A Personal Savior

Once upon a time, I regarded emotion as a sign of weakness. The strong did not cry, nor did they laugh too much. It was best, I thought, to live above one’s emotions. Life was about thinking clearly, learning the ‘right’ concepts, and seeking to be self-sufficient. Then, I grew up! Perhaps some would say, I became more human. In truth, the Spirit of God healed me and gave me a new heart. Through some painful experiences I learned that emotions have real purpose. I endured a bout with depression that was caused, in part at least, by my refusal to express my emotions in a healthy way. In spite of being raised in a church tradition that is known for emotional expression, I was reluctant to let my faith touch my heart. My Christian faith became much deeper when my heart was restored, for I discovered that God is not just a Concept to learn; He is a Person to know. I was no longer afraid of people who were actually passionate about God and my relationship to God was transformed from dutiful obedience to genuine love for Him.

If asked, most Americans would say that God is a Person. The Bible, from which we learn about Him, is rich with personal language about Him: God loves, God provides, God is our Father. But despite acknowledging the theological truth, many do not relate to God as a Person. God, for many, is an Idea, a distant Force, or a remote Figure- unknown. They may recite an orthodox creed, go through accepted rituals, and even live by a moral code as an expression of their Christian religion, but it is all very sterile, very intellectual, and bloodless!

Reading through the Gospels which tell the stories of Jesus, the Man who came to live among us and to show us the face of God, we see a real Person who was fully engaged with those around Him. He was a true Friend to real people. He empathized, loved, shed tears, and shared jokes! And He said, “I and the Father are one.” John writes, “The only Son, who is truly God and is closest to the Father, has shown us what God is like.” (John 1:18, CEV)

What does this mean for us? It means that we can share our lives with God, that we can know Him, relate to Him; yes, really love Him! Those without faith may mock us, or think that we being childish – rather like the little girl having a tea party with an imaginary friend. But we will know Him and sense His Presence because, though He is invisible to us, He lives with us, by His Spirit! This will change how we live.

In the Word, we are told that “we have a great High Priest who has gone to heaven, Jesus the Son of God. Let us cling to him and never stop trusting him. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same temptations we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it.” (Hebrews 4:14-16, NLT) In a world that is depersonalized, where we often feel like a number or a function, where we live in multiple environments each making different demands of us; there is One who cares for us, who loves us, who knows our greatest fears, our secret dreams, our hidden sins, our public successes, and our heart! He loves us and desires that we love Him. He is our Personal Savior- accessible and understanding.

So what’s your need today?
Is it for guidance? Is it forgiveness? Is it empowering to tackle some new task?
Is it strength to stand up to evil, to make a Kingdom difference? Is it just for Someone to care and share your joy and/or sorrows?

Come to the Savior! He is our Friend.
Find a quiet place and talk with him in prayer, making it personal.
Then, wait; listen, and receive the grace that He promises to those who love Him.
___________________________

What a friend I’ve found,
Closer than a brother;
I have felt Your touch,
More intimate than lovers.

What a hope I’ve found,
More faithful than a mother;
It would break my heart
To ever lose each other.

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus — Friend forever.

What A Friend I’ve Found
Smith, Martin
Copyright: 1996 Curious? Music UK (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing)

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