A couple weeks ago we went to Colorado with my family. I don’t know what it is about mountains that reminds me so of God’s majesty. But I mean, wow! Love.
Which leads me to Trinitarianism. This was one of the courses I took this summer (and school’s out for a couple of weeks now!). This class has changed the way I think about God on a level I can’t even fully articulate. Talk about a God who wants to be in relationship with us! During one of our classes, while we were discussing this God in three persons, one of my classmates asked, “When we think ‘God,’ then, are we thinking of the Father?” And my professor replied, “When we think of ‘God,’ we should be thinking of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. That is who God is.”
This is, of course, the logical conclusion of Trinitarianism–but I hadn’t ever connected it that way.
And it’s changed how I relate to him–a God who is deeply relational in himself, a God who made us for relationships because he made us in his image.
So that brings us back to a question I asked a long time ago (just shortly before our little man was born): How can we be in a relationship with God? What does it involve and how do we do it? How do we keep our relationship with God growing and fresh, flowing and not ebbing too much?
I think the first thing we need to realize is, by his grace, he wants to be in relationship with us. He wants this deeply and has gone to extraordinary lengths to make it possible.
We can’t make it to God because we are so flawed in our fallen state and fallen nature. But God knew this and so he came to us. He became flesh and joined together with us in our humanity and offered us a way back.
So step one to relationship with God is and always will be belief in his Son. And this isn’t some emotional feeling but a mental decision to trust that Jesus indeed was and is who he declares himself to be in Scripture and that his work on our behalf on the cross and in the resurrection has secured forever a path to salvation and relationship with God.
But then what?
It’s easy to take that first step and then keep on living like nothing has really changed. Or even to change your life by the power of the Holy Spirit but without taking it to a relationship level.
Relationships are challenging. They do require a certain amount of work. And although God will never leave us, we certainly can do a pretty good job of forgetting that he is there.
So, step two and three in our relationship with God are prayer/worship and Bible study. I don’t know for sure which I would put as two and which as three because they seem to go hand-in-hand. Both are necessary. In my life I know I have gone through phases where I emphasized one and then the other, but I believe it’s important to strive to incorporate both of these into our daily lives.
We pray and worship as a form of communication with God (and to give him the honor and glory he deserves). Ideally, we should be telling God about ourselves (even though he knows everything already) as well as praising him and honoring and glorifying him. Our prayers should be a way to connect to God as we connect to other people we know and love. We want to recognize his involvement in our lives and let him know our thoughts too. And I would encourage you to spend time in prayer even telling God your anger, fears, and doubts, as well as your triumphs and joys. He is a big God and he can handle hearing about our disappointments. The Psalms are full of raw emotion being poured out to God. Is there anything keeping you from pouring your heart out to him? I’d encourage you to address that and work on getting to a point of authenticity in your prayer life.
Bible study, I believe, is important in helping us get to know God better. Who is God? What has he revealed to us about himself through his Word? Scripture is such a gift from God and we should want to know all we can from it.
Imagine if you were hanging out with someone and all you ever did was tell them the goals you have, what you want or need, your preferences and dislikes… But you never once stopped to find out anything about that other person. Would that be a relationship? You may as well be talking to a goldfish.
We can do the same in our relationship with God if we aren’t careful. And while this won’t change his love and care for us, it is far from ideal. I think we can do better. I think a relationship with God can be the most rewarding and meaningful relationship in our lives–if we let it.
So, to recap, we have three major steps to help us as we are relating to God: we need to put our faith in Jesus, pray/worship, and study the Bible. I hope at some point to talk a bit more about what prayer and worship might look like and about good methods I’ve tried for Bible study (and maybe some others I’ve heard about). I talked a bit in a recent post about what it means to put our faith in Jesus. So, in a meandering sort of way, maybe we’ll end up with some kind of series on relationships after all. Haha
Enjoy the remains of summer. I’m enjoying my little break, too. And in two weeks: Hebrew! I’m really stoked about it, and maybe just a little scared.
August 12, 2015 at 11:45 pm
Thoughtful as always, Tori.
There is one question on this topic that I’ve always found challenging, however. That is, if God desperately wants a relationship with us but we can’t make it to God because we are so flawed in our fallen nature… Why didn’t God make us a bit less flawed? Is it logically possible for us to have completely free will, but also be inherently better and not quite so nasty?
August 12, 2015 at 11:53 pm
It’s a good question. I wish I had a good answer for you, but I don’t. I know there are people who have tried to answer this question already, and I’ve read some answers, but I’m not sure any of them are completely satisfying intellectually or emotionally. I believe that it absolutely has to do with our freedom, and find satisfaction in the idea that without freedom, we cannot love in any meaningful way. We see that satan, who was beloved by God and given pride of place in the kingdom, fell, and that has always given me pause. Maybe we needed to fall to realize what we were missing and draw us to God. But I don’t know. I’m sure God does. And knowing that he has our best interests always in mind leads me to believe (in a trust way, not a scientific way) that we could only have been created as we were, and that the fall and consequences thereof have been necessary for us. What are your thoughts on this?