Sunday, 26 October 2014

Intimacy with God – Administering His Authority (Part I)

In creation we were also gifted with God’s authority. God blessed us and gave us the authority to be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, subdue it and have dominion over all the earth. This was an operational, as well as an administrative authority. We had to be fully engaged and subject to God in exercising this authority. The five-fold function listed above constituted our responsibility.
In other words, this was a legal position, where we functioned under God, exercising His authority over all of creation. Creation was in our care. There were several powers and systems that were also in operation within creation; all of these were subject to our authority, as we functioned under God. This was a marvellous arrangement and an awesome status for man.
It was obvious that we would never be able to handle this grand authority without God. We had to be God dependent. God dependence came naturally to us as we were enjoying intimacy with God resulting in us expressing God’s nature. (Here is a glimpse of what sin really is. Sin is being independent from God.)
To exercise authority over creation, we needed to be close and intimate with God. We had to discern His plan and purposes. We needed to listen to Him and learn from Him. We were to be subject to God.
It’s like taking charge of the operation of a department from the CEO of the company. The CEO has plans and purposes. He has a larger mandate for the company, but he has delegated the authority of the department to an individual. How should this person, heading the department, relate with the CEO? Would it not be natural for the department head to have constant interaction with the CEO, listening to him, understanding his purpose for the department and how it fits with the larger purpose of the company? In other words, the head of the department would need to be subject to the CEO.
This is just a microscopic example of the larger mandate for mankind. We were given authority over all of creation under God. We were endued with all the needed potential to handle such a mammoth task. This was not beyond us since we were created by God for this purpose, to execute His authority over all of creation.
Hence, man must be subject to God in order to function rightly and exercise His authority over all of creation. The need for intimacy with God is mandatory for several reasons, but not being close to and in subjection to Him, has scary and frightening consequences. Man, on his own, is dangerous - a hazard and a disaster. Subjection to God is therefore the starting point for an intimate relationship with God.   

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Intimacy With God - Willing His Will

God created man in His image. Creating man in His image meant that we resemble God in His character and nature. Though there are certain attributes of God, such as omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence that we do not have, we can exhibit all the other characteristics of God such as love, faithfulness, peace, joy, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness and many more. In creating us in His image, He also gave us free will.
Giving man free will was a huge endowment bestowed on us at creation. We were free to love God by willing His will over our will and we were also free to defy, rebel and reject God. This was the extent of God’s great love for us. He trusted us and gave us the complete freedom to submit to Him or reject Him. He longed that we would remain in submission to Him. All of the beautiful aspects of God’s character and nature would flow through us as we sought Him and willed His will. This required that we were to constantly relate with Him and seek His will over ours.
The challenge was to reject our will and will His will. This was not a difficult challenge for us since we were enjoying full access to His nature and this gave us joy overflowing and peace that passed all understanding. His joy remained in us for He looked at us and said, “Behold my beloved children in whom I am well pleased.” We can now understand, why He cried out these words for Jesus, because He, Jesus, was willing His will.
God expected us to love Him and the proof of that love would be to willingly will His will over our will. This is not about just doing His will, but going a step deeper and willing His will. In the love relationship that we had with God, this should not have been difficult at all. We knew that as we fully surrendered our will to His, we expressed all of His nature. Remember ... our Lord's prayer ... "Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven".
This was what Adam and Eve enjoyed in Genesis 1 & 2. This beautiful experience is the foundation of the Kingdom rule of God. Genesis 1 & 2 therefore, is a full blown narrative of the Kingdom rule of God on earth. God’s will was expressed through us. Man was truly fully empowered. All his potential was in full display, while he remained willing God’s will.
It also meant that while Man was willing His will, he was in constant relationship with God. This is intimacy with God. Intimacy with God is not just about having quiet time, consisting of prayer and Bible study; intimacy with God is a constant relationship with our Creator, where we seek His will by submitting our will to His. Prayer and Bible study are the substances that propel us to the joy of intimacy and submission to God’s will.
Man thinks that freedom is to will his (man’s) will. This was the lie that Satan foisted on man. We can now catch a glimpse of sin. (Sin is willing our will by rejecting God's will) We will discuss the matter of sin later, but the foundation of a relationship with God is to love God by willing His will. Jesus said “If you love me keep my commandments.”