by Pastor Tim Burt
Almighty God is our God. Almighty God is our Heavenly Father. Almighty God is our friend. When you truly press in to know God and you prayerfully study His Word (meaning you sincerely ask God to reveal Himself and what His Word means,) you will discover that God is Almighty God, He is our Heavenly Father, and He is our friend. There is a balance important to our relationship with God if we hold these three truths in appropriate perspective.
Almighty God is our God. If you could imagine a personal meeting with the President of the United States in his oval office, you might imagine the protocol, formality, and honor to such an event. You’d only walk in and say, Hey Prez, how’s it going? if you were totally clueless to respect for authority and irreverent toward it. If you did appropriately understand, you would probably dress your best, prepare your greeting, and try with honor and respect to make the most of the limited time you had. With God, our reverence and respect for Him should be magnified far above any humanly respect toward man. Psalm 113:4-5 (NLT) says, “For the Lord is high above the nations; His glory is far greater than the heavens. Who can be compared with the Lord our God, who is enthroned on high?”
Almighty God is our Heavenly Father. Jesus reveals that God is our Heavenly Father. Matthew 6:31-33 (NLT) says, “So don't worry about having enough food or drink or clothing. Why be like the pagans who are so deeply concerned about these things? Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and He will give you all you need from day-to-day if you live for Him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.”
As we discover and come to know God as our Heavenly Father—the perfect father that none of us every had, we can experience greater intimacy between us and Him. It doesn't mean we should become less reverent toward Him. It means that we see His majesty and reverence Him, but also realize that the most powerful being in the universe—perfect and Holy in nature, has a deep, sincere, fatherly love toward us. How awesome is that and how much more would it elevate our faith and trust in Him to watch over us?
To those who would become Jesus’ disciples, He called His friends, John 15:15-16 (NIV) says, "I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name."
In true intimate friendship, friends know each other. Friends share the deep things of the heart. They don't hide things from each other. God reveals Himself, His ways, His love for us, and His plan to save and help us through Jesus and His Word. He declares friendship! Amazing!
When we understand God in all three of these revelations, and reverence and honor Him with the respect due to Him as God, we prepare our hearts to speak to and hear back from God—our Almighty Father who loves us as a child and friend.
Now it’s key to understand what I am about to tell you and I want to frame it with a short story. Years ago Renee and I did some surveying of married people at a marriage seminar we were conducting. We gave an anonymous survey to men and their wives asking them to rate their marriages from 1-10, 10 being the best. Although the surveys were anonymous, we asked the couples to turn theirs in as a couple. In almost every case, the men scored their marriage higher than their wives did.
Couple after couple’s scores went like this. The husband rated his marriage an 8 and his wife rated it at a 5. A husband rated his marriage at a 9 and his wife rated it at a 6. Most of the men were blindsided thinking that their marriage was better than what their wife thought. In the majority of cases, the wives scored the marriage lower because they did not feel the communication within the marriage was as good as it should be. Most women desire a marriage with great communication! That doesn't mean that men don’t desire good communication. It just means that women desire more of it.
For most women, it’s a contributing factor that helps make the relationship more intimate. And it’s something that men who want to improve their marriage learn over time. Most everyone would agree that a good intimate relationship is not going to happen between two people unless there is good two-way communication. I think most people get that. We also need to understand that it takes good two-way communication to build an intimate relationship with God. Do we think we can build an intimate relationship with Him as a one-way conversation where we talk to Him and He listens but never responds? Honestly, that is lunacy! God speaks to us! I know to people who don’t really know God’s Word that sounds crazy but as we read yesterday, Jesus sends us the Holy Spirit to speak to us. Jesus said, “…the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world at large cannot receive Him, because it isn't looking for Him and doesn't recognize Him. But you do, because He lives with you now and later will be in you.”
As we just read, Jesus declared, “I no longer call you servants, because a master doesn't confide in his servants. Now you are my friends…” God is our friend. We must approach Him with reverence for who He is. But, He is also our loving heavenly Father—the perfect Father who loves and deeply cares for us, and the friend we can and must converse with, expecting Him to speak to us through His Word!
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt