By Tyler Ellis
Some Questions Keep Us Up at Night.
These are the ones we can’t seem to shake because, no matter how those questions are answered, the implications directly impact our lives. So these should really take priority.
Among the handful of questions which people most often lose sleep over is this one, “Is God a personal God?”
Whether or not your lips have ever voiced that question, no doubt your heart has asked it
…more than once.
What’s Behind the Question?
There are two major reasons we ask this question: hope and fear.
First, we question what we HOPE for: We hope God is personal.
When we wake up the morning, we look for a Creator who is personally involved in our lives, just like a baby wakes up looking for her parents for the same reason. That baby needs a personal loving connection.
And that’s what we hope to find in God.
Second, we question what we FEAR: We fear that God is not personal.
If we’re honest, we’ll admit that it just doesn’t feel like God is there. After all, we generally associate the word “personal” with a close friend whom we can interact with face to face. We can look into their eyes, cry on their shoulder, and spend the evening sharing stories and dreams.
But with God, it’s different and that can be frustrating. It almost feels like our relationship with God is only as good as our imagination or the answers to our prayers.
God is More Personal Than We Ever Imagined
It is a core belief of the Christian worldview that the Son of God laid aside his equality with God and became a man (Phillippians 2:5-8).
What’s so amazing about the fact that Jesus came is that his mission demonstrated God’s enduring commitment to bring us back to that face to face relationship.
When we were powerless to bridge the distance our sin placed between us and God, Jesus offered his life on our behalf. This was necessary in order to appease the justice of God. On that basis, Jesus provided a way our sins to be forgiven that our broken relationship with God might be restored (Romans 6:17)
But the story plot isn’t over. The book of Revelation informs us that God plans to “make all things new”. Someday, when the time is right, those who have turned from sin to trust in Jesus will live in the, “new heavens and the new earth”.
And God will live among us in the most personal of ways!
In the Meantime…
We can better appreciate the personal nature of God by understanding the events that took place in the past and the events that will take place in the future. This eternal perspective helps.
But what about today? How can we experience our personal God in the middle of the story?
In James 4:8, we find a challenging verse of scripture. It says, “Come near to God and he will come near to you.”
Could it be that as we ask the question, “Is God a personal God?” that God is asking a similar question about us? We want him to “come near” to us, and he wants us to “come near” to him. So how can we “come near to God”?
Here are six suggestions:
- Start by making your biggest questions your biggest priority.
- Be willing to go wherever truth takes you.
- Read everything Jesus ever said and did.
- Pray and ask God to “come near to you” in a way that connects with who you are.
- Experiment to identify ways you feel close to God and then do those things.
- Take some time to add to this list.
Ephrem Hagos says
Here are two INDICATORS of just how much God is personal. At the burning but necessarily unconsumed bush, He said to Moses: “All future generations are to call me by my name, ‘I Am Who I Am’, a.k.a., “the God of the living”, e.g., Abraham, Isaac and Jacob”, through a curtain call at Christ’s death on the cross. And so it is to the last detail!
(Ex. 3: 1-15; John 8: 21-32; Matt. 27: 50-56)
Great insights Ephrem! It is incredible the lengths to which the uncreated One has gone to show Himself to us. Its quite humbling.