Deification

become godIn this post I’d like to challenge the notion that “we’re only human.”

In particular, I’m talking about the concept of deification (also called “manifest sonship” or “Christedness”). In the early church this was called theosis. It in essence teaches the following:

God became what we are so that we could become what he is.

Yes, I’m talking about being what God is!

We are gods!

Doubtless, this will raise some eyebrows as well as some questions as to what exactly I mean by “being what God is.”

Are you saying we are God?

I dunno. Maybe. Depends on what the question means.

I certainly do believe we are united and one with God; the scriptures seem pretty clear about that.

But I’m not particularly concerned about articulating the details of this union.

There was a time when I was determined to figure out what it all meant. As I was pondering this one day, Jesus whispered to me, “Ty, you don’t have to figure it all out. Actually, you can’t. Your ability to satisfactorily describe it with words will not add anything to it (and you’ll never arrive at such a point anyways). It’s a mystery that’s meant to be experienced and enjoyed. That’s what really matters – you and me, this relationship. Otherwise, it’s just a doctrine.”

But some are bound have a difficult time conceiving of this possibility, so let me give a hinting idea.

I wrote in a previous post about the idea of creatio ex deo, creation out of the substance of God. If we really were made out of God himself, it shouldn’t be difficult to see ourselves as “deities.”

Now, onto a sampling of scriptures pointing to this.

The passage that says it most blatantly is perhaps Psalms 82:6 – “You are gods; you are all sons of the Most High.” Jesus quotes this passage in John 10:34.

“We were made a little lower than God for a little while (Psalm 8:5, emphasis mine). So, then, what about after the “little while”? The implication is that we are no longer lower than God, therefore equal with God.

“For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29). This is not talking about Jesus being the first “believer.” It’s about being the first child of God. (Paul teaches that humans are sons of God in numerous other passages too.) But if one is a child of God, that implies that God gave birth to them. So what kind of beings does God give birth to? Cats give birth to cats. Humans give birth to humans. So God gives birth to…humans? No, gods!

Further, as God’s children we are “…heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ…” (Romans 8:17). We inherit God.

I will close with the following (non-exhaustive) list of quotes related to deification that demonstrates that it is not a new age teaching but a common early church teaching that can also be seen in the writings of later prominent theologians.

“[T]he Word of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, who did, through His transcendent love, become what we are, that He might bring us to be even what He is Himself.” – Irenaeus (130-200)

“‘For we cast blame upon [God], because we have not been made gods from the beginning, but at first merely men, then at length gods; although God has adopted this course out of His pure benevolence, that no one may impute to Him invidiousness or grudgingness.” – Irenaeus

“For it was necessary, at first, that nature should be exhibited; then, after that, that what was mortal should be conquered and swallowed up by immortality, and the corruptible by incorruptibility, and that man should be made after the image and likeness of God.” – Irenaeus

“The Word of God became man, that you may learn from man how man may become God.” – Clement (150-215)

“For if one knows himself, he will know God; and knowing God, he will be made like God” – Clement

“[H]is is beauty, the true beauty, for it is God; and that man becomes God, since God so wills. Heraclitus, then, rightly said, “Men are gods, and gods are men.” For the Word Himself is the manifest mystery: God in man, and man God” – Clement

“[H]e who listens to the Lord, and follows the prophecy given by Him, will be formed perfectly in the likeness of the teacher—made a god going about in flesh.” – Clement

“[Men] were made like God, free from suffering and death, provided that they kept His commandments, and were deemed deserving of the name of His sons, and yet they, becoming like Adam and Eve, work out death for themselves; let the interpretation of the Psalm be held just as you wish, yet thereby it is demonstrated that all men are deemed worthy of becoming “gods,” and of having power to become sons of the Highest.” – Justin Martyr (100-165)

“Therefore He was not man, and then became God, but He was God, and then became man, and that to deify us.” – Athanasius (296-373)

“for as the Lord, putting on the body, became man, so we men are deified by the Word as being taken to Him through His flesh.” – Athanasius

“For he was made man that we might be made God…and…he himself has made us sons of the Father, and deified men by becoming himself man.” – Athanasius

“‘For He hath given them power to become the sons of God.'[John 1:12 ] If we have been made sons of God, we have also been made gods.” – Augustine (354-430)

