Today, we want to highlight some essential foundations of the spiritual life and our walk with Christ.
Why is it important to review or highlight these foundations?
We all know that the bible speaks about the believers as a ‘spiritual house’ (1Peter 2: 5). Also, in 1 Corinthians 3: 9, we read: ‘For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building’.
As is the case with any building, the foundations are very important. We cannot build a sound and steadfast building on weak or wrong foundations. If a building has solid foundations, this building would be strong and can go higher in levels; yet, if the building has weak foundations, the building itself will be weak and may collapse; it will also be impossible to make it go higher. The same applies to our spiritual life. If our foundations are correct and strong, we can have an inner spiritual building that would continue to grow and go to higher levels.
Also, if our spiritual life is built and established on good and solid foundations, we will be bearers of life and will be able to carry life and light to others and provide them with landmarks and signposts on the path.
In Jeremiah, God says: ‘Set up signposts, make landmarks; set your heart toward the highway, the way in which you went. Turn back, O virgin of Israel’ (Jeremiah 31: 21). Here God was speaking to His people, His nation, telling them: ‘why are you stumbling in the path; are you not able to see the way or the signposts?’ So, if our spiritual life is built on good and sound foundations, we ourselves become a signpost on the road for those we minister to.
What are the foundations that we want to highlight?
We shall discuss some essential spiritual foundations over a serious of talks that include having a correct vision of God, of ourselves, and of our enemy (the devil).
Today, we shall focus on the correct vision of God.
Why is it important to have a correct vision of God?
We are created on God’s image and we are called to be transformed into this image. If our vision of God is incomplete, confused, or marred, this will affect our spiritual growth and our transformation into His image. If His image in our mind is limited, our transformation will also be limited. If we have a correct and rich image of God, our transformation will be genuine and rich. Therefore, a correct vision of God leads to genuine and true change and transformation.
One of the foundational aspects of this correct vision is that God is a Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Therefore we shall first highlight how this vision of God as a Trinity is important for us; and then we shall talk in more details about each Person of the Trinity –as much as time allows. The rest can be continued in subsequent meetings.
God revealed Himself as a Trinity.
This truth is of great importance for us because the essential and deep needs of human beings can only be satisfied and filled through the full discovery of God as a Trinity. Each Person of the Trinity fills and satisfies an essential need in man.
We can sum up these needs into three main needs or areas:
- The need to belong
- The need to have deep peace between man and himself and between man and creation.
- The need to be enabled, that is, to discover a certain role or message in life and be enabled to carry it out.
The absence of any of these elements is manifested and reflected in various ways in our life.
Let us discuss how this can be reflected in our life.
The absence of peace results in a guilty conscience which can in turn lead to having a sense of inferiority.
In this case, the person often tries to search for compensations. He may pretend to be a different personality because he does not want to reveal his true inferior self to others.
When he is with people, he speaks and acts in a way that is not his true self. When he goes home, he realises that he was not himself; yet, he is unable to do otherwise because he does not want to reveal his true inner self to others.
Sometimes, he may not even know why he is behaving in such a way.
In fact, this is often the result of having a guilty conscience for a long time which has led to having a sense of inferiority in certain areas, a sense of superiority in other areas, and even a sense of self-rejection.
This results in a fake personality which one presents before others; while his true personality (which is groaning and suffering) remains hidden inside him because of his guilty conscience and the lack of a deep sense of peace.
The true and deep sense of peace comes only when one’s conscience experiences true forgiveness. Forgiveness is a deep human need because man is created to be righteous. However, because we fail to live in righteousness, we have a sense of guilt.
The absence of the sense of belonging causes one to have a sense of being rejected and a deep feeling that he is not wanted and not loved.
If one grows up in a family where his parents or siblings are not able to make him feel that he is wanted, accepted, and loved, he grows up lacking the sense of belonging.
Even when families try to offer this acceptance and love, this is sometimes done in a way that does not fill one’s deep need.
As a result, one may suffer from a sense of rejection and a feeling that he is not wanted, not loved, of no value, and neglected. This can result in various behaviours including anger, anxiety, stress, and even violence.
Some people may try to compensate for this need through outer appearance: clothes, furniture, possessions, manner of speech or conduct. This may include wearing very attractive clothes or buying a very unique car that no one else has to draw the attention of others. Some may even be violent by words or actions to prove and express their existence and draw the attention of others to them. By such behaviour, the person is reacting to the negligence and lack of acceptance that he suffered from as a child and he tries to compensate for it when he grows up. This is of course an unhealthy behaviour that has its results.
Why do human beings have these needs?
