of a two-story universe. God lives in heaven, man lives on earth. Thus, man lives separated from God. This came as the result of Adam and Eve falling for Satan’s deception of true knowing in the garden. Consequently, the veil of separation or “spirit of error” now causes the question, “Where are you God, and how can I come and meet with You?” It has given rise to all forms of idolatry and incorrect lifestyles of people (Rom. 1:20).

The disciples of Jesus illustrated that they had this perspective when they asked Jesus to show them the Father (John 14:8). But Jesus threw them a curveball when He replied, “Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” Jesus was restoring man’s perspective on where God lives and how He is really manifested. He lived in Jesus, as Jesus, and He intends to live in us, as us, in the same way (Col. 1:27, 1 Jn. 4:17).

But the objection arises that we are just sinful humans. How can we claim to be living as Jesus!? It is the same objection that brought about the crucifixion of Jesus. How dare anyone claim they are the same as God. Our minds, having been so trained to think of two worlds, secular and spiritual, fail to fathom this truth. Yet, the reality is that there is only one level of the universe and that God is all in all (Acts 17:25-28, Col. 3:11). He is seen in everything, expressing Himself by His creation. While it is not God, the creation is the divinely created vessel through which He manifests Himself. In that sense, as His creation, we are to be united with Him (John 17: 20, 21).

Many are hung up on John’s statement that “no one has seen God at any time..”(1 Jn 4:12) But that is exactly what Jesus came to restore – the united perspective – God in man, expressed as humans. The Father was seen every time Jesus performed a miracle, had compassion on someone or taught. He never modeled self-reliance but, rather, constantly insisted that it was the Father who was speaking and working through Him (Jn. 5:19).

How is the Father seen in you and me? First of all, as a believer, your trust in Christ establishes that He lives in you whether you realize it or not. (Col. 1:27; 1 Cor. 6:17). Second, He expresses Himself through your humanity. (Rom. 6:11, Gal.2:20). As Paul discovered, His strength is seen our weakness (2 Cor. 4:10,11) and we exhibit His character with His “gracelets” or fruit (Gal. 5:22,23). As John declared, He is seen every time we love someone (I Jn. 14:12).

As Peter declared, we have been made to partake (participate) in his divine nature thus showing Him off to the world (2 Peter 1:4).

Where is God? Have you seen Him lately? Take a look at yourself in your spiritual mirror and see the “glory” of the Lord which is becoming brighter every day (2 Cor. 3:18, James 1:25). He is there, living in you and not off in some far away place inviting you to come visit Him. Take a look at those believers around you. They too are the manifestation of the Father.

Be Jesus!


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