Thursday, May 16, 2013

Dinner With God


             Have you ever had someone ask you why the gospels give different accounts of Jesus? Or perhaps you have wondered yourself why Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are similar, but different. When I was a newborn Christian, this question was put to me. Being new in the faith I did not know how to answer them, so I went and sought the Lord for an answer. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were different people. They had different experiences, characters, and personalities. They experienced Jesus differently, and they related to Him differently, because they were individuals.

            When we read the Word of God we have to understand that it is first, personal. God’s Word was written especially for you. Your experiences, your character and your personality are not like anyone else’s, so when you open the Bible and begin to read and study, God will speak to you personally. You will relate to Jesus differently than I would, or your sister in the Lord would. Matthew related to Jesus as His King, and that is what he wrote about, Mark related to Jesus as the Servant, Luke related to Jesus as the Son of Man, and John related to Jesus as the Son of God. Each wrote from personal experience, and how they related to Jesus based on who they were. It is important for us to realize that the Word of God is meant for each one of us as individuals, and that each one will receive from God personal instruction to help us grow in our relationship with Jesus.    
            Let us not compare ourselves to others when it comes to study of the word of God. For each one is given, by God, exactly what each of us needs. My experiences in life give me a different pair of eyes than yours. I see and read God’s Word based on my own personal life experiences, the characteristics that God wants to shape, and my personality allows me to apply His word to my life, for myself, first and then for others.
            Secondly, I think it is important to know that the Word of God is not only personal, but it is also relational. How we see and perceive people is different. We can all see the same football game, but each one of us, when asked will describe the game differently. None of us are wrong in the way we observed and perceived the events, because we saw the same game, and what we saw and perceived was based off our own personalities. This is true of the Word of God. We read and receive from God personal growth, which when we apply to our lives, can then be applied to our relationships with others. How I relate to someone may not be the same as you would relate to them. We all have different personalities, therefore we will relate to one another differently. God’s Word is given to each of us for personal growth, and for relational growth. We must allow His Word to take root in our hearts and grow in us so that we can then grow with others.
            Lastly, God’s Word is also given to us to share, meaning that God’s Word is corporate. Picture this:

            A group of Christians gather together for a meal. They all sit down in their seats; Jesus is at the head of the table. In comes the Holy Spirit, distributing to each one a meal. Each one receives a meal that is different from the others. One receives cake, the other receives a beef filet, while one receives just a salad, but all of them have the same glass of water placed in front of them. As they eat, they discuss the tastes and the smells, how it tastes to them, what they liked, what they didn’t like and so on. As they discuss Jesus is there, directing and guiding them through the conversation of the meal. At the end of the meal, they realize that even though they had different courses, it was one meal shared by all. The Word of God is the same; it is us who are different.
            We are all given a plate of God’s Word, and as we read and study it, we digest it for ourselves, and corporately what we tasted and experienced. Each one of us has a different view, and different tastes, but it was all the same meal. The glass of water is the Word of God, which refreshes us and brings us all together at the same table. What I see in the Word of God is going to be the same Word, but it will apply to me differently. This is why fellowship with other believers is vital to our walk as Christians. If you always eat alone, then you will never experience the whole meal.
            God’s Word is first personal, that is why it is important for us to read and study His Word for ourselves. If we only ever open our bibles on a Sunday and hear what the Pastor has to say about the Word of God, than we are only partaking in the course he has before him, and never getting a plate of our own. We need to open our Bibles and eat from it, digest it and allow it to nourish our bodies. The more we eat of it, the healthier we will be and the healthier our relationships will be.
            God’s word is also relational, because it applies to every person, every personality, and every experience you or anyone else will ever go through. When we partake of the Word of God personally, God will then allow us to share what we learned, how it applied to our lives and the same nourishment that we received, the person who has the same deficiency can draw nourishment from you. You can give them a drink of your water.
            Lastly, God’s Word is corporate, and is meant to be shared. When we sit together we each bring a part of Jesus. Who He is to us, how we see Him through our eyes, how we relate to Him personally, and as we bring Him to one another, we begin to see a complete Jesus. My experiences and tastes from the Word of God show who Christ is to me, and the experiences and tastes that my sister has from the word of God shows me who Christ is to her. As we talk and discuss, we begin to see One Jesus, not just a plate, but the whole meal, drink included.
            Reading and studying the Word of God for yourself is just as vital to our walks as fellowship with other believers. Don’t just take someone else’s word for it, pull up a chair and taste for yourself. As we come together as a group, listen to one another and see Jesus as a whole. There is only One Lord and One God, and when we come together we need to allow ourselves to see Him as He is to each one of us personally, relationally and taste Him corporately. The Bible tells us to not forsake the “assembling of ourselves together, but exhorting one another, and so much more as {we} see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25)
            Desire the whole meal, not just the appetizer. Read and study for yourself. God’s Word was written for you personally, don’t just eat off someone else’s plate, but see and experience Jesus for yourself. When we come together, let us come with the same mind, to share Jesus and who He is for each and everyone. In Jesus Name, Amen and Amen.