By Benjamin H. Liles
"We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him. We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life" (1 John 5:18-20, New King James).
I know it doesn't say it exactly how I'm going to say it from this verse, but the phrase "it's all about who you know" comes to mind (in quotes from a Petra song titled All About Who You Know, from their very last album Jekyll and Hyde, 2003). I know a lot of people want to sit there and either say, "But you can't seriously know God" or "God doesn't exist." I contend He does.
If there is no God, why is it in the Bible, where it says, "God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth" (Genesis 1:28)?
Let's also factor in those God called out as well, men such as Abraham and his wife, Sarah: "The LORD said to Abram: Go out from your land, your relatives, and your father's house to the land I will show you...So Abram went, as the LORD had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran" (Genesis 12:1-4, Holman Christian Standard).
Even if we call to mind Jesus called twelve fishermen to his side to learn from him; men who got to know the Christ of Israel, learning how to disciple others, to love and feed others, to give others compassion. Is this not also God come in the flesh? For God said through Isaiah, "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and she will call Him Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14, Berean Study), and Matthew adds on saying, "which means, 'God with us'" (Matthew 1:23).
Scripture can and does speak to us if we allow ourselves the right to open to God, even if it's begrudgingly. It took me a great deal of a long time to wrap my head around the fact that the God who made everything, from the heavens, the stars in the sky, the moon and planets, also made the sky, the seas, even the earth--and He wants to walk and talk with little old me! He wants to be personal with you as well.
Think on it this way: we all have at least one good friend we talk to and confide in, one who understands us, shows us compassion and an amount of empathy and advice. Well, God desires that same kind of love and attention from you. He doesn't want the leftovers, however. What He wants is to be the first Friend you turn to. I know I fail on this daily, but I don't ever forget His grace and compassionate love for me is to acknowledge Him, to give thanks to Him, and to give Him glory where it's due. If it weren't for God I wouldn't have come to the conclusion God wants me and my attention, through the atoning work of Jesus Christ who died in my place so God's wrath wouldn't remain on me.
In another Petra song, and this is before John Schlitt joined as lead singer, Greg Volz sings, "I can be friends with you, there's no better friend that a man can know...Greater love has no man this this, than a man lays his life down for his friend. You laid it down for all the world to see, your love for me." And we can have this in spades if we allow ourselves to be open to the fact God is there; He is real. He chose you to bear His light, His glory and name, but you have to be willing to see this for yourself or His wrath remains on you.
The only thing I will apologize for is the fact that this may rub you wrong. God calls those who are ready, humble, willing, and able to think on what He has to say to each of us. Can you do that? I praise God for all of you for sticking with me. And I also want to take the time to pray this encourages and shows you how much I love Him and He is so very willing to love you as well. And He has otherwise Christ wouldn't have died in your place, so your sins could be forgiven you. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.