Our youth summer conferences are a time for both students and adults to grow closer to one another and God. The students are able to hear from amazing speakers that challenge them on multiple levels. As adults, the other sponsors and I get to hear from a "campus pastor" whose responsibility is to look after the adult leaders exclusively.
This year, we were challenged by the campus pastor to ask four key questions of our students. These questions are an important part of their growth and development as Christ-followers but they are also questions that each one of us must ask to grow deeper. The amazing thing is to realize all of us have asked these questions at one time or another. They are not complex but can be very revealing when asked correctly.
The first question is, "Who is God?" Simple right? Who we believe God is has a great deal to do with our spiritual development. The primary source we have for knowing about God is His Word. God uses His Word to reveal Himself to us. If we are not willing to read God's Word, then we will not have an accurate picture of God. How many times have we all heard someone make a definitive statement regarding the nature of God that was obviously incorrect? The root of such things is almost always a lack of commitment to reading God's Word.
The second question is, "Because of who God is, what has he done?" This question not only drives us to God's Word, but we can also see what God has done and is doing in our individual lives. When we see God asking Adam and Eve in the garden, "Where are you?" It's not because God is unaware, it's because he wants us to know that He is seeking a relationship with us. Furthermore, He wants us to know where we are in our relationship with Him. In John 3:16 we read that God loves us so much that it moved Him to give His only begotten Son. Timothy Keller speaks of God as being "prodigal" in nature. That His love is lavish,even reckless, in regards to His desire for a relationship with us.
The third question is, "Because of who God is and what He has done, who am I?" The word Christian means "little Christ", thus as Christians we find our identity in Him. We see from who God is and how He has pursued us that we are wanted and loved. It is God who gives us our identity.
The final question is, "Because of who God is, what He has done, and who I am, how is it that I should live my life?" The previous three questions should bring about a result that manifests itself in our lives. The motivation of asking these questions is not about behavior modification. We may be able to change our actions without transforming our hearts but what God truly seeks is that we completely establish ourselves in him.
Here's the problem. It is easy, and even culturally fashionable, to reverse these questions. This is extremely dangerous. If we start by asking, "How am I living?" Then, "Because of how I'm living, what is my identity?" We will inevitably reach the conclusion that, "Because of my established identity, I must conclude that God intended me to be this way." This is how much of our society's view of God has skewed away from a Biblical view of God. We have created a God of our own making rather than making us a people of His creation.
Let us not be unaware, this twisted world view can easily make its way into the church and our individual minds. If we are not consciously aware of where we are suppose to start, this will be the result. We MUST start with God and never ourselves.
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