Ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father! (Romans 8:15)
Since the coming of the Kingdom on Earth, God has made himself accessible to all followers of Jesus. He is not a remote and hidden mystery, an entity to be communicated with only rarely and through another person ordained to the task. Rather, all who live with God’s spirit (meaning, all who are born again) and who in fact have become God’s foster children, can communicate with their Dad at any time. Consequently, I know God personally as my heavenly Father, my Dad, my Daddy. And he knows me, inside out, communicating with me using words, images and references from my personal history. He knows me better than I know myself; he alone knows what my soul needs, and he alone can provide it. In John 17, Jesus prays to God to give us the same relationship with God as he has with him: “that they may be one as we are….” God answered Jesus’ prayer, just as he always did.
Temples of worship are no longer required, as we born-agains are each of us a temple, and our souls are the tabernacle for God’s spirit. Under the New Covenant ushered in by Jesus, the Living God no longer dwells in buildings of stone and wood, but in the living flesh of his foster children. When God’s spirit comes to live with us, we embark upon the most intimate, loving, satisfying and profound relationship we’ll ever experience in our lives – a relationship with the creator of all things. Yet he comes to us as our Dad, and it’s his covenanted duty to do and be for us everything a good father must do and be.
So, he loves us like a father, he watches over us like a father, he indulges us like a father, he’s proud of us like a father, he guides us like a father, he defends us like a father, he tells us stories like a father, he amuses and entertains us like a father, he humors us like a father, he protects us like a father, he provides for us like a father, he corrects us like a father, he admonishes us like a father, and, if need be, he punishes us like a good father should.
He loves us more than anyone on Earth could possibly love us because his love is absolute, not conditional: it cannot change or die. Each and every one of us is the apple of God’s eye, and he wants only the best for all of us. Being his foster children, we are potentially his heirs, so that all that is his may some day be ours, if we choose to remain his children.
And it is still our choice while we are yet on Earth, in our Earthly bodies. We can still choose against God, with our God-given free will. Hopefully we won’t.
I am my Father’s daughter. My Father’s name is God Almighty. My Father has promised never to leave or forsake me, as long as I keep his commandments and walk in his way. Through his written and spoken Word, he teaches me how to do this: His written Word is the Holy Bible, and his spoken Word is that which he directly speaks to me and to my ‘brethren’ (other born-agains). I don’t need an interpreter or an intercessor to understand his written or spoken Word for, as he promised, he himself will teach me. He speaks to me in my own language, using words, images, nuances and juxtapositions unique to my own experience and at a level I can comprehend. My soul is as my fingerprint; there is only one in all creation. Likewise, my understanding of God is unique. This is how he becomes our ‘personal God’. If we do not know him uniquely and intimately – that is, personally – then we do not know him at all.
God my Dad knows me better than I know myself and he loves me more than I can comprehend. He fiercely protects me from my enemies and takes stumbling blocks out of my path. When he closes a door, he opens a window; when he shuts the window, he lifts up the roof and lets down a ladder for me to ascend. There is nothing my Dad will not do in his love for me, his foster child. And he wants more than anything else to adopt me so that I can go home to heaven, where my soul was created. But this will only happen if I follow his will and his will only, just as Jesus did.
I can only know his will by constantly consciously being in his presence (or, as Paul would say, praying without ceasing). Consciously being in God’s presence means talking to him, listening to him, asking his advice (and following it), and letting his spirit permeate every iota of my being, all my thoughts, words and actions, all the time, not just for a few seconds on Sunday.
If I had the choice to live until the end of time in a beautiful, healthy, youthful body, rich, famous, well-connected and respected socially, with a loving and devoted husband, adoring children, a supportive family, and lots of admirers and friends, but without knowing God as my Father
to live for only one more day as I am – plain, middle-aged, poor, unknown, prone to bodily ills, with no social connections, no husband, no children, a wary family and no admirers or friends, but knowing God as my Father,
I would without hesitation choose that one day with God, because without him, without his spirit inside me, I’m not alive, I have nothing of value, even if I have everything the world tells me makes for happiness, everything the world lusts after and settles for. Only in loving God as my Father do I have everything and everyone I’ll ever need. Amen.