Each of these human needs is essentially based on God’s mind towards man.
- God created man to belong to a family and be a member of a family.
- God created man to live in righteousness and holiness, reflecting to others who God is because he is the image of God. God is righteous and holy; and so man should also be righteous: ‘Be holy, for I am holy’ (1Peter 1: 16).
- God created man to have a specific mission on earth which he carries out for the purpose of extending and proclaiming the Kingdom of God.
If any of these needs is missing, one feels lost. As a result, one tries to make compensations –which are often more painful because they make one enter into vicious circles.
What is the solution?
The ultimate solution is in God who revealed Himself as a Trinity who satisfies all the essential human needs. Each Person of the Trinity satisfies one of these main needs.
- The Person of the Father fills man’s deep need to belong.
- The Person of the Son fills man’s need for peace and forgiveness.
- The Person of the Holy Spirit reveals to each one their mission and role in life; and He enables us to carry out this role step by step, from one stage to the other.
Let us clarify each of these points from the practical point of view:
- The Person of the Father fills man’s deep need to belong.
A father is someone who shelters, protects, cares and looks after his child. He accepts him in his weakness and rejoices in him.
Something deep within us needs someone who can fulfil these needs.
If these needs are satisfied, we will feel embraced and we will not feel lost.
God, the Father, fills this need!
His divine arms embrace us, provide us shelter and cover, and give us a sense of belongingness. He rejoices in us. In Him, we feel loved, accepted, and wanted. We feel that we belong. We experience true warmth surrounding and sheltering us. We feel that we are persons not things.
If one grows up in a home where there is true sacrificial and giving fatherhood and motherhood, which are a reflection of God’s Fatherhood and Motherhood, he would wake up every morning feeling certain warmth which brings deep comfort. He will feel loved, wanted, protected, looked after, and belonging.
The Fatherhood and Motherhood of God, the Father:
God is a Father as well as a Mother. He intended that each child would have a mother and a father who would reflect to him the true Character and Person of God, the Father.
Let us look at a couple of verses that highlight that God is Father and Mother:
‘Doubtless You are our Father, though Abraham was ignorant of us, and Israel does not acknowledge us. You, O Lord, are our Father; our Redeemer from Everlasting is Your name’ (Isaiah 63:16).
‘As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; and you shall be comforted in Jerusalem’ (Isaiah 66:13).
When the child grows up and starts to have spiritual insight, he would understand that his parents were the small manifestation that reflected the Heavenly Father who has the true Fatherhood and Motherhood that offer true satisfaction, warmth, tenderness, and protection.
The divine hand of the Father tells us every morning that we are wanted, accepted, deeply loved, belonging to the Trinity, and members of the household of God.
The child needs to hear from his parents that he is a loved and wanted member of the family. But, when he grows up, he realises that this is not sufficient because these needs are a reflection of a much bigger need which is eternal. From outside, we have a body, a tent that will be taken off; but, from inside, we have a spirit that is eternal. From outside, we need love and tenderness; but from inside this need can only be filled by the eternal love and tenderness of God.
Some of us might have grown up in families where parents did not understand their responsibilities in accordance to the true Christian mind. As a result, we may have unsatisfied needs. Unless these needs are healed and dealt with, they will continue to cause an inner groaning that will reflect on our personalities, relationships and future –no matter how clever we are in trying to hide them or overcome them.
If we desire to live the fullness of what we have been created for and carry out our full role and responsibilities in accordance to the divine will, it is crucial that our inner hidden needs would be satisfied and healed.
If a plastic container has certain parts that has been squeezed in, its shape and size would change; and so, this container cannot perform its function. Similarly, God will not show me my full role if my size and shape is changed because my full role can only be carried out through the full size and shape of my vessel. God will not request me to do something that I am not capable of doing –because part of my vessel is squeezed or crushed! At the same time, I would be in agony because I have potentials that are not released; the areas of these potentials are pressed in.
When these areas and distortions are healed and filled, one experiences the fullness of peace and comfort, discovers his role, and carries it out.
This role should be like a symphony on earth.
Let us talk a little bit about this important word ‘Symphony’.
We are created to be a praise or a symphony. In Ephesians 2: 10, we read:
‘For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them’ (Ephesians 2: 10).
According to the Greek origin, these words mean ‘we are created as a poem or praise’.
In the Old Testament, we read that God often told His people that He wanted them to be a song or a praise on earth (Zephaniah 3: 19, 20).
Any song consists of: words and a tune.
God created each one of us as a poem. This poem needs a tune to give it its beauty. Who composes the tune?
