3. God Is a Person
God is a Person with a heart that dreams and feels in just the same way that you and I are a person with a heart that dreams and feels. God loves; He wants to be loved. God knows; He wants to be known.
3. God Is a Person
I want to address the core and center of reality, of our life and of salvation.
God is a Person. God is a Person with a heart that dreams and feels in just the same way that you and I are a person with a heart that dreams and feels.
God loves; He wants to be loved. God knows; He wants to be known.
We know Him first as a Person, equal with us as persons. Yes, God is far more than us in many ways, but not at the level of heart.
“I have found Me a man after My own heart,” tells us a whole lot about God and about man. We are just like God at the level of heart more than any other aspect of our being.
I do not know very many people who want to know God as a Person at the level of His heart. That means, I don’t know many people who desire eternal life. I do know many people who desire to live happily and blessed forever, but living forever in bliss is not eternal life. Eternal life is to know this Person heart to Heart in intimate union and communion.
I know many people who are very engaged with many ideas about God. Some of those ideas I agree with and even teach. But every single idea we hold about God, in the end becomes the veil that blocks us from knowing God UNLESS knowing Him is the real reason for our lives.
When we know God by heart, we know that He is meek and lowly of heart.
We know that God is a real Person who hurts when people mock Him and who weeps quietly in the shadows when people treat His Word, the Lord Jesus, with contempt. We know that God dreams of things He would like to know and experience for real.
God dreams of many sons who make Him visible to all; you and I walk on this planet because of that dream in the heart of God.
God desires; we are the fulfillment of His desire. God has placed His hopes for the fulfillment of His dream upon us. Do we know Him thus? Do we care about His heart?
Recently, a brother asked me a question that was outside the arena in which I live, a question of doctrine, of mental, human ideas about God. I asked him, quite simply, what do you want? In essence, his answer to me (not his exact words, but what his continued conversation must mean) was this. I want, I desire, the bottom line for me, is the joy and reality of debating, intellect to intellect, human ideas about “God.”
Apart from the salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ, this man will spend thousands of years devoting himself to such debate, convinced that he is “onto something.”
I can honestly say that from the time I was a little boy, regardless of whatever sidetracks I may have wandered onto, the desire of my heart has always been to know this Guy we call “God,” and to know Jesus Christ, whom God has sent, to know them intimately and personally, to know them for real.
I walked down the street in the warm afternoon sun yesterday, thinking, “God, You and I are one person; I am an extension of You. We are always together in warm and close fellowship. I, in all of my limited and bumbling humanity, am the visible expression of You, my dear and close Father.”
What is my only answer to the question, what do you want?
I want to know God.
Now, in knowing God, I know that the climax, the singularity through which all things must pass, is the revelation of His glory upon this earth, in human flesh. Thus, I also say that I want to be with Him in His glory as He stands upon the earth. But, though knowing glory is part of knowing God, if I did have to choose between knowing God and knowing glory, I would run into His heart alone, though no one else ever saw me there. How could I live anywhere else?
Yet upon this earth, both in the world and in the church, there is every kind of clamor for every other kind of knowledge than the simple knowing of God as a Person, sharing heart with Him.
In this letter I want to go back and forth between various arenas of clamor and the simple knowing of God, Heart inside of heart. My purpose is to draw a line for us, a line that holds us close inside that very Heart in which we live. This letter corresponds with another topic of critical importance I want to address, and that is “identity.” Identity is how we see ourselves, the story we tell ourselves about who and what we are.
Our identity is that we are filled full with another Person, a Person who is holy and divine, a Person who is All-power and All-knowledge, a Person who is meek and lowly of Heart. This other Person walks in perfect union with our persons, filling, saturating every particle of our humanity with Himself and revealing outwardly through us who and what He is to all creation, both to the earth and to all of heaven. This is the story we tell ourselves about ourselves all the time.
Identity and knowing God go hand in hand. Here, I want to look at some of the arenas of knowing everything about God without ever knowing Him as a Person, real and close, a Person with whom we share a Heart.
First, I want to look at our brethren, those with whom we share much in common, those who know the Spirit of God to some measure.
The best word to describe the pursuit of knowledge concerning God as found in those believers closest to us in Spirit is the word, “principles,” the ways of God as principles of life and living.
It is right and good to pursue the knowledge of the principles of God, the ways by which He operates and the means by which He accomplishes His desire in every arena of the universe. Knowing the principles by which God and all things operate is an important part of knowing God.
However! We must make a clear distinction found entirely inside the heart.
Consider two women, each of whom marry a very, very rich man. The first couple are similar in nature. She married him for his money; he uses his money to put on a show so that everyone knows he is rich. They will, of course, end up sleeping in different bedrooms, maybe greeting one another in passing as they busy themselves with all the surface attractions money can buy. But their hearts are so consumed by the money, that they hardly know one another.
