This webpage is designed as a launching pad for spiritual growth. For spiritual life to continue, the resurrection power of Jesus Christ must have already sparked within you the miracle of divine life, as detailed in You Can Find Love: What your Fantasies Reveal. If you have not already absorbed this fascinating webpage, I urge you to do so now. I also recommend you read the overview to this web book if you havenít already done so.
The enormity of what takes place when a person is spiritually born again is so mind-blowing that I can only sketch a few inadequate word pictures. It is becoming a sparkling, totally new person with abilities, status and destiny beyond your wildest dreams. It is:
falling in love
discovering a new dimension
receiving a last minute pardon on death row
discovering you are of royal descent; heir to a fortune and immense honor
embarking on lifeís most exciting adventure
finding your purpose in life
stumbling upon the secret of eternal life
after being the luckless black sheep suddenly becoming the darling of God himself
We had all foolishly rebelled against our Maker; selfishly hurting people and grieving God by violating his holy standards. The result was catastrophic. The God of holy perfection cannot relate to anyone morally flawed. We had cut ourselves off from Creator God and there is nothing we can do to regain the moral perfection required to be rejoined to the God we desperately need. Except for Jesus trading places with us, our predicament is totally hopeless. To be friends with God involves abandoning all hope of ever pleasing God by our own efforts and, instead, relying on Jesus to do it for us. We must trust Jesus to make us perfect in Godís sight and to give us the power to please God. We must then choose a life of fulfillment that revolves around God, with all other things being of lesser priority.
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(Links like this appear at the end of each section. Some of them are most valuable for gaining a deeper understanding.)
Constantly desire to know God more fully and more intimately
The more we fall in love with someone, the more totally we want to know that person. Take Moses and the Apostle Paul as examples. These great men of God, after having already experienced God in a very deep way, both expressed the yearning to know God in an even fuller, more intimate way (Exodus 33:13,18; Philippians 3:8,10).
Knowing God is so basic that it is the essential part of eternal life (John 17:3). It is the one thing worth boasting about (Jeremiah 9:24).
Even in intimate human relationships, getting to know someone fully is a life-long process. How much more should this be the case in getting to know God.
If we probe too deeply into the personal life of a human being, we must brace ourselves for disappointment. We will inevitably find faults in the person, but we never have to fear discovering a flaw in God. He is the most exciting, fascinating and wonderful person there is. His character is so beautiful that the more you know him the more you will fall in love with him.
Be convinced about Godís love for you
Above everything else, God is characterized by love (1 John 4:16). Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 to get some idea of all that this entails. But even more exciting than this is the realization that God personally loves you. The Almighty is not like a giant computer. You are not a statistic to him. He loves you in an exquisitely intimate way.
Were you to combine every form of genuine human love, it would only portray the vaguest shadow of the intensity of Godís love for you. (Read Matthew 7:11; Isaiah 49:15; Psalm 27:10.)
Godís love is like that which we would expect from a perfect:
Father (Psalm 103:13)
Mother (Isaiah 66:13)
Husband (Isaiah 62:5)
Brother (Hebrews 2:11)
Friend (John 15:13-15)
You might feel deeply hurt because others have let you down, but God will never disappoint you (John 6:37; Hebrews 13:5; Romans 10:11). Peopleís attitudes and affections change. God, in contrast, never changes (Malachi 3:6). He remains dependable no matter what.
You are exceedingly precious to God (Isaiah 43:4; 62:3). There is no love as great as Godís love and he loves you with all the love he has got. This means that he even loves you as much as he loves his eternal Ė only begotten, sinless Son Ė Jesus Christ (John 15:9; 17:23,26).
The enormity and constancy of Godís devotion to you is so staggering that you will probably need to read over and over again the above Scriptures about Godís love for you. Keep praying about this and memorizing these verses until you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Godís personal love for you far exceeds anything else you have ever experienced.
If someone says that he loves you, you need to know two things before you can believe it.
(1) That he is truthful.
(2) That he isnít mistaken Ė that he fully knows both you and his own heart.
God never lies (Numbers 23:19) and he is never mistaken (Psalms 147:5).
Genuine love is much deeper than mere feelings. You will not always be conscious of an inner feeling that Ďsaysí that God loves you. Feelings are changeable, but Godís love is constant.