“God wanted to be the Son of Man and he wanted men to be the Sons of God.” – Augustine

“Let us become as Christ is, since Christ became as we are; let us become gods for his sake, since he became man for our sake.” – Gregory the Theologian

“…the Word became incarnate so that by becoming as we are, he might make us as he is.” – Gregory of Nyssa

“He became Son of man, who was God’s own Son, in order that he might make the sons of men to be children of God.” – John Chrysostom

“He gave us divinity, we gave him humanity.” – Ephrem the Syrian

“For when God was born to be man, the purpose was not that the Godhead should be lost but that, the Godhead remaining, man should be born to be god.” – Hilary of Poitiers

“[The Savior] was made the son of man, so that we could be the sons of God…and…He united humanity to himself in such a way that he remained God, unchangeable. He imparted divinity to human beings in such a way that he did not destroy, but enriched them, by glorification.” – Pope St. Leo the Great

“Now the gift of grace surpasses every capability of created nature, since it is nothing short of a partaking of the Divine Nature, which exceeds every other nature. And thus it is impossible that any creature should cause grace. For it is as necessary that God alone should deify, bestowing a partaking of the Divine Nature by a participated likeness, as it is impossible that anything save fire should enkindle.” – Thomas Aquinas

“For the Word becomes flesh precisely so that the flesh may become word. In other words: God becomes man so that man may become God.” – Martin Luther

“This is the wonderful exchange which, out of his measureless benevolence, he has made with us; that, by his descent to earth, he has prepared an ascent to heaven for us; that, by taking on our mortality, he has conferred his immortality upon us; that, accepting our weakness, he has strengthened us by his power; that, receiving our poverty unto himself, he has transferred his wealth to us; that, taking the weight of our iniquity upon himself (which oppressed us), he has clothed us with his righteousness.” – John Calvin

“He became like human beings, so that we would be like him.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“Deification is precisely this free and conscious participation in the divine life, which is proper to man only. Because of that, the union with God mentioned by the Fathers never amounts to a disintegration of the human person into the divine infinite; but, on the contrary, it is the fulfillment of his free and personal destiny. Thence also springs the insistence on the necessity of a personal encounter with Christ, the consequence of which is the deification of the whole man by the anticipation of the general resurrection of the bodies.” – John Meyendorff

“[Christianity] signifies not merely an exterior imitation of Christ through moral effort, but direct union with the living God, the total transformation of the human person by divine grace and glory—what the fathers termed ‘deification’ or ‘divination’ (theosis, theopoiesis).” – Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia

“Mankind is god-kind.” – Francois Du Toit

“In the incarnate Christ we have God defined and man deified.” –  Jeff Turner

“There is no problem in claiming deification, as long as we never lose sight of its source.” – John Crowder

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We Were Never “Spiritually Dead”

death-spiritual

Let me clarify right off the bat that I do think we were spiritually dead at one point, just not in the way it is commonly thought we were.

What is usually meant by being “spiritually dead” is a state of being separated from God. The common explanation for this is that our sins cause us to become separated.

If we are going to say that we were at some point separated from God, we have to say that either God decided to be separate from us from the moment we came into existence or we were not separate from him at first, until we first sinned, and then God left us. In the former case, it’s not very loving of God to create us in a state of spiritual death (and could we then really be said to be “very good” and made in the image of God?). As for the latter case, I say that our sin doesn’t offend God (I have previously written about this here) and, consequently, it cannot separate us from him. Indeed, nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39). Can we say with honesty that God separating himself from us is ever a loving thing to do?

So what do I mean when I use the phrase “spiritually dead”?

I believe we were never actually separated from God. We only thought we were. In other words, our being “spiritually dead” wasn’t an ontological condition of depravity. Rather, it was unbelief, a state of the mind where faith is placed in a false reality. We were “spiritually dead,” but only in the sense of a mindset of separation resulting in destructive behavior. Simply put, humanity was deceived.

Why, then, all the talk in the scriptures about salvation and being saved? Let’s take a look at some related scriptures.

Paul was sent by Jesus to “the Gentiles…to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light…” (Acts 26:18, emphasis mine).

Jesus came not to bring salvation itself, but “to give to His people the knowledge of salvation” (Luke 1:77, emphasis mine), which, despite our ignorance, we have always had.

