A Relationship with God
The purpose of our existence is to be in a relationship with God. However, as we look around the world today, we are easily distracted from that idea even to the extent that we don’t understand why we exist.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 1:1 ESV
God was in existence before we were. God decided to create the earth, in fact the universe, and everything in it, including mankind.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the
earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Genesis 1:26-27 ESV
This may seem very basic, but if we cannot accept the fact that God is our Creator, the One who brought us into existence, we will not properly understand our relationship with God. These are the building blocks, the foundation, of a proper relationship with God.
- God existed before us
- God created us
- God created mankind, not everything else, in His image
What is the meaning of “image”? The Merriam-Webster online dictionary shows two entries for image. Entry one is a noun and number 4 in entry one is exactly this case of creation.
- : exact likeness : SEMBLANCE
- // God created man in His own image – Genesis 1:27 (RSV)
- : a person strikingly like another person
- // She is the image of her mother
The word image in Genesis 1:26-27 is the Hebrew word “tselem”, Strong’s Concordance #6754, an image. A part of the description states, “From an unused root meaning to shade; a phantom, i.e. (figuratively) illusion, resemblance; hence, a representative figure, especially and idol – image, vain shew.”
Mankind was created as a representative figure, or a resemblance of God. The difference, however, is this: God is God, we are not. God is the Creator and we are the creation. This is the first thing we need to understand and believe to have a proper relationship with the God who created us. This idea needs to move from head knowledge to the depths of our heart. It must be a portion of the abundance of our heart (episode 18).
God had a relationship with the man He created. God put the man in the garden and God spoke with him there. Man was not created in the garden of Eden. God created man and put him into the garden.
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.
Genesis 2:15 ESV
It was God that saw the need for a mate for the man, and then God created the woman.
Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
Genesis 2:18 ESV
It is implied that God would walk in the garden and commune with the man and the woman. We are told of this happening after sin entered the picture.
And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the
Genesis 3:8 ESV
They recognized the sound of God walking through the garden. This must have been a regular occurrence. It got their attention. A phrase I just notice in this verse is, “the man and his wife”, which I don’t recall seeing before. Is this the first occurrence of a marriage reference?
If we cannot come to understand the idea of God as our Creator, and that we are His, as we are made by Him and for Him, we will not be able to enjoy all that He has for us. In the first epistle of John, chapter 4, verse 8, he writes, “because God is love.” God is love and He wants to share that love with us in a personal relationship with Him.
What of the judgment of God? Religion would generally have us believe that God is keeping a tally of our rights and wrongs, and He will either graciously allow us into heaven, or condemn us to the fires of hell, depending upon how that tally balances at the end of life. This is in opposition to the reason God created us and the reason the Son of God came into the world. God created us to be in a relationship with Him. Sin entered the picture and tried to spoil that situation. The Son came to restore the relationship between God and man, as we see in the words of Jesus in the Gospel According to John.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world,
but in order that the world might be saved through Him.”
John 3:16-17 ESV
The Son was sent by the Father to save mankind from the damage sin had caused to the relationship. The son came to restore our relationship with the Father. We are given the freedom to choose whether we will be restored in that relationship, or if we choose to do so, we can remain in the lifestyle that has been imposed upon us by sin. Our decision determines our eternal existence.
“Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
John 3:18 ESV
What we believe and who we believe in forms the foundation for our relationship with God, whether it be loving or adversarial. If we oppose the light, the truth of God, we are in the darkness, the lies that sin uses for our destruction and separation from God.
“And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their work were evil.”
John 3:19 ESV
We must not allow the things of our past to weigh us down in guilt and shame. The way to God is to trust in the work of Jesus on the cross, the shedding of His blood for the forgiveness of our sin, and believe that He will restore us to a proper relationship with God. Evil wants to prevent this from happening, but God, and the love of God, greatly desires our restoration to a loving relationship with Him.
The strength of every relationship is reflected in the conversation in that relationship. The stronger and more honest the communication, the stronger the relationship with God. Just as my marriage is strongest when I have good communication with my wife, so it is in my relationship with God. We need to learn how to communicate with God, both in the speaking and in the hearing.