This is the God of principles most Christians know.
The second couple are also similar in nature. She could care less about his money, she married him for his heart. If he was dirt poor, she still would have married him, just to be with him. Yet she is not ignorant of his wealth, not at all. Actually, she enjoys seeing the wonderful things her husband’s money has accomplished. She visits the orphanages he has built, the lovely homes that are warm and inviting, the fields of wild flowers in the morning sun. And the more she sees of his accomplishments, the more she is drawn into his heart, this heart they share.
Yet, in all things, what matters to both of them is being together. The money just serves its purposes that allows them to accomplish all the good and beautiful things their shared heart enjoys. And when she spends his money herself, he is as delighted in what she brings forth as she is in him.
So many people want to know God’s principles so that they can work those principles for their own advantage, for a better, more abundant, life.
God is all about an abundant life. Every one of us desires a more abundant life; that desire is part of God.
But the question remains, what do you want?
If God were Heart only, with no outward attributes of abundance, would we still sell everything else that we might know Him? What if there were no “eternity in heaven?” Would we still long to know Him? What if their were no glory, no power, no acclaim, no angelic hosts singing His praises? Would we still long to know Him above life itself? What if God were nothing more than a tear shed in the shadows, would we still love Him above all?
Thy loving kindness is better than life.
I’m not convinced very many people really feel that way about God, no matter how many times they sing it.
David did. David shared heart with God.
And so did Mary. And Job. “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”
Let’s consider just one principle of God, the word of faith teaching. I teach word of faith all the way through. In fact most of my teaching is based entirely on the underlying principle of the word of faith. So much of what I know of God comes out of operating that principle in my own life.
When I listen to word of faith preachers, I agree fully with almost everything they teach, and how my spirit sings for joy in their anointing.
Yet the bottom line remains the same, and is utterly personal and individual to both the teachers of word of faith and the hearers. Do we rejoice in the principle that enables us to know the One who fills us full with Himself or do we rejoice in the principle to improve our life experience even though God Himself remains a distant One?
The principle doesn’t change. It works equally well for both. The difference is entirely a matter of the heart, and that is utterly individual and personal. And listen, God loves both equally. The heart that condemns others for falling short is a heart that is always far away from God.
What do you want?
Now, in saying “those brethren closest to us,” I define that by three things. One is the practice of the word of faith, the other is the presence of the anointing of God upon us, with both found inside of “His grace is sufficient for us.” What about those brethren who name the name of Christ, but who repudiate speaking the word of faith, who speak against the anointing of the Spirit out-poured, and who see God as back then, up there, someday, a God of damnation?
First, God brings His own ones from many places and through many things, and He does not ask us what we think. We never assume we know what God is doing with anyone, because we certainly do not know.
Yet we do know that many are hardened into a knowledge about God that keeps God Himself in the far distant cold. I am presently convinced that those who see God as one who tortures the lost forever in hopeless, unending agony do not truly know Him as the One who fills their hearts full. How could anyone know such a one?
Yet we who do know Him closely, know Him also as a Consuming Fire. God fits into no one’s box, though He fills our hearts with all that He is.
Christians who remain in the outer court because they do not trust God, they think He’s up to no good with all this “Holy Spirit stuff,” are in very much the same category as people who “know God” by new age principles, that is, new agers. I want to look at these two ways of “knowing” about God. And for that, we start with a parable of Jesus.
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”
Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them. Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.” John 10:1-7
Jesus is speaking of three groups of people, not two. One group follows the Shepherd in all things, entering into all that the sheepfold is by the Door. A second group enjoys everything that is in the sheepfold, they just don’t want anything to do with the Door. But there is a third group, not at first apparent. That is the group just in front of the sheepfold. They are fixated on the Door, but they refuse to enter into the sheepfold.
They are fixated on Jesus as the Savior, and even on “Christ as me,” but they refuse to enter into all the life of the Spirit, all the expression of the fulness of Christ.
A number of people have asked me questions recently about these things. Some have brought up the subject of Eckart Tolle’s book, The Power of Now. I am planning to spend a bit of time at Barnes and Nobles this afternoon and intend to look at Tolle’s book and comment on it next.
Okay, The Power of Now was not on the shelf at Barnes and Noble, so I spent a few minutes with Eckart Tolle’s New Heaven and Earth. Let me recount my precise experience.
1. As I read, I realized that I agreed with almost everything Tolle was saying. I saw the continual correlation between what he teaches about reality and the things I teach that I have learned from speaking what God speaks concerning Christ my only life.
2. I recognized that Tolle’s “collective-consciousness” corresponds directly to “One Spirit,” that what we call spirit, he calls consciousness. However I also saw, exactly as I expected to see, that there was NO personality to whom Tolle was connecting, rather, an impersonal force that is collective to all.