Similarly, Jesus “brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:9-10, emphasis mine). Jesus didn’t bring them, because they were already available. He brought them to light; that is, he simply revealed them.

“You were at one time strangers and enemies in your minds as expressed through your evil deeds” (Colossians 1:21, emphasis mine). We only thought we were God’s enemies; it wasn’t actually true.

“Being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart” (Ephesians 4:18, emphasis mine). Here Paul speak of people who did not experience the life of God, not because it was not available to them, but simply because they did not understand it, were ignorant of it, and chose to not partake of it.

“For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Romans 1:21-23, emphasis mine).

Again, we were never spiritually dead, as if God had left us and we needed some sort of spiritual resuscitation. We can, however, act as if we are. That’s why it says we were “dead in our transgressions and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). The reference is to our actions. Same with Colossians 2:13 – “When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh…” We can live as if we are separated from God, but that doesn’t mean we actually are. We can “alienate” ourselves from God in our own thinking, but we actually cannot distance ourselves from him. Our union with Christ is the fundamental, immutable, and permanent reality. He is closer than the air we breathe.

The life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ happened within our time, but it was a manifestation of an eternal event. His appearance revealed what has always been true – the mystery hidden for ages and generations was finally made known in our dimension of time and space. – Andre Rabe

As a concluding thought, “spiritual death” seems like a very poor term to describe what the above scriptures did, since it is not about separation from God. It would be better to call it ignorance or an illusion, and what Christ did a revelation of reality that draws us out of our ignorance and illusions.

Engaged or Married?

 

wedding_wallpaper_09d95

 

How would you like to be married?

I could tell you a bit about being married.

I know what it’s like.

Actually, I don’t have a wife. Yet :]

But I mean it when I say I know what it’s like to be married. It’s great. I’ll be honest – it’s the best thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. It’s full of love, bliss, satisfaction, and intimacy. It’s all I longed for when I was still unaware of my marriage.

Huh? Unaware of your own marriage? 

Yup. Sucks, I know.

So let me ask you.

Are you sure you’re not married?

I think we all know whether we have an earthly spouse or not. What I’m referring to is our marriage with Christ.

Are you saying we’re already married with Christ?

That’s exactly what I’m saying.

Don’t believe me? Judging from the number of people out there who preach that marriage with Jesus is a future event yet to come, I’m not surprised.

Let me ask you another question.

Which is better – marriage with Christ being a future event or a present reality?

I think most of us can agree that if we are already married with Jesus, that is good news. Just some incentive for you to continue to explore this possibility with me and keep reading 😉

What is marriage anyways? Let’s take a look at the first marriage to ever take place.

So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. – Genesis 2:21-24

Here we see that marriage is about being joined with another, becoming one with them.

Now before we go any further, let me point out that when the bible talks about the marriage between Jesus and his Church, it is a metaphor. It’s not talking about earthly marriage like we know between two human beings. Rather, it points to something greater.

Marriage is the imagery, but union is the reality.

The language of union is all over the bible. He is the vine, we are the branches. He is the head, we are the body. He is in us, and we are in him. Co-crucified, co-buried, and co-resurrected. We are one.

And of course, he is the groom, and we are his bride.

The Greek word most often translated “bride” (nymphē) that is used in reference to the Church can refer to either a betrothed woman or a recently married woman, so it’s difficult to draw a conclusion just from the word as to whether we are engaged to Jesus or married to him.

Bride

But here’s my question. If it is clear from the rest of the bible that we are already united with Christ, and marriage is a direct reference to union, then isn’t marriage an misleading metaphor to describe our relationship with Jesus?

In other words, why would the metaphor of not-yet-being-married be used when being married is what points to union and we know we are already united? It would point to a false reality.

Pretty confusing if you ask me.

Thankfully, that is not the case. Revelation 21:9 tells us what exactly the bride is: “…I will show you the bride, the wife of the lamb.” You can’t be a wife without already having been married.

Paul also spells it out nice and clear for us in Ephesians 5:28-32

So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.

A mystery indeed. We and Jesus are one flesh. Whoa!

What we see here is Paul taking the metaphor of marital union (not engagement) and directly applying it to Jesus and the Church.

As a members of the Church we are already perfectly united with Jesus.

