What Can You Expect?

My wife teases me about being brainwashed from 20-years in the Army. I have to admit, there are certain things I just can’t get out of my life. I find that many Christians are the same way. I don’t want to be insulting, but often, a person goes to the same church and settles for believing whatever the Pastor tells them. They end up seeing God through their Pastor’s eyes but never get to experience God on a personal level. They may get a goose-bump or two, just not a relationship.

Here’s the problem with that… Jesus… God… The Holy Spirit… wants a personal relationship with you. He already has a relationship with the Pastor so He doesn’t really need that.  He wants you.  He has things He wants to say to you, things to teach you, things that mean a lot to Him that He wants to share with you. He wants to help you learn, grow, and grow even closer to Him.

If that’s not enough, He wants to participate in things with you… shopping, sports, singing, dancing, hiking… He’ll even joke with you! Think about this, we are made in His likeness so anything we do, He does better and more. I love to joke around and tease people – so does He.

FAITH – that’s what you will need to pull this off. God is the one that said He created us to have a relationship with Him. I’ve never known a one sided relationship – it’s always been two or more people interacting at all levels. When you have faith that God wants to do what He said, get ready, you are a step closer to letting Him out of that box and freeing Him to actively get involved in your life.

In the post on Letting God Out Of The Box, we used the idea of a cat being boxed up and it clawing at the top trying to get out. Let’s continue with that…

When you open the box and free the cat, the cat goes crazy! They run around the house, attack things in a playful way, and then settle in to a more normal state. They are back to their loving way; rubbing up against your leg and enjoying your attention as they give you theirs.

That is kind of like what it is with God. Maybe you had Him boxed up so long He’s not sure you are going to let Him stay out. He will be anxious to show you how much He loves you and that only He can fill that void in your life. The big problem here is He has so much love for us that when He pours out a large dose. we almost can’t contain it.

Now, lets assume you are going to let Him stay out. Like the cat, He will settle in to a consistent love that you can depend on and take with you wherever you go. I am convinced this is part of the reason Paul wrote to the Philippians:

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (NIV)

When you intentionally think about Him throughout the day, you will feel Him thinking about you as well. When you talk to Him – not like any formal prayer but like a friend – your mind may immediately go to a thought. Pay attention, this is often Him responding. I know at this point it will be hard for you because you will think it is you making things up. Trust God that He is capable of communicating with you. The more you listen, the more you will hear and the faster the answers will come.

Lets face it, nobody likes to be ignored. If they ignore you, you just quit talking to them. Why would God be any different. On the other hand, when you show someone that you are paying attention, you encourage them to speak more freely. When you listen for God, you are encouraging Him to move closer to you and speak more freely.

What about all of those Pastors who say God no longer speaks to us. I guess my first question is, who called them to the ministry? Here’s a verse that you can apply to anything:

Romans 3:4

Let God be true, and every human being a liar. As it is written: “So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge. (NIV)

A person can make any claim they want, but no matter what, God is always right. Don’t take the person’s word for it – compare what they are saying to what you read in the Bible. They may quote one verse to prove their point – look beyond that one verse. Many people like to use a single verse out of context in order to make their point. Satan does that all the time! In fact, Satan knows the Bible forward and backward and loves to manipulate it to get us confused. That’s what he was doing to Jesus in the desert… it didn’t work, Thank God!

So what else can we expect? The truth is, their is no end to what God may do for you and through you. Part of the fun is the anticipation. For my part, it is still exciting to see God doing the things He does. There have been times I planned on saying one thing and something entirely different came out (much better than anything I had planned). Of course once it came out I was like, “Yea, I said that… dang I’m smart!” Later I would have to admit the truth to my wife… she knows me well enough to know when I’m talking and when God chooses to say something.

I know to some of you this all sounds like a bunch of hocus-pocus, voodoo type stuff… You don’t have to take my word for it… try it yourself. You don’t have to announce it to anyone. All you need to do is treat God as if He were your very best friend. Talk to Him, listen for Him to talk back, and enjoy your new found relationship. Keep in mind, if you are trying this out to prove me, God, or the Bible wrong, then you aren’t going into this with the faith God asks you for. We will get into that in the next lesson.

A good friend of mine is in a country that does not condone Christianity. In fact, it could get Him put in prison so needless to say, I am not going to use His name. We don’t need his name for this story anyway… when we email back and forth, we have to be careful what we say. It seems emails are intercepted and read there. As a result, we speak as if we are speaking of a family member or members, depending on what we are saying. Here’s an example of a fictitious conversation between us (for the sake of the story, we will call him Ted:

Hey There Ted,
How are things…bla, bla, bla… I went to Dad’s House the other day and while I was there, a few of His kids all got together and talked about you. We talked about how our Big Brother was taking care of you and that His Twin was hard at work….

I learned something very quickly, God loves us to think of Him in this close relationship type setting. I believe He is pleased when we drop the formality and think of Him as Dad. Some would say I was being irreverent… by talking about and to Him like that. I bring you back to why we were created… a personal relationship. Does your best friend call you Mr. or Mrs. Whatsyourname or do they call you Bob or Sue. Why should God have to miss out on that familiarity?

The bottom line here is, there is no way I can possibly tell you all of the things God wants to do for you. I can’t tell you what His plans for you are. What I can tell you for 100% certainty is that He wants a close relationship with you. When He gets that, He will literally pour out blessings on you like you have never known. From the knowledge that you are talking one-on-one with the creator of everything you see and even what you don’t see, to the warmth and comfort you get when you share your innermost secrets with the one who truly does care.

Blessings come in many forms and the beauty of God is He knows which blessings will show you how much He loves you. Don’t limit yourself or God. Go after Him like He is running after you. Here’s a final word picture for you…

Have you ever been somewhere and saw, or maybe as a parent did this yourself… a two-year old chasing after their parent who is running away  just out of range of their two-year old’s outstretched arms… that seems to be a pretty good picture of God chasing after us… His arms stretched out and calling our names… longing for us to slow down so He can wrap His arms around us. Here, the roll reverses… He wants to wrap His arms around us to love us, protect us, and give us peace and comfort.

Slow down and let Him catch you. You will be amazed (an overly used word that is appropriate for this situation)… truly amazed… at how much you are loved and how fierce that love is for you. He described Himself as being like a mother hen protecting her chicks. She would fight to the death to protect them… Just like God did when Jesus went to the cross for each of us.