19 Jun “Seeing” God
I do Bible Devotions every night with my kids and a few times, they have asked me questions along the same line. “Why is it that I cannot see God since He is real?” Or “How do I know God is real without seeing Him?” And especially much so in an era where people are justifying themselves a lot by feelings and ideas, there are more and more believers that are also grappling with this question in their faith walk. Sometimes, when we read the bible, we see promises like “the Lord is with you, the Lord will fulfil His plans through you. However, when the opposite effect happens, God’s word somehow loses its credibility in our hearts and minds. That is where men start turning to other areas to find some answers, solace and security, becoming more and more self-centric. Even though we may know that God’s truth is beneficial, is right, is complete, is reliable and sovereign, but we still add in our own concoction of striving by our desires, measuring by our standards, choices and beliefs. In other words, we deem our stand as truths, as opposed to God’s stand. Like what was supposed to be telling us we are loved by God, becomes an accusation. And what is supposed to be blessed in abundance to you, still feels lacking to you. And even though you are a dignified child of God, yet you still feel lousy. Gradually, everything the Lord says no longer resonates or feels real to you anymore. Therefore, why can’t believers pray? Why is it that we cannot experience God’s presence in our problems, weaknesses and struggles? Brothers and sisters, God and His every Word is real, but how do we see and experience His authenticity in our hearts and lives?
Why is God unreal to us?
Now first, we have to identify what dilutes our idea of how real God is. It is not because of our weakness or the people around us. As 2 Timothy 3 remind us that in the last days, people will be lovers of themselves and pleasures rather than God. 2 Timothy 3:7 says, “These people are always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
So the real reason is because, we are not able to acknowledge the truth. We can hear and know about God’s word, but have we understood how it reflects upon us? How do we know if we have understand the truth of God? We have to ask ourselves, are we using perspective from God’s word to know the Lord, know ourselves and all other things? Does it cause us to tear down and rebuilt within us? If we cannot acknowledge God’s truth in our lives, then surely, the world will start to seem more and more real, more and more trustworthy.
So we have to be especially careful of the spiritual “robbers”. The one that awaits to waver our faith, taint our hopes or blind our vision. How do we identify the spiritual “robbers” of our lives? Firstly, it is anything that causes us to lean more towards our own will, emotions, instead of the Holy Spirit. Next, it causes us to rely on our wisdom or wisdom of the world, rather than testing and affirming upon God’s word, leading us to spiritual numbness or indifference. Then, it may also make us focus on the meticulous issues, rather than the big issue. Meaning, make us very ego-centric, and not thinking about other areas we are called into. Finally, it can make us fearful of God’s laws and commandments, but not love God. So everything we do is more out of fear of consequences than to benefit men and glorify God. These are all the spiritual “robbers” that Satan is using to deceive, manipulate and fog our vision of God and His real truth.
How to “see” and experience the Lord?
So how do we “see” and experience this real God of our lives? Let’s read 2 Timothy 3:12-17. It says, “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Firstly, we see two groups of people here. The evildoers and imposters versus those who wants to live a Godly life. In both groups of people, problems are bound to come, but the response sets them apart. And for us, in persecution and struggles, we should continue. Continue to what? To rely on what we have learned about God so that we will become wise. Wise in using the scriptures of God rightly to look at all our circumstances and issues. In this way, we see that problems in life actually propels us into a greater reliance of strength outside of ourselves to God. Our hearts are filled with all kinds of masters, telling us that what we can see is what we truly need, to find happiness. Therefore, being one-hearted for God seems like the disadvantaged option. But we must know that if we are not one-hearted in trusting God, we will start to lose our life’s purpose and direction over time. We become less aware in testing and approving how God is opening up new ways for us in the “wilderness”. We will then have to carry all our own burdens and be bounded by all kinds of desires and problems. That is why, God has to interfere in our lives. The more we rely on God, the more we can see how real He is.
Then, we also have to vigorously affirm His word. We can learn about the scriptures and sermons, but we have to test and affirm it intentionally and in all things we do, so that the truth flows from mind to heart to spirit. Why vigorously and intentionally? Because our greatest enemy of sin also does the same at attacking our faith. Satan does not need to give us grave problems. All he needs and wants is to destroy our relationship with God, with the church and with our brethren. Once broken, it will push us into deeper depths of sins. Therefore, we need to all the more be hardworking in challenging our thoughts and feelings according to the God-breathed scriptures that “teaches, rebukes corrects and trains us in righteousness.” Let God interfere with us through His word and let us intensely test and affirm within ourselves. Both of these need to happen together so that in all conditions, we can experience the “realness” of God’s presence and intervention.
Brothers and sisters, we may not be able to see God, but His realness is experienced when we keep in step with His Word and see it working in our lives or those around us. May we test and affirm His working hands everyday so that in the last days, we will become wise in the true knowledge of Him and be equipped for every good work He calls us into. God bless.