When I was in Bible College, one of my Professors taught us that the grand theme of scripture is redemption. While I agree that it is one theme, there is another that should be considered. I submit that one of the grand themes of scripture is the story of human life with God. In fact, the narrative of scripture shapes this idea of life with God from the very beginning. God creates the world, makes the man and the woman, then we’re told he planted a garden so he would have a place to be with the man and the woman. It’s all about being with.
This God who created the universe wanted to be with His creation and He wants to be with you. You were made to walk with God. You were madefor what Dallas Willard calls a “with God” life. Don’t breeze past this sentence:
Your soul was made for life with God.
Yes, there was a fall, but in spite of the fall, God never gave up His desire to be with us. We read along in the narrative and meet a man named Enoch and it’s said that…
Enoch walked faithfully with God….
(Genesis 5:24 NIV)
A little further we read….
“….Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. (Genesis 6:9 NIV)
Then we find that God was with Abraham, and with Isaac and also with Jacob the deceiver. And God was with Jacob’s son Joseph and we’re pretty familiar with Joseph’s story. He had a tough stretch of years in his life where he was sold into slavery and later cast into prison but we’re told that in slavery…
The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered… (Genesis 39:2 NIV)
“…But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. (Genesis 39:20-21 NIV)
Even the most painful places of our life end up being places where life with God is still possible.
As we read further we find that God is with Moses and longs to be with the people of Israel so much, he commands them…
“Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. (Exodus 25:8 NIV)
Later comes the temple, further accentuating God’s desire to be with us. Finally something amazing happens: A baby is born.
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). (Matthew 1:23 NIV)
The creator of the universe stepped out of eternity and into time – took on human flesh for one purpose: to be “with us”. Jesus Himself tells us what the plan is going forward.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
(John 15:5 NIV)
We are called to remain (abide) in Him. When that happens, fruit follows. He made this abiding life available to 12 disciples and 11 of them change the world. Then soon after there was the Acts 2 community that we’ve spent the last 2000 years trying to get back to. I doubt any of us have ever been a community like this:
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. (Acts 2:42 NIV)
The fruit followed. They demonstrated for us the perfect model of what can happen when people do life with God in community.
Now it’s our turn. Can we live a “with God” life? How can we be transformed by life with God in our world, especially in light of the fact that whether you realize it or not, this is what your soul truly longs for and was wired to go after. Are you abiding? Tomorrow we’ll give some practical ways that you can do this.