Your relationship with God should be grounded not on fickle feelings but upon the integrity of Godís character. God is the most reliable source of information there is. If he says something, it is true, regardless of temporary and superficial appearances and how we happen to feel at the time. Our physical senses, intuition and emotions are all highly unreliable when it comes to detecting spiritual reality. For instance, virtually every genuine Christian on this planet has at times had an inner feeling that could be interpreted to mean that God has deserted them. In reality, you can know he is still with you because God has promised to be always with you (Matthew 28:20) but you will need to trust that promise. To give another example; it is not uncommon for a Christian to be absolutely pure in Godís sight and yet still feel guilty.
If a pilot were to place more credence upon his feelings (whether he Ďfeltí that his plane was upright, etc.) than on his planeís instrumentation he would be in great danger. Godís Word is 100% reliable, but our feelings lack that reliability. The only safe thing is to place full confidence in Godís Word.
Because of your spiritual oneness with Jesus Christ, God sees you as someone infinitely attractive, desirable and lovable. Before you committed your life to Christ, God loved you, not because he found you spiritually, morally or physically attractive, but simply because it is his very nature to love. He loves even his enemies. However, since you trusted Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins, you are now identified with Jesus. In other words, when God looks at you, he sees the beauty, purity and perfection of Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:27; 1 John 4:17). (Of course, you are not Jesus! But you enjoy an extremely intimate union with him Ė John 15:5; 1 Corinthians 6:17; Ephesians 5:30; etc.) When God looks at you, he therefore sees a person of infinite value, beauty, purity, goodness Ė in fact, all of the virtues of his Son Jesus. For example, your Holy God no longer sees your past sins. He sees you as having the moral excellence of the Lord Jesus (2 Corinthians. 5:21).
It is difficult to illustrate this truth, because what the Lord has done for you is so extensive and miraculous that it is without parallel. But the following example may be of a little help. If a commoner were to marry a king, she would take on a whole new dignity, not because of her own virtues or abilities, but because of her relationship with the king. Likewise, you have suddenly become ever so important because of your relationship with King Jesus.
Also, because you are allowing God to do what he likes in your life, he is gradually changing you (2 Corinthians 3:18) so that one day you will be completely Christ-like (Romans 8:29; 1 Corinthians 15:49; 1 John 3:2). So when your Maker looks at you now, he sees the perfect person that you will become when he completes his work in your life (Colossians 1:22,27).
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God is good!
We canít hope to enjoy intimacy with someone whose integrity we doubt. So if you happen to have any uncertainties about Godís goodness, wisdom, justice, or whatever, it is important to bring these concerns out into the open. Carefully examine your doubts in the light of Scripture, and pray about them. Continue this process until you are convinced that God is completely Ďin the clearí, though, of course, you still may not fully understand all of the factors involved. Instead of vainly trying to suppress nagging concerns, endeavor to remove them by getting to know your loving Lord better. It is unwise merely to suppress doubts, because Satan, our spiritual enemy, will not fail to remind you of them at a time when those doubts will do you the greatest harm.
We are often tempted to blame the Creator for things he didnít do. Love is meaningless unless there is the possibility of not loving. (Who of us would be content with a relationship with a doll that said ĎI love youí every time a button is pressed?) God has made many things incapable of sinning (rocks, plants, fish, etc.) but they are also incapable of true love. God has also made some beings that are capable of having a love affair with him. They are angelic beings and man himself. But because they are capable of full-blown love, they are also capable of terminating that relationship. This is what both some angels (Satan and his demons) and humanity have done. They were all created good but they deliberately misused Godís greatest gift to them and chose to act in a manner contrary to Godís goodness.
The devilís dirtiest trick is to do something evil and then try to accuse God of having done it. Furthermore, many people get themselves into a thorough mess by acting foolishly (such as ignoring God), and then have the audacity to blame God for the resulting disaster (Proverbs 19:3; Job. 40:8) They accuse God of injustice when they themselves are being unjust by falsely accusing God.
If those who hold a grudge against God knew the gravity of their own sin, and the mercy of God, they would (or should) be thoroughly ashamed of their attitude (Romans 3:19; Isaiah 45:24). Our consciences have become so hardened that few of us realize that we each have been so evil that we should have been thrown into Hell years ago (Genesis 2:17; Ezekiel 18:4; Matthew 5:22; Revelation 21:8). If we understood this, we would never again ask God to give us what we deserve! Itís a very sobering thought to realize that even if we suffered immensely, we would still be receiving more mercy and kindness than our sins deserve (Ezra 9:13; Psalm 103:10-11; Lamentations 3:22,39). This is a difficult concept to grasp and we tend to rebel against it because it completely crushes our ego, but the more we face this shattering truth, the freer we become.