The stunning announcement of the good news is that our marriage – the consummation of our union – took place at the cross. Jesus dying on the cross was like his proposal to us. Accepting salvation is us saying yes.

There’s plenty of people out there talking about how we are progressively becoming one with Christ and how we will one day be married to him. They cry out for Jesus and sing about how much they need and miss him.

But Jesus is not our long-time boyfriend, waiting to get married. The Church hasn’t been dating him for 2000+ years.

Jesus is returning for his bride, not his fiancée. You are already married to him. Your union with Christ is not a future event but a present reality that began the moment you first said “Yes” to Jesus. – Paul Ellis

Jesus is in us and we are in him. He is closer than the air we breathe, and we can enjoy fellowship with him right now. There is no hindrance to our communion.

What about the wedding feast in Revelation 19?

Revelation is a fulfilled prophecy about the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. (that’s another story, but if you are interested you can get a free book about it that I highly recommend at http://www.raptureless.com/). That means we are currently celebrating the wedding feast!

In Jewish weddings the feast came after the consummation between a couple.

Our union with Christ was consummated at the cross.

You know what that means.

It’s party time!

 

Who is the Light of the World?

light of the world

You know those things where Jesus says something and then he goes and says something that’s the opposite?

Here’s one of them. Jesus says,

You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14),

and

I am the light of the world” (John 8:12).

Wait, what?

So who is the light of the world?

Is it Jesus, or is it us?

As is often the case, looking at these verses in context will solve the mystery.

Let’s first look at what is required for someone to be considered to be “the light of the world.”

The first thing to notice is that Jesus gave different messages to different people. Jesus tells his disciples that they are the light of the world because they knew who Jesus was but still didn’t understand who they themselves were in him. On the other hand, Jesus tells the Pharisees that he is the light of the world because they didn’t even know who Jesus was and they could not understand anything else without that foundation.

If you don’t believe Jesus is the light of the world (like the Pharisees), then you aren’t the light of the world. Contrarily, if you believe Jesus is the light of the world (like the disciples), then you are the light of the world.

Simple.

This is further clarified by what Jesus says immediately after his “light of the world” statements.

To his disciples he follows it up with, “A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.” Jesus is explaining what it means for them to be the light of the world (this is new information to them). He basically says that if you are his disciple and you have him in you, you’re not going to be able to hide it (and if you’re trying to hide it, you’re probably not his disciple).

To the Pharisees he follows it up with, “He who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life.” This is salvation 101. Jesus is telling them “Hey, if you follow me by faith instead of the Law by your own efforts, you’ll be set free from your dark, boring, fruitless life. Get to know me – that’s eternal life man!”

Alright, we now know what is required to be considered “the light of the world.” But we and Jesus both fulfill the requirements. So we’re going to have to dig a little deeper to answer the question.

Frank Viola points out a very interesting point in this blog post. I’ll summarize it here.

The books of Luke and Acts are a single volume written by Luke the physician. Check out how he opens Acts 1:1 [with my commentary in brackets]: “The first account I composed [the book of Luke], Theophilus [the dude Luke was writing for], about all that Jesus began to do and teach.”

What’s interesting to note is that Luke wrote “…all that Jesus began to do and teach,” not “…all that Jesus did and taught.” Luke records everything from before Jesus’ birth to his death, resurrection, and ascension. But according to Luke, that was only what Jesus began to do and teach.

So who came after Jesus left the earth physically? Holy Spirit. And that’s what Acts is all about – what Jesus, through Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus, continued to do through his body, the Church.

What’s crazier is the short dialogue between Jesus and Saul after Jesus blinded Saul and knocked him down to the ground in Acts 9:4-5 – “‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ And he said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.'”

Viola writes,

This is perhaps one of the most remarkable texts in all of holy writ. Saul is persecuting the church in Jerusalem. And Jesus Christ takes it personally! The Lord appears to Saul, but He doesn’t say what we would expect. The words ‘Why are you persecuting My church?’ never come out of His mouth. Instead, He makes this incredible statement: ‘Why are you persecuting Me!?’ In the eyes of God, the church is nothing more and nothing less than Jesus Christ on earth. It’s a new species (creation) that’s kin to divinity; a body to the Son and a family to the Father. Kind of His own kind.

