“Being formed into the likeness of Christ must include being informed of the character of God.”
To know God (That is, to know God as He truly is) is the single most important thing that we can do. Knowing God is a sanctifying and continuous experience. Romans 8:29 says, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” We, as God’s kids, are on the journey of sanctification, which will end with us sharing a resemblance with Christ as the firstborn – the oldest brother – in the family of God. But being formed into the likeness of Christ must include being informed of the character of God. There must be a true and increasing understanding of who God is. To think that I could know and love my wife simply because we’re married is absurd. Instead, I have a deep desire to know and love my wife continually because of who she is and the significance of the marriage relationship. How much more ought I to be motivated to know and love my Heavenly Father because of who He is and the significance of my relationship with Him!
“In an effort to revere God for His greatness, I failed to find joy in knowing and experiencing His goodness.”
There have been instances where a lack of reverence for God bothered me. Whether from the guys saying Jesus is their “homeboy” or girls referring to God or Jesus as “the only boyfriend they need,” this language, to me, showed a lack of reverence and an insufficient understanding of God (and “boyfriends” for that matter!). My preference was to instead approach God in somber recognition of our sinfulness, and our undeserving nature. I reminded myself, and others, that we are undeserving of grace and our sins have been pardoned, and we have a righteous standing before God because of Jesus’ obedience and God’s love. My demeanor and language when discussing God’s Word and His character would have suggested that I was sad, bored, tired, perhaps simply contemplative, but never joyful. In an effort to revere God for His greatness, I failed to find joy in knowing and experiencing His goodness.
“My sin means I must come to Jesus. God’s goodness means I get to come to Jesus.
Even now I find myself regretting that I don’t more frequently meditate on the goodness of God. God is unchanging in every aspect of who He is. The goodness of God is behind every single thing that He does. A.W. Tozer in “Knowledge of the Holy” wrote of God, “He has never been kinder than He now is, nor will He ever be less kind.” He then goes on to say that “the greatness of God rouses fear in us but the goodness of God tells us not to be afraid.” It is because of God’s goodness that we can be joyful! His greatness means that no power can overcome His power, and His goodness allows us to be blessed and loved by His power! These are reasons for joy, and not only in the doctrinal understanding of his goodness, but in the experiential sense! We are blessed by experiencing the goodness of His presence when we gather together to sing His praise and hear His word preached! We are blessed by experiencing His goodness in times of quiet prayer and personal devotion! Circumstances of life are constantly changing, and tragedy and brokenness are inescapable and abundant in this world. This gives us all the more reason to know and experience the goodness of God in order to equip us to hold on to the hope that we have in Jesus. The goodness of God reminds me that spiritual disciplines are not an “I have to” but they are an “I get to.” Jesus invites us to come to him in Matthew 11, and he promises that he will give rest to those who are weary and heavy laden. My sin means I must come to Jesus. God’s goodness means I get to come to Jesus. So reader, if you are weary and heavy-laden, come to Jesus. Know him and know God’s goodness. Let the goodness of God lead you into joy that gives you strength!
Thank you, God, for your goodness. Thank you that we can come to you as your kids, with you as our Father. Thank you that you don’t treat us as we deserve but as your loving-kindness wills. Teach us to remember your goodness, and to love and forgive more, because you have loved and forgiven us. Thank you for allowing us to know you.