Some people have the mistaken idea that the Lord of creation is cruel because he sentences people to hell. Regrettably, many people will suffer eternal anguish in Hell (Matthew 7:13-14; 25:41,46; Mark 9:47-48; Luke 12:5; 16:22-28; John 5:29) but this is not because it is Godís wish for them (Ezekiel 33:11; Matthew 18:14; 2 Peter 3:9). Our loving God went to the extreme of sending his only son to die so that everyone might be saved (John 3:16; 1 Timothy 2:4,6; Hebrews 2:9; 1 John 2:2). But sin is so evil that Hell is the only alternative for those who ignore Godís offer to make them clean (2 Thessalonians 1:8,9; Hebrews 2:2-3; 10:28-29).
The Lord has the right to do whatever he likes with us because he owns us (due to the fact that he made us). But God is not some sort of arrogant tyrant. It is true he expects us to worship him and put him first in our lives, but this is the only thing that will keep us from being self-centered (or earth- centered) and from getting into all sorts of serious problems (Matthew 11:28; John 10:10; 15:4-5).
The King of kings can not only be entrusted with absolute power, he alone fully deserves that power (Revelation 5:12,13; 11:15-17; Romans 3:4-6; Isaiah 26:9; Job 34:12-19). He alone is able to make perfect decisions (Psalm 18:30; 19:7; Romans 12:2) because he knows everything (1 Kings 8:39; Psalm 139:6; Jeremiah 23:23-24). In fact, he is the very Source of wisdom (Proverbs 2:6; Daniel. 2:21). Godís sense of justice is flawless (Psalm 51:4; 89:14; Zephaniah 3:5; Romans 9:14; Revelation 15:3,4; l6:5-7). He is absolutely fair (Deuteronomy 10:17-18).
Godís knowledge and wisdom are so far beyond us (Isaiah 55:9, Romans 11:33-34) that it would be impossible for us to try to find fault with Godís actions (Romans 9:20). To attempt to criticize our Maker is both foolish and morally wrong (Psalm 131:1; Isaiah 45:9; Psalm 131:1). He is our judge, not vice versa (Isaiah 29:16).
But God is not a cold-hearted perfectionist. He is totally good (Psalm 119:68; 145:9,14-17) and compassionate (2 Corinthians 1:3-4; 7:6). He not only understands our human limitations (Psalm 78:38-39; 103:13-14) but he has experienced them (Hebrews 4:15). Like the perfect leader he is, Jesus never asks us to do anything that he wouldnít do himself. But more than this, no matter what he may require of us, he has almost certainly already personally experienced the same sort of difficulties that we may encounter (Luke 6:35,36; John 15:17-20; Philippians 2:5; 1 Peter 2:20-21; 1 John 3:16; Revelation 3:21).
Contrast the lust for power exhibited by Adam and Eve (who wanted to become like God Ė Genesis 3:4-6) with the humility and sacrificial love of Jesus, the Eternal Son of God who, although God, humbled himself to become man (Philippians 2:6-8; John 13:3-5; Mark 10:45). God is so majestic that he has to humble himself to even look at the earth (Psalm 113:4-6), and yet he despises no-one (Job 36:5; Ps 138:6).
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Relax. Know that you are in Godís strong, capable hands. There is no need to fear or fret about a thing. The Lord is in control and he is eager to sort out all your problems.
The tender love of God is shown in the heart of Jesus. Imagine the anguish and frustration Jesus must have felt when he said, Ď0 Jerusalem, Jerusalem . . . How often I have yearned to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her young around her, but you wouldnít let meí (Luke 13:34).
Itís the same today. Jesus longs to help you, but itís up to you whether you let him. ĎLeave your worries with him . . .í (1 Peter 5:7). When we ask Jesusí help but we continue to worry, itís obvious that we have not left our worries with him. We have taken them back again!
Trust (or faith) is one of the most crucial things in your ever-growing relationship with God. The level of a personís faith is extremely important to Jesus. During his earthly ministry he would often seek to ascertain how much faith a person was exercising (Matthew 9:28; Mark 2:5). He was quick to praise those who displayed great faith (Matthew 8:10; 15:28), but one of the things that grieved him greatly was smallness of faith (Matthew 6:30; 8:26; 14:31; 16:8; 17:17; Mark 16:14). On a number of occasions, miracles failed to occur because of unbelief (Matthew 13:58; 14:29-31; 17:16-17).
Faith means believing that God not only can do a certain thing, but that he will do it for you. The power of such faith is not the power of positive thinking. It is the power of the majestic Lord himself. God releases this power on your behalf when you place full reliance upon the fact that God is utterly able and willing to help you. Once you start exercising this kind of faith, everything is possible (Mark 9:23) because everything is possible with your wonderful God (Mark 10:27).
