If I were to ask how you came to faith in God you might say,
Do you notice the common thread woven throughout these familiar answers? We have been trained to use "I" as the starting point for everything. Life and Godliness tends to begin with "I." We are big on individualism and it shows up in our Gospel presentation.
We might present the Gospel something like this:
The starting point of religion tends to begin with man's problem. The Gospel however, begins with God. It's original sin vs. original design or intent. The problem with using man's problem as the starting point of the Gospel is that you cannot know the Jesus of the Gospels looking through the lens of humanity.
So for a moment let's go back in time, back beyond what we have known to be the starting point and travel all the way back to original intent. The question now becomes: "God what did you have in mind when you created me?"
First and foremost you were created for divine companionship. We are the companions of divine life.
This has been lost on us because we have been taught that we were created to serve God. Christian service is a manifestation of divine life in the heart of a believer and it shows up in many forms including social justice. Christian service is both a beautiful and expected outflow of the divinity within. Beautiful so long as it does not become your identity. You cannot discover your sonship in your Christian service. The reality is God has chosen to include you in His life, but He does not "need" your service. He remains God with or without your acts. God requires nothing from you. You are not in debt to God.
An equal misconception is that you were created to worship. God is not a narcissist in that He needs to be worshiped. I am a worshiper, but I do not find my identity or sonship there. Worship is a natural outflow of thanksgiving rooted in the reality that I have been created for divine companionship.
What about God inhabiting the praises of His people? Well, what about it? That was under the Old Covenant, thank God that He no longer inhabits praise because if He did His presence in your life would only be as good as your ability to get your praise on in any given day. King Solomon so desired the habitation of God that He built Him the most wonderful temple you could ever imagine. Upon it's dedication his heart sank as he realized that the God who inhabits the heaven of heavens could never possibly inhabit what he built. If Solomon only knew that this God would one day indwell you!
Under the New Covenant God inhabits you! That's actually something to worship about!
You were created for perfect unity with the Godhead. You see God could not improve on the quality of His life, so He increased the quantity of it and included you. Today you can actively participate in what God has enjoyed for eternity past.
You were created to be loved. Being loved is more important then loving. What about Matthew 22:35-40? What about the command from Jesus to love God with all our heart, soul and mind? Well, if you read your scripture correctly you will notice that a lawyer asked Jesus what the greatest command "under" or "in" the law was. Jesus gave the man what he wanted to know. He told him under the law you are to love God with every essence and fiber of your being and if that seems impossible let me take you once step further, you better love your neighbor as yourself. If for but a moment you were to drop the facade and step out of yourself you'd admit that both are impossible. The lawyer knew this and Jesus knew this.
Do I love God? Absolutely! However, learning to receive God's love is more important then learning to love God. Receiving the love of God does not come naturally for mankind. The prodigal sons always come to Father's house with an intention to "do better." The Father simply didn't want that. He forever wants the son to accept his acceptance.
Do we love God. You better believe we do. Our love for God is an outflow of His divine companionship. 1 John 4:19 says, "We love him, because he first loved us." God is always the starting point. If He didn't love you, your could never love Him. Jesus knew that lawyer could not understand this. Jesus knows your love for Him is over rated.
The good news is that 1 John 4:19 will always give rise to love for God in your own heart and what the lawyer could not do will simply manifest in you. Don't pray, "teach me to love" rather pray, "teach me the love the Father has given." God's agenda is that you receive His love today.
I would never make light of mankind's problem, its serious. The real problem with the fall of mankind is the illusion of separation it has created. The answer to the problem is to discover your identity in God's original intent and design.
You are a container of divine life.
Ephesians 2:13King James Version (KJV)
13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
Colossians 1:17King James Version (KJV)
17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
Colossians 1:21King James Version (KJV)
21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
Hebrews 13:5King James Version (KJV)
5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
-Pastor Shawn Annis