Monday, September 29, 2008

God can't be put in a box

I used to believe that when faced with a problem or dealing with any situation that I could go to “God’s word,” pull out a promise and claim it as my own. I would tell God that I was putting him in remembrance of his word and that since he isn’t a man that he should lie, I expected him to keep his promise. The only problem is that he never made that promise to ME.

There are a lot of things that we’ve been taught over the years that I’ve since found out aren’t true. This is especially true of the traditions that have developed about the Bible.

The Bible has traditionally been called the word of God. I’ve now come to believe, that only the Old Testament can claim that title. In the Old Covenant, the people didn’t have the Holy Spirit living in them as we now do so the only way they could hear God was through his written word. Today, however, we have the Holy Spirit living in us who speaks to us and he is our teacher and guide. John 1 says that Jesus is the Word made flesh. Although the Bible is an aid in helping us to know Father better, I no longer believe we can call it the word of God. That title belongs only to Jesus.

In the past, when reading the Bible, I would be thrilled to read about the exciting things that God had done for his people and the promises he had given them. However, I failed to understand that although the Bible was written for me, it wasn’t written to me. While reading the Bible, I can learn how Father related to his people in the past and I can be encouraged by reading what they learned. However, I can no longer expect that I can automatically take their experiences word for word and action for action and expect God to do the same thing for me. This understanding means that I can no longer look at God as a safe God that I can put in my own personal box. I can no longer expect that because he did something for other people in another time and place that he’s now bound to do it for me.

I found that despite my constant confession of certain scriptures, he didn’t always do what I wanted him to do. I was always left wondering what was wrong. Maybe I hadn’t been diligent enough in confessing the promises. Maybe I hadn’t used the correct wording and had changed an “an” into a “the.” There was always an uncomfortable feeling that I hadn’t done enough.

Understanding that I can’t just take the promises given to someone else and apply them to my circumstances has been very freeing. It now requires me to actually develop my own relationship with God where I hear him speak to me in a way that is unique to me. This can seem scary but a number of years ago, I learned that even when I can’t trust myself to follow him, I can trust him to lead me. That has freed me from a lot of stress. I’ve learned that he actually wants this relationship more than I do and he’ll do whatever it takes to help me to get to know him.

Darin Hufford has posted an excellent blog on the subject of what a relationship with God looks like. If you’re struggling in this area, you might want to read what Darin has to say. If you’re interested, follow this link.

12 comments:

Amy said...

Aida,
I could really resonate with this blogpost!! What Papa has been doing in your heart has been really similar with what He's been doing, showing, revealing, pouring His love into mine!! (As well, you type/write a lot like me...what's with that eh?! Ha!)

I loved what you said here:
"Understanding that I can’t just take the promises given to someone else and apply them to my circumstances has been very freeing. It now requires me to actually develop my own relationship with God where I hear him speak to me in a way that is unique to me. This can seem scary but a number of years ago, I learned that even when I can’t trust myself to follow him, I can trust him to lead me. That has freed me from a lot of stress. I’ve learned that he actually wants this relationship more than I do and he’ll do whatever it takes to help me to get to know him."

Amen, amen!

As well, I loved Darin's recent Relationship post. Such good, good stuff.

Blessings,
~Amy :)
http://amyiswalkinginthespirit.blogspot.com

Aida said...

Thanks, Amy. I think you and I are really kindred spirit in this journey of growing in our knowledge of Father's love and affection. I guess it rubs off in all sorts of ways. LOL

I knew others might not agree with what I shared but I wanted to be open and share what's really on my heart. I think it's exciting to know that others are learning the same thing and living in greater freedom because of it.

Bino M. said...

Aida,
I think I know what you are saying here. I have heard people picking OT characters and show how God worked in their lives, and try to apply the same principle to us today. While I believe there is nothing wrong in drawing certain principles from the OT personalities, it is not be copied as it is. We are not to copy even Jesus. We can't! If we do, we better covert water into wine and walk on water. The uniqueness in all of us have to be kept as it is. Otherwise, why would God create all of unique in the first place?
Talking about Bible, people can pretty much interpret any verse in any way or form as they desire or based on their prejudices. But it takes Holy Spirit to divide the word rightly. One of the principle which helps me a lot when it comes to biblical interpretation is to check whether the particular passage is applicable to those who are under Old Covenant or New Covenant. It is the New Covenant, which came into effect through the death of Christ, what makes all the difference.

Though we have Holy Spirit today, I still wouldn't throw the Bible, because a lot of our feelings/emotions can be mistaken for Holy Spirit's promptings. So, to me the foundation is the still the New Covenant truths mostly written by Apostle Paul in the Epistles. But yes, I don't live by Bible, I live by the life of Christ in me. Bible testifies to me about the truth of who I am in Christ Jesus.

