The latest installment of the Star Wars Saga hit the big screen in mid-December. I must admit, I was one of those people in a theater watching it on the Friday morning of its release… in IMAX 3D. I was a pretteen with the first Star Wars movie came out. I cannot admit (okay, remember) how many times I saw that first installment on the screen. Denise and I were in the theater with about a hundred other people. This episode tells the background story to part 4 of the saga. And even though we knew what happened before this episode and afterwards, we still enjoyed getting to know more of the story.
If there is one part of the Star Wars saga I have never appreciated, it is that it has relegated all the supernatural to some impersonal force. The dark side, or the right side – it doesn’t matter which, the supernatural is some detached manifestation of power. It is something that is used, or felt, or investigated, or channeled... but never personally known. And what is worse – some people can feel or use it, and others never will.
I am glad that God is not some impersonal supernatural force in our lives. He is real. He is personal. He wants to know us, and He wants us to know Him.
If there is one prayer I could have for all of us in 2017, it is simply that we know God more by December 31st of 2017 than we did on January 1st. There is something in our souls that craves more than answers and more than just a way to live. Our soul craves a connection with God that breathes life into us. It craves to know Him… not an it.
The prophet Jeremiah lived in a time when the people wanted God to rescue them, but didn’t want God as a personal part of their lives. As God spoke to him, He shared His heart, His desire for a relationship with us.
"I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 "And they shall not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the LORD, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."
We can all know God. It is His heart’s desire.
While I was on my Sabbatical in January of 2016, I took the time to read a classic Christian book by A.W. Tozer called “The Pursuit of God”. He wrote the book in 1948, and his observations about the Christian life are still astute for today. The heart of his book is about our need to pursue God as a person: to God interaction individually. It is not enough to know about God... there is a conversation, a relationship, a devotion that is needed from each person.
To most people, God is an inference, not a reality. He is a deduction from evidence, but remains personally unknown to the individual. Others know him only by hearsay. They have put belief in him in the back of their minds to make up their total creed. God is an ideal, another name for goodness or beauty. THEY DO NOT KNOW GOD IN PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.
As we begin 2017, we want to learn to interact with Him on a personal level. To know Him. To speak to Him. To hear from Him. To be led by Him. To connect with Him. As we teach through January, we want to set goals in our life and develop good relational habits with God. He wants more that visit on Sunday. We need more than just a few words of encouragement one day a week.
As we turn the calendar into a new year, we need God to be more than some impersonal force. The 2017 Episode of our life could be our best year with God so far. That is my prayer. That we come to God more than just to use Him or have Him apply His power to our lives. That God becomes someone finer to us than special effects and 3D CGI. Not to be tricked to seem like it is real. But for Him to be real… to KNOW HIM.
I am looking forward to this new year with you…