Bible Meditations

Spirit, not Syrup

Our God is a Personality.

The God of the Bible, Jehovah, Yahweh, Adonai, has personality, likes and dislikes, plans and power, feelings and serenity. He sings (Zeph 3:17), He laughs (Ps 2:4), He likes surprises (Matt 24:36), He gets mad (Deut 6:15), and so on.

What kind of face do you imagine when you think of God? The stern-eyed, rock-jawed Pantokrator, Almighty Jesus Christ, Judge of the living and the dead on the mosaic walls of ancient Ravenna, Italy, scared people into the arms of Mother Mary, the woman who could wheedle her son to fulfill her requests. Is your image of God stern? angry? soft? smiling? vacant?

Ravenna mosaic Christ Pantokrator

Many people in the world are in search of a god who makes them feel good.

Some religions offer bliss, Nirvana, love as undifferentiated happiness, like syrup. I once wandered the magnificent spaces of the Baha’i Temple in Illinois, reading the hundreds of quotations on the walls. Amazingly they all said positive things about god and mankind, love and understanding, toleration and peace. I found only one statement in the whole white and light gray or blue decor that even intimated evil exists and creates a problem to be condemned. Other mystics today carry on the traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism, talking only of peace and love, as though our minds and bodies only need to be relieved of a few cramps and misconceptions so we can flow with the spirit of the Universe.

The Holy Spirit is not syrup love.

The Holy Spirit of God is a person, not a uniform syrup. He wrestles (Gen 6:3, 32:28), He grieves (Eph 4:30), He burns (Acts 2:3-4), He administers (I. Cor 12:11), He rejoices (Luke 10:21). The Holy Spirit of God gives us personality: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control (Gal 5:22-23). He gives us power and love (II. Tim 1:7).

Even Heaven is not syrupy. Christ Jesus Pantokrator, the King of kings and Lord of lords, will wipe away all tears from our eyes (Rev 21:4), will proclaim our royal identity as children of God (Matt 10:32), will lead the saints into battle (Jude 1:14-15), will rule the world with us (Rev 20:6). He has plans for us that have been delayed by the sin of Adam and Eve and each one of us. Christ Jesus will not rule alone. He will rule with us, His saints and brothers and sisters, on a renewed planet in a renewed Universe.

Choose the true and living God as your trust and love. You will become a personality too, and an attractive, enduring one at that!

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