Let that wreck your theology.

So how can our question be answered?

We and Jesus are both the light of the world.

A little while after Jesus made his claim to the Pharisees, he says to his disciples, “While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world” (John 9:5). I’d like to propose that Jesus was implying that when he left the earth physically, we (us and Jesus together) would be the light of the world.

Going back to the first two “light of the world” verses, did you notice how Jesus didn’t tell his disciples that they are “lights of the world” but rather that they are “the light of the world,” the exact same thing he called himself?

And Luke and Jesus both identify Jesus as the Church in Acts.

The Church and Jesus are inseparably united as one (1 Corinthians 6:17)

The Church is the fullness of God (Ephesians 1:22-23)

The Church is the expression of Jesus on the earth.

The Church is Jesus to the world.

Just as Jesus once did in his physical human body while on the earth, now we love people unconditionally, tell people the good news, heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons, set people free, reconcile people to God, etc. This is possible because as Christ is, so are we in the world (1 John 4:17).

The incarnation continues in us.

I once asked Jesus why he never shows me his face. He answered and said, “look around you.” At the time I was worshipping with other believers. I knew what Jesus was saying. He identifies so strongly with his Church and we are so intimately united with him that, just like Jesus, when people see us they can see the Father (John 14:9).

Let’s enjoy our Daddy as he reveals himself to the world through us. We don’t even need to try. Just receive his love for you, rest in his finished work, and he’ll get the job done.

And that reminds me…

You know those “worship” songs about light? Like that one that says “Shine, Jesus, shine,” or “Shine your light and let the whole world see,” or that popular Japanese song that says “Please make me the light of the world” (世の光にしてください)? They are all a manifestation of unbelief in who Jesus said we are.

So I’d encourage you to not sing along and instead thank Jesus that he has made you the light of the world.

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you” (Isaiah 60:1).

A Manipulative God? – The Abusery of Usery

use santa
Have you ever wondered how Santa feels? He has kids asking him for presents every year, yet no one really takes the time to develop a relationship with him or even thank him for that matter. He’s just the dude to go to to get presents.

Every year, people use him.

I wonder how he feels about that?

What I’m writing about today is this language of “using” people. There’s a common use of this phrase among believers today that bothers me because it portrays a distorted view of God. Here’s the phrase: God uses us.

Let’s take a broad look at the use of this phrase, starting with some linguistic observations.

First, notice that this phrase is always used negatively when it’s referring to human beings. When we say “I feel like so and so is using me,” it always expresses a sense of manipulation and control, never anything positive.

Second, being “used” expresses a sense of unawareness on the part of the person being used as to what the user is up to. The user is using the other to accomplish some purpose, but the person being used has no part in that purpose and may not even know what it is.

Bottom line: If you’re being used, you’re being abused.

i use you

How about the bible? Does it ever express this idea?

Nope. Phrases like “____ was used by God” or “God used ____” do not exist in the Bible (at least I didn’t find any after looking at every verse using the letters “use” in the NASB, which is a very literal translation). More importantly, the idea behind it, that God is somehow controlling people to accomplish his will, does not exist in the biblical narrative.

Here are some things that the bible does say. He does things with us (Mark 16:20; Acts 14:27). We work together (2 Corinthians 6:1). We are his fellow workers (1 Corinthians 3:9). These express a totally different concept of our relationship with God than being used by him does. Instead of manipulation and control it conveys union, togetherness, and intimacy.

John 15:15 tells us that Jesus no longer considers us slaves because slaves don’t know what the master is doing. What does Jesus mean by this?

Slaves are given orders to carry out, but the master does not tell them his intentions, the “why” behind his decisions and actions. They are just told what to do.

Friends, on the other hand, disclose their plans and their heart behind it to each other. Friends don’t need to tell each other what to do because they know each other. They know the needs and desires of the other and act to fulfill those because they love the other.

And that’s what Jesus counts us as. Friends.

We are not God’s slave-laborers. We are his co-laborers.

You are not a tool in God’s toolbox. You are his lover.