An upcoming episode of the podcast will be, “Prayer and Worship”. Prayer and worship are the two main ways we communicate to God. These ideas will be covered in more detail in that episode. Praise is another mode of communication, as is our behavior, either in obedience or disobedience to the commands of Christ.
The communication is to be two-way, meaning we are also to receive communication from God. Again there are a number of ways this is done, such as through Scripture, hearing God – whether audibly or in one’s spirit, a prophetic word, in dreams and visions.
That said, God being sovereign, He has the freedom to do what He will to communicate with us. Even through a donkey. Speaking of Balaam, Peter writes:
but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.
2 Peter 2:16 ESV
That was not donkey from Shrek, it was an actual occurrence according to Scripture, particularly, Numbers 22:21-35. When it comes to things of the spirit, we can limit ourselves by what our eyes see or what our ears hear. Our previous experiences and things we’ve learned may be contradicted by spiritual encounters. This is when what we believe needs to be questioned, and the baseline for truth and spiritual reality needs to be Scripture. By faith we walk with God, confident in what He has said through His word, Scripture, and acting upon that truth.
Let’s quickly recall what I have called a three-part working definition of faith.
- Believing that God is who He says He is.
- That I am who God says I am.
- That God will do what He says He will do.
Scripture is filled with the answers and descriptions for each of these points. See episodes 16 and 16.5, Identity in Christ – Who God Says I Am, for a breakdown of the point number two. Point number one will be covered in an upcoming episode, hopefully soon. The names of God describe who He is and who He desires to be for us. Point three is covered throughout Scripture in prophetic declarations as well as history that shows that God in fact did as He said He would, giving us confidence to trust the same now in the days in which we live.
Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take
heed lest he fall.
1 Corinthians 10:11-12 ESV
The Apostle Paul writes here of the purpose for the historical accounts we find in Scripture. And another passage tells of our need for faith.
And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.
Hebrews 11:6 ESV
Are we seeking to draw near to God in a personal relationship? Do we believe that God exists? That is the one, true God, the Creator of all things seen and unseen. Do we believe that He rewards those who seek Him? In other words, do we believe that He will do what He says He will do? Are we truly seeking Him? Let’s add to our building blocks, the foundation of the relationship with Almighty God.
- God existed before us
- God created us
- God created mankind, not everything else, in His image
- God is who He says He is
- I am who God says I am
- God will do what He says He will do
- We must seek God in faith to draw near to Him
I will discuss some of this with my guest today, but remember there will be a more in-depth episode coming up, Prayer and Worship.
Each of the communication styles I mentioned have issues of its own, and all require some level of faith. Faith takes us beyond the intellectual knowledge to an assurance of the things we believe concerning God and the Kingdom of heaven.
- Prayer: speaking to God
- No visual or tangible way of knowing who we are communicating with
- Worship: acknowledging God for who He is
- Initially, at least, we have very little to base our worship upon until we build up some experience in the faithfulness of God
- Praise: acknowledging God for what He has done, is doing, and will do
- Becomes effective as we see that God, in fact, does do what He says He will do.
- Scripture: a record of historical events, revelation from God, and revelation of God
- By faith we accept the truth of God’s word; there are things that transpire to verify the truth of God’s word
- Hearing God: we must recognize the voice of God, thereby able to reject the voice of the deceiver
- We need to learn what it is to hear in the spirit and to know the leading of Holy Spirit, or at times, what may seem to be an audible voice
- A witness: a sense in one’s spirit that God is grabbing one’s attention
- We need to learn to discern when Holy Spirit is nudging us, or directing us, in a direction for a reason
- A prophetic word: a word from God delivered to us by another person
- We must learn who we can trust to be truly hearing from God and bringing forth accurate information
- Dreams and visions: scenes brought to us, whether we are asleep or awake, to deliver a message, a warning, or teach a lesson
- We must learn to discern which of these are from God, which are from the enemy, and which are just our subconscious trying to work something out
God wants to share His love with us, and He looks out for our good.
Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.
3 John 2 ESV
Is it going well with our soul? Draw near to God.