The God Portal

“I really just want to grow closer to God....”

It’s a phrase I’ve both heard and said multiple times.  Typically it has accompanied some deep yearning for some sort of change in my life or a new resolution to seek out greater spirituality.  

Maybe you’re like me and perhaps you’ve said or pondered it as well?   And if you are like me, that quest to “grow closer to God” was more than likely followed by a new commitment to studying my Bible, spending more time in prayer, and more time soul-searching.  Often my pursuit of God has caused me to withdraw from the busy world surrounding me and retreat to places of solitude in hopes of getting better spiritual reception so as to clearly learn and discover God’s next steps in His plan for my life.  

In recent years, I’ve found myself pondering the elements of this spiritual journey I’ve embarked on, and the constant quest to attain spiritual harmony with the Almighty.  One of the big questions that has begun to haunt me is how can I know that I love God if I’m not really sure I know Him all that well?   I mean I think I love Him....I feel positive feelings surrounding the thought and idea of Him......but if I must seek to strive to draw near Him......that means I have spent a great deal of time in my life “not” near Him.  And if I haven’t been near Him, how can I know I really love who He really is......rather than who I want Him to be?  

Christians believe that Jesus Christ was God in the flesh. If we are honest with ourselves, we have to address the fact that it was the religious people who struggled with Jesus the most-- the very people who “loved God” and “were striving to draw near” to Him.  In fact, the people that Jesus seemed to do the best with were all the same people whose behavior we in the church world still to this day seek to avoid and not emulate.  It was the religious that sought His death. It was the ones seeking God the most who most failed to recognize Him in their presence.  To be objective to that thought, I must honestly ask myself.......if I were suddenly in the presence of God in the flesh......would I even like the guy?  After all He did seem to have quite the tendency to make people feel uncomfortable. How do I know He wouldn’t do the same to me?  

What is the personality of God really like?  We can easily say “perfect” but what is perfect?  If we each have a different perspective of what perfection is then that complicates things a bit, doesn’t it?   And if we all agree that nobody is perfect......that would indicate none of us has ever seen or experienced a “perfect person.”  If nobody has ever seen perfection in this manner then how would we recognize it if we ever actually were to experience it?  We clearly didn’t do a very good job of recognizing it the one time it did show up on Earth as we ended up rejecting and nailing that perfection to a cross.

One of the most troubling questions I’ve ever had to ask myself was whether I really loved God for who and what He really is.......or.......did I love the image of God that existed in my mind?  When we consider the two great commands of Jesus Christ, to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, strength, and mind and the second which he declared to me like the first, to love our neighbor as interesting dilemma begins to develop.  

One of those commands involves a subject matter that is much more tangible than the other.  It seems easy to love God....especially when I have so little to work with in regards to who and what exactly He is like.

Or do I?

In this world where God chooses to subtly exist invisibly, then the next best thing I have to work with would be dealing with the tangible creatures made in His image. The ones with which I can interact with every day.  After all, if I struggle to love other people in this world and those people are made in the image of God, then is it possible I also struggle to love God?  With God, I can mentally and emotionally fill in the personality gaps with what I’d like Him to be. With people, it’s different.  People have the capacity to annoy, irritate, anger, and frustrate us......yet......even with these detracting attributes, they are still made in the image of God. 

Perhaps in seeking to draw nearer to God I’ve been frustrated by the fact that for most of my life I’ve sought God in ways that allow me to bypass others.  But what if others are actually the gateway to God?  What if the only way to truly grow close to Him is through each other?  He did say that where two or more are gathered in His name He is there interesting comment for a God of love.  Perhaps it is though the others, including the very people with whom I struggle the most, that my doorway to the Almighty exists.  Perhaps it has been in my confusion of love the emotion versus love the action, the attempt to feel good things about people rather than to do good things for people no matter my emotions, that have tripped me up on my journey to climb God’s mountain?  Perhaps the greatest mystery in discovering God is that to see His wonders we can look to the heavens but to learn His heart.....I must travel though yours.  


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