God desires intimacy with us, not just adoration. He is Almighty God no doubt but he wants to be our friend, confidant and go-to. He desires to have conversations with us, the type that conflates our misbegotten theology of a judgmental God. The moment you give your life to Christ, the dynamics of relationship changes. With the new birth God ceases to be just God to you, he becomes your father.
There’s a huge difference between a relationship with God Almighty and one with “Our Father who art in Heaven…” You relate to God Almighty in formalism. You relate to God your Father in intimacy. And God your Father tells you to approach him without fear. He’s your Father!
Much of our prayer doesn’t convey that intimacy. It’s why we reel out the formal titles of God in prayer. All of God’s formal titles pale in potency to the simplicity of the phrase, “Our Father who art in Heaven…” Imagine the son of the President calling him “Mr. President” every time he wants to have a discussion with his dad! That’s what we do every time we want to talk to God and we reel out names like El Shaddai, El Elyon, Jehovah Jireh… I’m sure God sometimes wonders, Why would these children of mine start gist with me in formal “Mr. Almighty!” Those formalisms are contextually okay within the dispensation of the Old Testament but not applicable to the new birth.
But even in the Old Testament people like David related to God intimately and outside the envelope of formalism. David knew God as confidant, shrink, and adviser. He discussed things with God religious folk would cringe about. It’s this intimate knowledge of God that made him vent to God on every imaginable subject. He discussed with God about his deep feelings, broached his fears, talked about his sins… Here’s a man who wrote letters to God! He wrote about his ambition, his desire to prosper, his health… He wrote to God about politics, international affairs… He complained when God seemed to turn a deaf ear. He discussed specific people with God. He told God about his cries in the night, what people did to him. He even sent God poems and wrote songs for God to listen to.
And he was rewarded. God let him in on some stuff going on in Heaven. Psalm 110:1 The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” When we read that David sat “in the presence of God” it sounds so formal but it’s far from it. 2 Samuel 7:18. His discussions with God were conversational, real, down-to-earth. He always told God how he felt. This is not saying we must be disrespectful of God in pursuit of intimacy. If you know God you won’t disrespect him. But we need to get rid of formalisms of no spiritual value that only pander our religiousness. God desires intimacy with us. And God desires emotional connection with us.
Our theology needs reorientation. Some of our philosophical viewpoints on God cannot be found in scriptures! Which is ironic considering that God documented himself in portable format (Bible) to encourage proprietary intimacy. That everyone can own a Bible creates a potential for personal and internalized knowledge of God. David knew God, understood how God thinks, knew his disposition, knew his tolerance level. Did you notice from the Bible that David never ran away from God when he sinned? He went to God. He was unlike Adam who ran away from God on account of sin. Hid from God as if that were possible. David wrote, “If I ascend up into Heaven, you’re there. If I make my bed in Hell, you’re there” (Psalm139:8). God never runs from us. Through thick and thin, and even in our sinfulness he sticks by us.
God once followed a guy to prison – stayed with Joseph in prison. Infamous Mrs. Potiphar had made a rape allegation against Joseph. Captain Porty thereupon threw him in jail. “But the Lord was with Joseph in the prison and showed him faithful love” (Genesis 39:21). So there you are, God went to prison! It’s in the Bible!
You’ve got to get rid of funny religious misconceptions of God and find out about God for yourself. God is so loving, so kind, so tender, so understanding, so loyal, so funny, so intellectual, and yet so powerful. He is very much interested in our success. He backed Joseph, made him successful. “And the Lord was with Joseph, so he succeeded in everything he did.” The secret of Joseph’s success was his mentor. God taught him stuff. It’s why he was so brilliant. When God mentors you he teaches you: “All your children will have God for their teacher – what a mentor for your children!” (Isaiah 54:13 MSG). The God you know is the knowledge of God you have.
The Bible expressly stated Jesus did not come to judge or condemn the world (John 3:17). Those who ignore this scripture therefore serve a condemnatory God. That’s the God they know. Their knowledge is inaccurate, but the knowledge of God you keep is the God you serve. Some have conceived God in the image of THEIR earthly father- a harsh and unapproachable deity. Yet God tells us to come BOLDLY to the throne of grace and obtain mercy, to find help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16). There is mercy available. God’s grace is in abundance.
Don’t let your sins keep you away from God. If you sin, go to God. He’s not condemning you, Satan is. John. 3:17, Revelation 12:10. Sometimes we look at the imperfection of our life and make a determination we can’t be acceptable to God. But only the sick have need of doctor (Mark 2:17). Jesus is looking for someone just like you, someone with all your sins, someone with all your baggage. The world may condemn you and the religious may ostracize you but Jesus won’t push you away. He wants you as you are. “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs” (Matthew 5:3).
If you’ll like to give your life to Christ, please pray this prayer: “Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. I believe in my heart Jesus died for me, that you raised him from the dead. I confess with my mouth that Jesus Christ is my Lord and my Saviour. I am now born again. Amen.”
© Leke Alder | firstname.lastname@example.org