The Holy Spirit is the eternal tune; He composes a specific tune for every poem. He knows the tune of each one of us. Therefore, our fellowship with the Holy Spirit is very important. He shows me what is inside me and shows me that there is a symphony printed on my spirit. He also tells me that this symphony is not only words but words that have a tune; and asks me to give Him a chance to make it a song and a praise on earth.
When the Holy Spirit takes the lead in our life, the tune plays and becomes a symphony that pleases God’s heart and also pleases the person’s heart (my heart).
People around me will also hear the symphony, the sung poem (in the spirit). It will be light on earth and eternal comfort that shines from each one of us. Each one of us is a symphony which is different from the other; there is no end to these symphonies.
We will remain an unsung poem and a symphony that is not played until we are corrected and restored from within and our deep inner needs are healed through the Trinity.
The poem will then be discovered; the tune will be given; and our life will become a sung poem –a true symphony sung and played for the glory of God and for the visitation of the world around us.
- The Person of the Son fills man’s need for peace and forgiveness.
The Son has granted us peace and forgiveness through His redemption:
‘Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace’ (Ephesians 2:15).
‘And by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross’ (Colossians 1:20).
The work of redemption of the Son on the Cross is transferred to us through the Holy Spirit, purifying our conscience, washing away our guilt, and healing our hidden sins.
These hidden sins were only sins at some point, but they have become like pits that form pockets of guilt.
This can be expressed in the form of conflicts, sense of inferiority, attempts to compensate, and various other kinds of struggles. Guilt is the reason behind all these conflicts.
We want to live in righteousness because something deep within us urges us to do so. Yet, we often fail and we often feel that we are full of mistakes and sins. This frustrates us and fills us with pockets of guilt and despair. This reflects in our relationships with others. It can also cause us to suffer self-rejection because we feel that we are bad, defeated, and unable to be victorious.
The forgiveness of Jesus, His love, and His redemption heal the guilt and transform the weakness and despair into strength and hope:
‘For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind’ (2Timothy 1: 7).
- The Person of the Holy Spirit helps and enables us in all the above matters.
He is all powerful. He is tender. He is the eternal tune.
He is the living and purifying waters.
He is the Lord, the Giver of Life.
He is the companion who comforts us and walks with us in our sojourning on earth.
He is the “Paraclete” who defends us before our enemy, the accuser.
Through Him, we have fellowship with the Father and the Son.
He transfers to us the Fatherhood and Motherhood of God the Father; and hence, our needs are healed. He transfers to us the warmth of the Father and surrounds us with it.
The Holy Spirit transfers to us the divine plan, the role that the Father has for each one of us.
The Son has reconciled us to the Father, allowing this role to be granted to us and it became possible for us to discover it. The Holy Spirit opens our eyes to see this role and message.
After I see my role, the Holy Spirit enables me to carry it out. He is my strength. He walks with me and fulfils this message through me. He accompanies me every day.
He dwells in me and walks with me, granting me His sweet and comforting companionship.
He is the Divine energy, ‘dynamos’, as the book of Acts describes Him.
He generates energy when I feel cold and frustrated.
He is the Generator of love when I feel unable to love others.
He is the Generator of Life when the death that is deep within me manifests and imposes itself on me.
He is the Generator of ability when I feel unable, crippled, and that things are beyond my ability and I cannot deal with them.
He is the continuous Generator of all the things I need. The well of redemption has already granted me these things and the Holy Spirit transfers them to me.
This is God the Trinity whom we often fail to understand.
He is the final and ultimate deep answer for the broken and destroyed humanity. The ultimate restoration, satisfaction, and correction of the human soul is through the Trinity. He should be our boasting and proclamation to a world that has rejected the Trinity or stumbled in Him. Wherever man is and whatever he believes, his inner depth will continue to need and call upon God the Trinity.
Finally, let us conclude with the passage in Ephesians 1: 3 – 14.
Apostle Paul looks at the divine icon where sometimes he sees the Father, at other times, he sees the Son, and at times he sees the Holy Spirit:
‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons [the reference here is about the Father] by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved [the Beloved is Jesus; since we are in Jesus, the Father looks upon us as beloved and as His children. When I receive this, it heals me and works wonders in me]. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, [the reference here is to the Son who grants forgiveness of sins] according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance [the reference here is about the Holy Spirit when He works in me making me taste eternal life] until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.’
- Verse 6: ‘to the praise of the glory of His grace’ (the reference is to the Father).
- Verse 12: ‘to the praise of His glory’ (the reference is to the Son).
- Verse 14: ‘to the praise of His glory’ (the reference is to the Holy Spirit).
This is the revelation of the Trinity in this passage.