"It's impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that He exists and that He cares enough to respond to those who seek Him." (Hebrews 11:6, The Message)
This verse goes back to my early days in Jesus as life-shaping words for my soul. As I have grown, those words have come to mean much more than I ever anticipated. They have become the essence of the really real. I get it, what I just said sounds strange, maybe even incomprehensible. Yet, how do you express the impossible?
I cannot see God. In today's world, people think it strange to speak with God—like, why would anyone do that? Does God hear or care? Look at the world. What a mess! It gets worse though. It's bad enough that people think prayer has no sense or effectiveness. Yet, telling people God actually interacts with you, maybe even occasionally grabs your attention with insight and guidance that has significance to your immediate circumstance, may make them think you have fallen off the deep end. Thoughts like this influenced me, too, much in my early days of following Jesus.
The words of this verse, even the evidence in the whole chapter of Hebrews 11, speak of living attentively in the most real world that exists. They speak of living life as if God genuinely exists and interacts. The whole of Scripture testifies to this very personal, loving, attentive God who not only exists, but wants to draw us into conversational relationship with Him. Jesus came to do just that: to restore those who believe in Him to this dynamic and present relationship with the Triune God of the universe.
God is really real, and the genuine basis of everything I see and don't see. He's more real than what I can see and more present to me than I often realize. Having faith does not mean some inordinate force that I must accumulate in order to be effective, influential, or powerful in life. Having faith means talking with God and expecting Him to interact with me. Having faith means living out the reality of His presence, genuinely, and authentically—by engaging with Him. That's what the heroes of faith did as the stories of Hebrews 11 indicate. I've learned to imitate their faith.
This verse has grown to form my soul in such a way that my understanding of God has shifted from transcendent and distant to immanent and near. Heaven now invades me in Jesus by the presence of His Spirit. God has moved in and made room for me. He is the reward. Prayer engages me with Him and it's really real.
Warmly in Christ, Doug Mitts
"God-friendship is for God-worshipers; They are the ones He confides in." (Psalms 25:14, The Message)
How genuine and real are you with God?
What whispers from God have been nudging you of late? What does He want to interact with you about?