We say as part of the Nicene Creed, “I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten son of God, born of the father before all ages. God from God….”
‘The Rule’ offers a way in which this might have occurred. While the story is primarily written so it might be adapted into a stage production, it challengers us to question within our own minds whether we are a true Christian and really believe in Jesus and His teachings.
So often we hear the term ‘Born Again Christian’. Jesus says, “we cannot see the kingdom of God unless we are born again”, being ‘born again’ seems then to be the most urgent task for those who hope for heaven.
Some might see being ‘born again’ as a process, often associated with what some Christians refer to as a ‘baptism in the Spirit’. I see being ‘born again’ in Christian terminology, as a decision made at some particular stage in our adult life when we come to the personal realisation that we really do believe in Jesus and His teachings. Being ‘born again’ is a decision we make and not just a feeling or an emotion.
In ‘The Rule’ we see Jesus as ‘The Word’ being created by The Father, God from God. When Mary made the decision to say ‘yes’ to becoming the mother of Jesus, she accepted Jesus as her saviour and He was born again, this time in human form. And thus, it could be said that, because of that decision, Mary became the first ‘born again’ Christian.
Although we may have been raised in a Christian environment, been baptised, taught about and read about Jesus this, in my opinion, does not qualify us as ‘born again’ Christians.
Just as The Father created Man and woman to populate his earthly creation, He is the one who determines when the miracle of birth will occur. He is the one who creates us with individual fingerprints and DNA characteristics. While we might often question whether a birth should ever have occurred, there must be an underlying reason why The Father created each individual human miracle.
As we live our individual lives, most of us become exposed to Christianity in its numerous forms. Maybe, we gain knowledge from a young age or are influenced towards Christian thinking at an older age. Maybe, we have serious reservations about what the Bible contains and how we see some Christians live their lives. Maybe we are happy to just see our Creator in the nature that surrounds us.
I believe our God allows us to find him in the way most suited to us as individuals. Some might call this the ‘gift’ of faith, others might see it as the ‘grace’ of discovery. When we consider that we were created so we might spend eternity in heaven, our God has to give us all a chance to become the person for which we were created.
It is my belief that at some time in our lives we are given the opportunity to make the decision that says ‘I truly believe’. It is at that moment we are ‘born again’ and reciting The Creed takes on a whole new meaning as does our understanding of who Jesus was and the importance of ‘The Rule’.
So, let’s take another look at ‘The Rule’
“Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.” (Luke 10:25)
When you think about it, this represents a really serious form of loving. We must question ourselves whether we really understand the true significance of loving at this depth? How do we go about having a love affair which, under normal circumstances with an earthly partner, can often be a difficult ask?
Our God is unlike any partner we might encounter and therefore the enormity of the task might seem insurmountable. Yet, if this is what we must do to get to heaven then let’s together find a way in which we might fall totally in love with God.
As with the start of any love affair we need to find out as much about our lover as we can. If we are fortunate enough to have been raised in a Christian environment this gives us a reasonable background of understanding. If we have only recently found we have been given the gift of faith then we have some catching up to do. The basic book of knowledge of course is the Bible, but it is such a massive tome we need some balanced help to gain a broad picture of our God’s operation from creation to eternity.
There are certainly mountains of books available which, if you spent much of your time reading could seriously hamper the time you give yourself in which to get deeper into your loving relationship.
A love relationship is a two-way street. Partners need to be totally open and honest with each other just to get the relationship off the ground. So, let’s look at what God is prepared to put towards cementing our loving union. Well firstly, God’s main claim to fame is that we were created as unique individuals. We have been placed in a world created to provide for our every need. All around us we can use our senses to see, feel and touch this evolving creation. This must be considered as a reasonable contribution.
History has shown it became obvious we weren’t recognising the love God had given us and many were refusing to even recognise God’s existence, preferring to do their own ‘thing’ in furthering their individual causes in this world.
After many warnings, the Father sacrificed His own Son who was called Jesus to prove the love our God has for us all.
Apart from giving us the directions we need to create a wonderful love relationship with God and with each other, Jesus told us he was the way to the Father and then proved the love our God has for us by suffering and dying for us. Not only that, but He made a covenant or total commitment to always be available for each of us.
So, it is patiently obvious our God has already fulfilled all the needs of a great loving partner. How then can we fulfill our side of the bargain? Just as with a human partner, true love is more than a feeling or an action, it is a decision. We jointly decide to love one another. Our God has already made the decision to love us, so we need to make this decision before going any further in developing the relationship further.
This is where the proposed love affair gets tricky. With a human partner you can embrace each other, you can see the look in their eyes, you can feel their heartbeat in unison with your own and you might even enjoy a sexual relationship. There are just so many emotions you can share which helps cement your relationship. It would seem this human form of relationship cannot be duplicated with our God. Or can it?
We can certainly be aware of the presence of our creator if we look at and feel the breeze blowing through the trees or stop and listen to the birds chattering in the branches. We can see our God in the beauty of a sunset or the glory of the sky as it lights up to start a new day. We can see the creator’s work in the simple beauty of a baby, the caring look on the face of a friend or the amazing strata of an exposed cliff face. The power behind an electrical storm, the wonder of our planetary system and the constant ebb and flow of the tides are also other indicators.
While we might live in the midst of the wonders of God’s creations, sadly we tend to take it all for granted. Perhaps this could be where our love relationship could start. We could just recognise God’s presence in our lives.
For our human love relationships to survive we need to be good communicators and we need to respect and be honest with each other. So, how might we achieve these aspects of our love affair with our God?
Instead of seeing our God as an almighty entity who lives in eternity and who seems beyond our reach, perhaps we could focus in on a just a simple relationship with Jesus. The advantage of this is that Jesus was human like us and lived in our world. We can seek Him out because he wants us to find Him. We can talk to Him as a brother, involve Him in all that we do and ask Him to help and support us as He has promised.
Let us see Jesus as an integral part of our lives and constantly thank Him for helping us in so many ways. Let’s not wait until we look back on our yesterdays to see how Jesus has helped us. Let’s thank Him constantly and we will soon become aware of all the little things that are happening in our lives thanks to our ongoing friendship and love affair with our God.
Thank you Jesus for your inspiration.