Letters on Spiritual Formation #3
God is Light, You are Light
This is article is part of a series of letters on spiritual growth and maturity. To read the previous letter in the series, click here.
We can probably all agree that when you were lovingly crafted, God had conceived a specific image in mind about you.
As David said, “His thoughts toward us are as numerous as the sands on the seashore." (Psalm 139:18, paraphrased)
Think about that for a moment. If you were to scoop up a handful of sand, how many bits of sand would there be in that one scoop? Far more than you could count. Amplify that one handful a million times. God has a lot of thoughts about you. He had a design in mind when you were "being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth..."
The Bible records many things about many different people. Throughout it, we are given intimate snapshots into the lives of some of the most renowned men and women in history, and the dealings they had with the Divine being we call God.
What did God say, and how did he say it?
Did he always say the same thing?
Was each person just a cardboard cutout that had no uniqueness?
There is incredible value in knowing what God has said, and how God has spoken about himself and about the men and women in the Bible.
A cursory glance over scripture shows us that he does not say the same thing about each individual. He called David a man after his own heart and challenged him to seek the face of God, he called Moses a friend of God and claimed to have a first name relationship with him, Daniel was created to be an interpreter of enigmas and mysteries, Paul was the least of all sinners and was admonished to allow the power of God to be perfected in his weakness. Each had a unique and personal experience of God. Abraham walked in abundant blessing, but John the Baptist lived in the wilderness while eating honey and wild locusts. Jeremiah was rejected as a prophet, while Samuel was loved.
The list goes on when it comes to the differences between all of the men and women of the Bible. You can move into history and see that the men and women that shaped theology and doctrine were created in vastly different ways. Augustine and Tertullian were incredibly deep thinkers, Bernard of Clairvaux was caught up with the love of God, Teresa of Avila and Brother Lawrence were intensely concerned with prayer, John of the Cross and Dionysius were experts on spiritual formation. You and I are incredibly different. This vast, uncreated, infinite God designed each one of us uniquely.
There are numerous examples in scripture where, in a moment, God defines an individual.
For Moses he said, "I have known you by name and you have found favor in my sight" and "the man Moses was the most humble man on the face of the earth." For David he whispered, "You are my friend," and "Seek my face."
For Paul his statements were, "My grace is sufficient," and "My power is perfected in your weakness."
For Jesus it was, "You are my beloved son, in you I am pleased."
Each one of those moments resonated throughout the entire life of the individual. They became demarcation moments. These tangible statements shaped their “identity in Christ.”
Somewhere in the core of your being is a place designed to resonate with statements such as these. When God created you, he placed something within you that only he can unlock. Men like Paul spent an incredible amount of effort and energy to try and discover those things prior to meeting Jesus. Only Jesus can unlock the very thing you were designed and created to be. He is truth, and he created a place to contain his truth within you. The problem of truth is that what we believe to be true becomes true to us, even if it is not true.
The "truth" that we hold does not always align with who God is and what he has said.