Perhaps you feel that I am being too obsessive over a few words. Here are some reasons why I think the use of this kind of language matters based on the effects that using this kind of language has on people:

  • Consider what an unbeliever or a new believer will think when they hear that the God who supposedly loves them wants to use them.
  • Since God uses us, and we can’t make him use us, we just have to wait patiently for him until he chooses to use us. In other words, passivity is encouraged.
  • This kind of language implies that God’s ultimate goal is to get us to do stuff for him.
  • It sounds like God is separate from us, outside instead of inside.

Perhaps you don’t agree with or mean any of the things listed above when you talk about how “God used you.” I hope so. What most people actually mean when they use this phrase is probably along the lines of “I chose to respond to God’s working in me.”

Okay. I get that.

But intentions are not the only thing that counts in communication. What is actually likely to be communicated matters too. And this phrase does not communicate God working in us and our response. And it totally misses the internal relationship that we have with Christ and instead pictures the relationship as external.

“God using us” is simply a poor way of expressing the biblical concept of co-laboring with God. And, instead of bringing clarity, using this kind of language nurtures misconceptions.

I have often heard people pray, “Lord, please use me.” And I have good news for those people: God will not use you. Not because your not good enough, but because you are too good to be used. God’s not going to control you. He could if he wanted to, but he’s not interested. That’s why he gave you a spirit of self-control (2 Timothy 1:7).

So let’s enjoy living life with God.

Quit asking God to use you; you have the same Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead living inside of you, backing you up (Romans 8:11). And you are one with that Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17).

Don’t wait for God; God’s waiting for you.

Without God, we cannot; without us, He will not. – Augustine

This is not to say that it’s all up to your efforts. Thank God it’s not!

Simply acknowledge that you have died with Christ and now it is him living through you.

You have been united with Christ (Galatians 2:20Romans 6).

There is no usery between you and him. Only love.

And remember the best Christmas present you ever got and will ever get – God himself.

:]

“I Need You Lord” – Our Perpetually Satisfied Need

Imagine this.

You’re about to eat a meal on the table in front of you that your mom made for you. Before you take your first bite you turn to your mom and say, “Mom, I’m really hungry.” Puzzled, your mom responds, “Well, then eat the food I made for you. It’s right in front of you. What are you waiting for?”

I believe that’s what God feels like sometimes when we say to him, “God, I need you.”

“I know buddy. But you already have me. So let’s talk, hang out, live life together. What are you waiting for?”

Yes, humans need God, and it’s important that everybody acknowledge that in their daily living.

As believers, however, we shouldn’t be telling God that we need him. Why? Because he already knows that, and he’s provided for that need.

We are never without God. We have been filled with the fullness of the Godhead (Colossians 2:9-10), and he ain’t goin nowhere (John 14:16).

“But I tell him to remind myself that I need him.”

The fact that you regularly tell God that you need him, though, shows that you don’t really need reminding.

This language is especially important for people who don’t know that they have God. If everyone around a new believer is saying “I need God” they will start to think that they do too (which is okay), but they will also start to think that they don’t have God yet (which is not okay).

In human relationships when we need something from another person we express that need by saying “I need ____” (and talking like this implies that the person saying it doesn’t yet have what they are claiming they need). It would be totally weird if someone expressed a need for something they already have – like talking about how hungry they are when there’s a meal right in front of them.

When we say we need something, we acknowledge a lack. When we say we need God, we acknowledge a nonexistent lack.

Technically, “I need God” is a true statement, but it’s silly because it’s unnatural in normal speech to say you need something you already have, and it’s unhelpful because it gets us focusing on the wrong thing.

God’s provision for you is greater than your nonexistent lack.

UnionSo. What are you waiting for?

God is fully available. Always.

He’s always with you. He never leaves. You may have forgotten about him, but he was, is, and will be always with you.

I don’t talk about needing God. I’m not desperate for him. I don’t cry out for him. I’m not looking for him. I’m not seeking him.

I’m enjoying him.

I’m experiencing life with him.

I’m not saying we are self-sufficient. Rather, we are Christ-sufficient.

“Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God…” (2 Corinthians 3:4-5).

Let’s confess the truth.

“God, I have you!”

Let’s be thankful for what he’s provided.

“God, thank you for you!”

You are one with Christ. Enjoy your union with him.

p.s. I wonder how many “worship songs” this invalidates?

*****

Also check out this article I found after writing this post:

http://saintsnotsinners.org/think-you-need-jesus-think-again-pt-1/