Aida said...

I love what you shared here, Bino, and I agree with you. I love what you said about it's not to be copied.

In the past, I've found myself trying to copy the experiences I read about in the Bible and, of course, it never ended the same way so I would just get frustrated. It's been very freeing to learn that Father wants to have a unique experience with me with unique encounters. I love that about him. Mine isn't a cookie cutter faith.

I do the same thing. I believe it's wise to first determine if the verse is Old Testamant or New Testament. That helps me greatly in determining if it's for us today.

"But yes, I don't live by Bible, I live by the life of Christ in me. Bible testifies to me about the truth of who I am in Christ Jesus."

Very well said, Bino. You said in two sentences what it took me an entire blog to say. Thanks for sharing.

silent wings said...

Hi Aida,

Just an aside, concerning the Holy spirit....

My mom and I were talking and wondering last night about how the prophets and the disciples who walked with Jesus moved in signs and wonders PRIOR to the finished work of the cross....what has significantly happened regarding the supernatural ways of God now that we are under a new covenant? I ask because you mentioned in this post that under the old covenant the people did not have the Holy spirit living inside them, so the only way they could hear God was through the written word. However, what about Enoch, Noah, and Abraham who walked with God and "heard" his voice before the torah was written?

Any thoughts?

Aida said...

Great comments, Silent Wings. I should have added more details to my post.

Old Covenant believers didn't have the Holy Spirit the way we have him. What I wrote was meant for the period of time after the giving of the law. Prior to the law, believers such as Abraham heard God speak to them without the need for a Bible. This in my opinion is additional proof that we're not to look at the Bible as our handbook for living. Our covenant is a better covenant based on better promises so if they could hear his voice without depending on a book, it seems logical that we should also be able to.

The disciples who walked with Jesus operated under his authority and the miracles they did were under his authority because he was still with them and their faith activated the miracles. Today, we still operate under his authority because he is still with us. The difference is that instead of his physical presence, we now have his Holy Spirit in us.

The Holy Spirit has always been the one doing the miracles. The difference is that he's now "in" us instead of just being "with" us. I hope I've made my thoughts a little bit clearer.

silent wings said...

Yes you have, thankyou. :) I am so hungry to know the joy and intimacy of the simple fellowship they experienced. I have struggled for a long time with confidence in my ability to hear clearly, especially when I would hear him speak often "through his word" and know now that many of the things I heard were related to old covenant thinking. That can make it a bit tricky and confusing.

Aida said...

Silent wings, I can understand. It's definitely a growing process but I know that Father put that hunger in you so he will satisfy you.

My confidence in hearing his voice grew when I understood that where I fall short, he's there and has already given me all that I need. Understanding that I can trust him to lead me has been freeing. It's taken all of the burden off of me because I know that even if I miss it, he'll bring me back to the right path. Also, as I continue to follow where I believe he's leading,I'll become more and more accurate.

Be encouraged. This is an exciting journey and Father will not pounce on you if you miss it. He'll just gently and lovingly move you back onto the right path.

silent wings said...

Thanks Aida,your words are very encouraging :)
And how true...TRUSTING His leading is becoming more enjoyable now that I am walking less in fear and more confidant in His love for me.

Aida said...

Thanks, silent wings. It sounds to me like you're growing in your relationship with God so just keep moving forward trusting that he will fulfill the desire he's placed in your heart.

If you'd like to talk more, feel free to contact me by email. My contact info is given in my profile.

Carol said...

Hello Aida. Hope you are well. I discovered your site recently through discovering Darin's site. I have been reading your older entries daily. They are so helpful. This particular article has really been very freeing. I use to stand on certain promises from the Bible for healing, financial needs, protection and so forth. It seems none of these requests were answered. I was so frustrated and actually angry. The TV evangelists will make you think that you are the problem if your prayers aren't answered and especially if you didn't tuck in a little love offering. I just stopped pulling scriptures out of the Bible to repeat over and over. It was much too stressful. I am so thankful that we have Holy Spirit.
I now know my identity in Christ. He gives me gentle nudges that are unique to me. You have such a beautiful personality. I feel as though I know you personally.

Aida said...

It’s great to hear from you, Carol, and to know that what I wrote is still encouraging free believers on their journey. I can totally relate to how you feel. No matter what I did, I was never certain if it was enough. Even when my prayers were answered the way I wanted them to be, there was never any assurance that I would get what I wanted the next time. Now, I’ve discovered the freedom of just trusting God and knowing that however it turns out, he’ll be with me so it’s going to be okay.

I appreciate your encouragement and it’s wonderful to know that I have a new friend. You sound pretty awesome yourself. Thank you for taking the time to comment.