Recently, I have been hearing from various individuals who sincerely question whether Yahweh really accepts them. That they just don’t “feel” they are “measuring up” to His standards. This is so sad to hear. The truth is that on your own, well, you don’t. In fact. you can’t and never will. I don’t mean to be a downer, but rather a realist. However, if you can understand that part of the Gospel, the second part brings a tremendous of relief: You can be accepted through what Christ did for you!
Okay, saying that is easy, but how about you? Do you ever wonder how your Heavenly Father feels about you? What His opinion is of you? Oops, that’s a stupid question, we all do that on occasion. So let me rephrase that question . . . When you think about how your Father thinks of you, what is your answer? Hmmm, that requires a little more from you, doesn’t it?
Well, consider the way God himself described his relationship with Abraham: “my good friend Abraham” (Isaiah 41:8). Ooh, not bad! Not just a friend but a good friend . . . Well, what about the New Testament? James tells us, “Abraham believed God and was set right with God . . . It’s that mesh of believing and acting that got Abraham named ‘God’s friend.'” (James 2:23).
What an incredible commendation! Everyone knew him as the friend of God? Wow! You’re not, though. Nope. You’re His child! He’s your Dad! Oh, sure, we all say that, but do we really believe it? Those passages we just read should hit home with power. To have the Creator of the universe call a man–yes a mere mortal–his friend seems beyond human comprehension. Yet it happened with Abraham. It’s a sign of this man’s great intimacy with God.
Even the Psalmist understood this: “What is man that You are mindful of him that You care for him? [huh? The Hebrew here means our Father’s mind is filled with thoughts and concern for his man] . . . You made him but a little lower than God, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet” (Psalm 8:4-6) The Hebrew word used here actually is Elohim—God’s title, And the Hebrew word that Isaiah uses for friend signifies affection and closeness. And in the Greek, James’ word for friend means a dear, close associate. They both imply a deep, shared intimacy.
My friends, the closer we grow to Christ, the greater our desire is to live wholly in his presence. He is contagious (maybe a better word would be addictive). When we draw closer, we begin to discover Jesus as our only true foundation.
The Bible tells us Abraham “was waiting expectantly and confidently for the city which has fixed and firm foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10). To Abraham, nothing in this life was permanent. Scripture says the world was “a strange place” to him. It was no place to put down roots.
Maybe that’s the problem many of us face. Maybe some of us we are too comfortable with “the world;” maybe it isn’t so “strange” to us. The heavenly country Abraham yearned for isn’t a literal place. It’s being home with the Father. The Hebrew word for this phrase, “heavenly country,” is Pater. It comes from a root word meaning Father. What I’m saying is that this heavenly country Abraham sought was, literally, a place with the Father.
Abraham wasn’t some mystic. He wasn’t an ascetic who put on holy airs and lived in a spiritual haze. This man lived an earthly life, heavily involved in the world’s affairs (just like you and me). He was the owner of thousands of head of livestock and he had enough servants to form a small militia. Abraham had to be a busy man, directing his servants and buying and selling his cattle, sheep and goats. Yet somehow, despite his many business affairs and responsibilities, Abraham found time for intimacy with the Lord.
Maybe we need to concern less for the “ways of the world,” and more for the “ways of the Kingdom.” Olivia Newton John sang, “Let’s Get Physical.” I say we sing, “Let’s Get Spiritual.” But that my friend, is something you need to find time for, and it is something only you can make happen . . .
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I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.