From Today’s Episode:
Welcome! We’re in our Know Who You're Listening To Series and today’s topic is Have You Misunderstood God?
Philippians 3:8-14, Exodus 34:5-7a
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God, what's an aspect of who you are that I can know better? And how?
Here’s the episode transcript
Hey friends, if you haven't noticed yet, there's all sorts of voices and interests that are all fighting for our attention, and so it's important to know who we're giving that attention to. It's also important as we work to recognize God as present with us in our day-to-day life, that we continue working not only to identify his voice, but to actually know him, to know the One that we're listening to. That's what we're talking about on today's episode, because quite frankly, it's really easy to misunderstand God.
Misunderstandings happen all the time. They can happen when we don't communicate something as clearly as we intend to, or our intentions are misunderstood. But oftentimes misunderstandings can be reconciled because we're able to go back to the person and seek clarity. "Hey, I feel like I know you pretty well, but this exchange didn't feel like what I know to be true of you."
I bring this up here because we have misunderstandings with God all the time. He is perfect. He knows us completely. God is never confused about who we are. However, we can get confused about who he is. I think that the answer to my prayer should have looked a certain way and so I misunderstand his provision. Or I'll put a lens on him or put him in a box that I'm expecting him to show up like a sinful human did in my life.
God desires that we would continually receive greater understanding of who he is, not just in what we know and mentally understand about him, but also in what we intentionally experience in day-to-day life with him.
I'll read for us from Philippians 3:8–14 (MSG).It says,
“Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I've dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn't want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God's righteousness. I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it. I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: by no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back.”
Time and time again throughout the Bible and in our present day lives, God tells us who he is and shows us who he is.
I'm going to read from Exodus 34, and we're picking it up when Moses has climbed Mount Sinai and he has the new stone tablets with him, with the 10 Commandments on them.
I'll read Exodus 34:5-7a (NLT).
“Then the Lord came down in a cloud and stood there with him; and he called out his own name, Yahweh. The Lord passed in front of Moses, calling out, ‘Yahweh! The Lord! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. I lavish, unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin.’”
God announced this about himself. I think about all of the ways that God also demonstrated this to the people prior to this moment on the mountain. We have Adam and Eve in the garden, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, freeing the Israelites from Egypt. And then I also think of all of the ways that God has demonstrated this about himself, that he's shown himself to be this way since then, both through the continuation of the Old Testament and into the New Testament and in our lives today. The God of compassion and mercy, slow to anger filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.
I can read this passage in Exodus, and it might even be fairly easy for me to see how God is this way in the Bible, but I don't always see him as compassionate in my life. I don't always think of him as being filled with unfailing love and faithfulness towards me. maybe in certain seasons, that's because I've questioned it or he's felt distant, or I've felt distant.
Sometimes that's just because I'm not intentionally aware and I want to grow in that awareness. I want to be more aware of how God is that way toward me today.
So a practical way that we're reaching out to Christ today is in these next few minutes of asking God a question and hearing what he would say to us. Today our question comes in two parts. First, let's ask him:
God, what's an aspect of who you are that I can know better?
And then ask him a follow up question: And how?
How does he want to show that to you?
How does he want you to know him more fully today?
Have a good talk.
And if you’ve been encouraged by this content, please share it with a friend and help them grow in their conversational relationship with God too!
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