When you hear of God doing the miraculous, donít think that it is restricted to certain eras or people (John 14:12). The Bible is filled with accounts of ordinary people who performed extraordinary feats due solely to their faith in God (Hebrew 11). The God who performed countless miracles in biblical times lives in you (Ephesians 3:20). ĎSince your loving Lord has freely given you his most precious possession (his only Son), he will withhold nothing from youí (Romans 8:32). So expect great things from God. But donít let your faith waver (James 1:6-8). Be persistent in your believing.
Faith is vital to every area of your spiritual life. Through it, you receive not only forgiveness (eg. Romans 1:17) and eternal life (eg. John 3:16) but faith is the only means by which you can receive every other blessing that God has promised you (Hebrews 6:12). Your faith must be specific Ė believe that God will at this point in time, meet the particular need that you have brought to God in prayer. Faith is basic to:
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Pleasing God (Hebrews 11:6)
Receiving the Holy Spirit and growing spiritually (Galatians 3:2-3)
Overcoming temptation (1 John 5:4)
Answered prayer (Mark 11:24; James 1:6-7)
Healing (Matthew 9:22; James 5:15)
And so on.
Recognize whoís boss!
God is God! His decisions are totally wise, good and unselfish. They can never be improved upon. The smartest thing we could ever do is obey them promptly .
You must make Jesus your Lord (absolute master) in order to be saved from the eternal consequences of sin (Romans 10:9 c.f. Matthew 7:21-23). The whole basis of sin, and the reason why this world is in such a mess is because people have insisted on doing Ďtheir own thingí instead of doing what God knows to be best. This has eternal repercussions! If needed, change your attitude now before itís too late. Donít Break Godís heart. He only wants what is absolutely best for you (Ezekiel 33:11; John 10:9-14).
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Donít settle for a half-hearted love affair
Be totally devoted to Jesus. Anything less than total devotion is actually nauseating to him (Revelation 3:16). You are called to be a Ď100 per cent-erí in a world of Ď50 per cent-ersí.
The Bible says, ĎWhatever you do, do it with all your mightí (Ecclesiastes 9:10). Those who are dedicated get immensely more out of life than those who are not. This is especially true of Christianity. And do it for the Lord (1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17,23).
Our dedication must be such that, for Jesusí sake, we would be willing to lose all our possessions (Luke 14:33; Hebrews 10:32-36), suffer pain, and even die (Hebrews 11:35-38; Acts 20:24; Luke 17:33).
If you suffer because of your relationship with Jesus, you will share his glory. That glory will far outweigh any suffering you could possibly experience in this life (Romans 8:17,18; 2 Corinthians 4:17). ĎBut as for the cowards . . . their place is in the lake burning with fire and brimstone which is the second deathí (Revelation 21:8). In other words, those who are not prepared to suffer severe persecution for their Divine Lover will suffer for it for the whole of eternity in Hell. That is a very sobering thought. But Jesus is worth dying for. He has already suffered and died for you. Just trust him. He will give you the strength for every situation. (See Matthew 5:11-12; 10:16-39; 1 Peter 1:6-8).
We must completely leave our old sinful life and not longingly look back to it (Luke 9:62). Wives of political leaders often represent their husbands at official functions. People expect them to reflect the integrity and dedication of their husbands. Similarly, we are Godís representatives (2 Corinthians 5:20) and our lives should therefore reflect his integrity.
Only God can remove sin from your life, but as a true lover of Jesus, you will want to do the little you can to rectify matters.
Return (or pay for) anything you have ever stolen (Ezekiel 33:15; Luke 19:8). Donít allow anyone to continue believing a lie you have told. Destroy anything you possess that is associated with the occult, or other false religions, irrespective of its material or sentimental value (Acts 19:19; Isaiah 27:9; 2 Kings 23:4). Always be available to help those who do not love Jesus but avoid being so close to them that they influence your thinking and values. (Psalm 1:1; Proverbs 13:20; 1 Corinthians 15:33; 1 Peter 4:3-5). Pay your debts (Romans 13:8).
Offer to pay for any damage you have caused to other peopleís possessions (eg. Exodus 22:5-6). Apologize to anyone you have been angry with (unless they are unaware of it and your apology would merely increase their distress). And so on.
Give yourself (and all youíve got Ė time, abilities, money, possessions, and so on) fully to your Master. Keep nothing back. You will never regret it.
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