I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
By Meron Asnake (WITHIN Devotional Contributor)
“How do I relate to God?” is a question I have been pondering for several weeks. I am not sure exactly when and why I began to contemplate on the thought, but I can only attribute the nudging to the Holy Spirit. I have shared with a close friend how I sometimes experience a barrier in my spiritual walk, regarding the role of Jesus in my life.
I feel as if I can hear your gasp of shock by my confession; I promise to make it make sense if you keep on reading.
I recognize that I mainly relate to God as the Father. It is a perfect remedy to the gaping hole in my heart, due to the loss of my earthly father, whom I have been missing and grieving for last 20+ years. Though I understand the biblical truth of my salvation —the finished work of Christ on the cross that reunited me to the God the Father —my pain-point has always tethered me to Him. However, I tend to shift blame and deflect skewed images from my earthly father onto the holy God. As a result, I distance myself from the heavenly Father and avoid facing my own brokenness.
Thus, these are the kinds of moments I wish I could practice my innate instincts when it comes to a family dynamic. I usually run to my brother and vent about a discourse(s) I have with a parent. I communicate my frustrations — seeking to be understood and fully known. I expect for my brother to mediate on my behalf and bring me back to the right standing of my identity of being my parent’s child. Most importantly, I desire to have the peace he possesses for my internal wars are caused by my own proclivities to reject authority and break boundaries. But here lies my dilemma, I usually do not run to my heavenly brother; I rarely go to Jesus, first.
I have yet to fully conceptualize Jesus’ friendship, and I do wonder if I am even supposed to. Regardless, He does call us friends, and verses like John 15:12-15 are a heart piercing truth to mediate on.
John 15: 12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants,[a] for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.
At once, these verses are affirming and convicting. Jesus clearly states that it is NOT us, who chose Him. He chose and appointed us to abide in Him and in His love. He asks us to keep his greatest commandment (John 13: 34-35), as He promise to bring us into His friendship. It is a costly relationship bought by His blood for Christ willing laid down His life for us. In return, you and I have the privilege of being children of God; we get to experience a loving heavenly Father, a compassionate Brother, and nurturing Holy Spirit in our triune God — lacking nothing.
Lastly, as we are reminded by Jesus in verse 16 to ask for WHATEVER in His name, Beloved I am praying we ask for JESUS. May we KNOW Him more, grow to LOVE Him, and forever CHOOSE Him above all things.
The weekly devotionals seek to encourage you to dig deeper into Scripture as you take the time to daily read, meditate, and internalize the verses in the devotional, along with the passages provided below to give greater context. Take the time to read them throughout the week (repetition is important) and ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp what God is showing you about Himself, about you, and how to live in light of these truths.
Passages to read/memorize/meditate:
Questions to Reflect on: