The more we know God, the more we become like Him. We are His children and He is our Father. This is why our view of God is so important. Whatever we see God to be is what we will become to others. If we see God to be a master, we will become a master to others. If we believe He is unapproachable, we will also become unapproachable in life. If we believe He is compromising in His character, we will also become compromising in our character. If we believe that He is legalistic in His words, we will become legalistic in our words to others. If we believe He simply forgives, but He never empowers us to change, we too will be forgiving, but we will never embrace change or live to empower anyone else in the change that God can bring in life. We must be people who see God more clearly each season of our lives. It is only then that we can live as the fragrance and testimony of God in our lives. As the apostle John wrote, Fathers are those who have known Him from the beginning. They have seen Him work by His overcoming grace in their lives and they know that changes continually come by the grace of God.
Leaders are sent to those they lead. Leadership is not about control, instruction, or command. It is a matter of leading others by vision, inspiration, and example in what God intends to come to pass in the lives of those within their authority. Leaders must understand that seeing God for who He is more important than seeking to excel in ministry, training, or some Biblical instruction. Knowing God, seeing Him for who He is, and becoming like Him are things to be sought by those who lead and those who follow in order to lead others also. Everyone is called to influence others in life and to lead them in some way into a relationship with God.
How can we know who God is? We must pursue intimacy with God by His Spirit in our hearts. A relationship doesn’t just happen, it is cultivated. Leaders set an example for others in being loved by God and walking in a love relationship with Him in all things. They embrace the life that God gives, willingly become an expression of His life in the testimony of their lives, and partner with God in all things. They know their sins are forgiven because God is a Father who loves them. They overcome by being strong in God’s word and in His presence. In this continued process they have become Fathers, for they see God as a Father who forgives, loves, and partners with them to empower them to overcome in all things in life.
Leaders must embrace intimacy with presence of God Spirit and they must also embrace the objective witness of His word and lead others to do the same. He is the same today, yesterday, and forever. To understand Him today we must seek to understand His voice in times past, but to understand His voice in the past we must also embrace a place of intimacy with Him by His Spirit today. Holy Spirit is a subjective witness in our lives. He submits to the voice of God in the past because He is the same voice as was in the past. He submits to the voice of God as we find it in the word of God and this is why Scripture will interpret Scripture. The New Testament is the revelation of the Old and the Old is the detailed shadow of the New. This is not the word of God according to our own twisted perception, interpretation, or application. We must study to show ourselves approved, workman who need not be ashamed. That study is not one of information, but of intimacy and the information of the word of God is only a witness to intimacy with God that transforms our lives to be expressions of God’s word in increasing measures just as Jesus was the word made flesh in the fullest measure. The word can only be understood through the perfect testimony of Jesus and the full testimony of Jesus can only be understood in the details of the shadow cast by Him in the word of God. The Scriptures testify of Him. He is the true filter for the word of God. We can only understand the shadow of a tree by looking at the tree itself. We can only understand the written word by looking at the living word of Christ. Jesus was an example in the flesh of all that the word of God is upon the page. When we find a Scripture that doesn’t match the person Jesus we must reevaluate how we are reading the Scripture. This doesn’t mean that we reject and throw away Scriptures that don’t look like love in our own opinion. Our view of God greatly affects our ability to understand what He says. In the Old Covenant the writers understood God as a Sovereign Almighty God, but the New Covenant reveals that He has always been a loving Father who has Sovereign abilities and is willing to use them when necessary. I have come to believe that His love, and Him being love, is more powerful than merely a Sovereign God. A loving Father is willing to work things out for our good, even when an enemy intends things for evil. Many of the judgments in the word of God are really the consequence of avoiding a connection with God who desires for all men to be saved. We must read all of the Scripture through the filter of a Father and His children, not a God and His subjects. Some things that are written supply good theological foundations in our lives, while many other things reveal true poetic experiences. Those poetic experiences are not meant to be interpreted as theological fact, but revelations of what happens when we include God in our lives or what happens when we don’t invite Him to our table.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson