A few years ago I realised my relationship with Jesus felt somewhat distant and remote. I have a strong sense of living in relationship with God the Father. After all, I direct my prayers to him and believe he hears those prayers. I believe he organises all the circumstances of my life, using them to shape me more into the image of his Son. I also have a sense of relationship with the Spirit. It’s not that I regularly have tingles down the spine or anything like that. It’s more that I’m conscious that any good I do is not done through some power inherent in Tim Chester. Left to myself I would be a horribly selfish specimen. So it must be the Holy Spirit working in me, giving me new desires to please God and love others.
But Jesus, the Son of God… Jesus felt more remote. I’m fully aware that he died for my sins and rose again to give me life. But that was 2,000 years ago. And in the meantime he’s ascended into heaven. What he did for me was a long time ago and now he’s a long way away. I was (and I am) truly and deeply grateful for all that he’s done for me. But there was not much sense of a present experience of Jesus.
So I started asking other people about their relationship with the triune God. Everyone I met and everywhere I went I asked people: “With which member of the Trinity do you have strongest sense of a real, experienced relationship?” I wasn’t asking people what they thought should be the case. I was asking them to talk about their actual experience. I would pose the question to whole groups of people, even asking for a show of hands.
It’s been a fascinating exercise. I’ve had a huge range of answers. Some people share my experience of relating to the Father and Spirit, but less so to the Son. Others identify primarily with Jesus. For others the focus is mainly the Father or the Spirit. And some people think of God in a rather undifferentiated way. And, no, before you ask, it’s not that charismatic Christians all pick the Spirit. The answers have not really correlated to people’s theological background or denominations allegiance.
Even more interesting has been the conversations that have emerged from asking the question. It’s a great way to get people talking about how they actually experience life in relationship with the triune God. I recommend it. Ask the question of yourself and then ask it of other people.
What I’ve discovered is that most Christians don’t have much of a sense of an experience of God at all, outside of Sunday mornings or a moment of crisis. They’re kind of aware that God is there, off to one side and available if needed. But he’s not a big feature of the nitty-gritty of daily day life.
But I believe in more. I think we can experience more of God. And as it happens, thinking of how the Father, Son and Spirit each relate to us in a distinctive way and how we can respond is a really important way to start experiencing more of God—Father, and Son, and Spirit. Enjoying God is my attempt to flesh out what that looks like on the ground in everyday life.
Enjoying God: Experience the Power and Love of God in Everyday Life.
Available from http://smarturl.it/enjoyinggod.