A Personal God

Dan Lenington on May 20, 2016


     Often we say that every person needs to have a personal relationship with God. However, some seem to have a hard time knowing how to relate to a God who doesn’t physically put his arm around us when we’re feeling bad, or speak audibly to us when we ask for advice. The Bible tells us that this type of personal fellowship with God was present in the garden of Eden before Adam and Eve sinned (Gen. 2-3). Sin ruined that level of intimate personal fellowship with God and separated us from Him.

Through the rest of Biblical history, God could only speak to people in limited ways. Sometimes, He would send an angel to deliver a message but the angel never stuck around (Judges 13). Sometimes, He would speak directly to individuals but He couldn’t show His face and these times were extremely rare and short lived (Ex. 33:11; Deut. 34:10). Most often He would give His message to a prophet to record and then speak to the intended audience (2 Sam. 7, 14). Over time these messages were compiled into what we now call the Bible. Most people in the Old Testament did not receive direct communication from God but were simply given God's law and recorded messages from the prophets from which to learn.

The sporadic nature of God's communication in the Old Testament is why it is so incredible that God took on human form in the person of Jesus Christ (Phil. 2:5-8). His followers could touch him and talk to Him directly. As much as we might wish that Jesus were still on earth today, He told His disciples that is was better for Him to leave, for then the Holy Spirit would come and dwell in believers (John 16:7).

The Holy Spirit is not just a force or influence. He comforts and teaches (John 14:26); He convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:8); He communicates our needs to God through the ministry of intercession (Rom. 8:26-27); He gives spiritual gifts to believers to use in strengthening the body (1 Cor. 12:11); lying to Him is lying to God (Acts 5:3); He can be resisted (Acts 7:51); He speaks and commissions (Acts 13:2-4); He directs (Acts 8:29); He spoke through the prophets (Acts 28:25); He can be ignored (1 Thess. 5:19); He has a mind (Rom. 8:27), will (Acts 13:2-4), and emotions (Eph. 4:30).

While we might miss having Jesus here with us physically, He could ony be in one place at a time helping one person at a time. However, the Holy Spirit has the advantage of being with us all the time. We communicate to God through prayer and He communicates to us through His Word in our thoughts. Someday we will get to sit down with Jesus in Heaven (Matt. 26:29. Until then, we have the Holy Spirit every moment to comfort, teach, and direct us. Plus, we have the full record of how God has instructed and worked with mankind throughout history in His perfect revelation of Himself, the Bible.