In my last article I wrote about Jesus as Lord and Saviour. The point in time when you decide that this is true for yourself is an early milestone event in the walk of a follower of Jesus. You become a believer.
For me, that moment of giving my life to Christ and deciding that He was my Lord and Saviour was way, way back when I was in Year 8, and I was just a teenager.
At the time I remember I felt on fire for God and super passionate about the new faith I had discovered. I had spent years growing up surrounded by the community of faith in the church – attended Sunday School – as we called it back then.
The foundational understanding of God and who He is, was developed through the persistent teaching and modelling of numerous seniors/adults who were my Sunday School teachers and then Youth Group leaders. Memory verses helped me to recite and develop a head knowledge of God.
Setting the Context
Having a heart knowledge of God was still in its infancy. Partly, the journey to faith for me was largely influenced by the huge hole that resulted from the death of my Mum when I was four and a half years old. This life event was in itself was clearly traumatic, but it left me as a kid asking God “Why?”. Why did He allow my Mum to be taken away? Why was I left behind? Why God? Why?
Interestingly, with my adult ability now to reflect and also analyse my childhood, I didn’t reject God or question His existence. In spite of death looming so large in my early life, I can see now that God was there providing me with shelter and a kind of comfort which I can only appreciate now.
Growing up in the faith community meant that I was always safe and secure in the knowledge that God existed, and that He did in fact love me. If anything, the love of God that I have come to know and appreciate is made that much more meaningful and impactful because I know what is like to have suffered such great loss.
Coming to an Understanding with God
The journey of faith is different for everyone. In recent times, my small group/life group has welcomed newcomers into our fellowship. Not just newcomers, but new to the faith and beliefs. This has meant that our group dynamic has evolved and it has given us this timely opportunity to revisit the foundations of our faith. As part of catering to our expanded audience of brothers and sisters in Christ, we delved into the Lord’s Prayer. This has also been a previous topic for one of my articles – and I referred to that very article to help distil the key structure and lessons to glean from how Jesus taught us to pray. One of the questions a new believer asked us was “when we pray – who do we pray to: Father God or Jesus?” And this question has stuck with me ever since – not because I don’t know the answer – but more so because it makes me think about my own journey of reaching the understanding I currently have.
We believers all share a core common tenet in our faith – God is a trinity – one God, three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We believe that Jesus is the Son of God – fully human and yet also fully God, sinless and blameless. We believe Jesus died on the cross, bore the penalty of all our sins, and then, on the third day, He rose again. We believe that the tomb is empty and that Jesus is alive and will one day come to judge us all.
The answer by the way – to who we pray to is that we can focus on any one of the three aspects of God. Pray to the Father, just as Jesus did. Pray to Jesus because He is listening. Pray to the Holy Spirit that we won’t grieve him with our sinful ways. It doesn’t really matter because they are each in of themselves God. They are each God, but they also have differences between themselves.
We can never fully understand the nature of God.
He is after all, God, and we are limited by our minds.
Over the years, I have developed my faith and understanding of God. Having the head knowledge is important, particularly for a strong foundation to be rooted in the solid rock that is the Gospel and Jesus. However, it is just as important to have a heart knowledge of God, and this is highly personal. In my opinion, it is not for us to work out and resolve the heart knowledge of knowing God, but for God to, in His own timing, reveal more of Himself to us. We can only position ourselves to receive and be listening to His voice aka the Holy Spirit.
Being ready to profess your faith publicly is all about that next pit-stop we know as baptism. For some, the timing of that comes shortly after that moment of salvation, but for others, like myself there was a whole six years in between. But I’ll save that story for another time… next time!
Nic Lee works by day as a Business Analyst Consultant whilst, outside of business hours, maintains an IT support & website services business. He volunteers with 89.9 LightFM (Christian Community Radio). Nic has served for over twenty years in his local church, in worship, technology consulting, life group leading and event management.