3. As I continued to read, I continued to recognize that I agreed with almost everything Tolle said.
4. After about five minutes, the uncleanness coming upon my spirit became too much for me; I could not read another word. It was some time after before all the dirtiness I felt was gently washed away. I do not always feel that way reading what many would call “marginal.” The uncleanness did not come from any mental reaction; I read many different things, and my mind found almost full agreement with Tolle. The sense of uncleanness came entirely out from my spirit.
Now, in saying that, I am neither “judging” the book, nor imposing myself on anyone. Yes, Tolle has found and is teaching the same truth’s of “Christ” that God is opening to us. He has fully entered the sheepfold and is learning and teaching others all the reality that is to be found there.
There are so many people, so many Christians, that are willing to embrace Christ without Jesus.
When I first started this letter, some signed up from various “Christ as us” circles. They liked what I wrote, but objected to my using “Jesus” instead of “Christ.” When I made it clear that I have no connection with those who want a Christ without Jesus, they unsubscribed.
When I was seven years old, I asked Jesus to come into my heart. He did. My heart belongs to Him. Shall I, then, break that bond and give my heart, now, to a non-entity, an impersonal “christ-consciousness,” that merges me into an amorphous group on the one hand, but leaves me frighteningly alone on the other. It’s not a question because it’s not an issue. My path is set. I hear His voice; I follow Him. I have no need to judge anyone else; I just need to know the Lord Jesus Christ, the One who lives in my heart.
God is a Person, we call Him Father. Christ is a Person, His name is Jesus.
Is the Holy Spirit a Person? (Someone insisted once that I teach that the Holy Spirit is not a Person. They obviously did not read anything I write.)
The Holy Spirit keeps in the background. Christ as a Person has a Spirit, the Spirit of Christ. That Spirit is also called the Holy Spirit. But John says that there are seven Spirits of God. Is each a Person? Some would say that there are nine Persons in the “Godhead” since there are seven Spirits of God.
The moment we attempt to analyze the Holy Spirit, we depart from any purpose of God. God does not want His Spirit analyzed. The Spirit comes to reveal Christ to us and to form Christ in us. He does not speak of Himself.
Eternal life is to know God the Father and to know Jesus Christ Sent. It is the Spirit who knows the things of God and who reveals that knowledge to us.
There is One Spirit, all things live and move and have their being in that One Spirit. There are many spirits, some speak the truth and some lie. The unclean spirits spoke “true” words, “Jesus, You are the Son of God.” Jesus commanded them to be silent. They were unclean, and their words, though “true,” were still an impartation of the Lie simply because of their source.
God is a Person. Very few people give a rip about God as a Person, about His heart, His dreams, His desires.
As a Person, God has a name. We call Him Father. I cringe whenever I see someone call Him “Yahweh.” That tells me that person holds God far away from themselves, out in the cold. It’s not Yahweh anyway, it’s YHWH, and we are not “allowed” to voice it under the law that calls Him that. I can visit with my Father, the Person who fills me with all of Himself. I will never visit with YHWH, how can anyone connect with something so far away?
The Door into all the fullness of Christ is Jesus. We follow Him; it is Jesus who is our life. Yet we do not stay with the Door only, because He is also the Shepherd. We follow Him through all the experience of all that Christ is.
Here is the critical distinction, a distinction that will be a massive watershed as we go forward. If God is a Person, the Father, if Christ is a Person, Jesus, then we, each one of us, are persons. Did you notice that the Shepherd always calls us by name. God respects and honors our person at all times and in every way. Never ever will He violate our person, yet He fills our person with Himself. This is a wondrous and mutual relationship with us and God forever.
In the same way, we, each one of us, are members in particular of the body of Christ. Yes, we are fused together in One Spirit, we are members of one another. Yet only as members in particular. Never, never, do we lose ourselves into an amorphous “group.” There is never a hive mentality.
Owe no man anything except to love one another.
That love is full respect and regard for each person by name.
In complete contrast, the Beast and the Dragon are moving the people of this world into a binding collective in every possible way. That binding collective, this thought-less, person-less merging into a collective group is coming through the mind-control programming of brands, pop entertainment, and television, it’s coming through the public and Christian school exaltation of the group of people who have commandeered the powers of government, calling that government, “us,” and pledging their hearts to it’s symbols. It’s coming through socialist, “progressive” thinking and doing. It’s coming through the binding horrors of debt finance. And it’s coming through new age teachers who have found the truths of Christ, but who don’t want any personal relationships of respect and honor. They will not name whom they serve; yet they are, most certainly, servants.
People in today’s world want the so-called “government” to be responsible for everything. They don’t understand two things. One, that every master has a name, this one’s name is the Beast. And two, that there is no such thing as “the government.” Reality is simply a gang of thugs, a particular group of individual, primarily wicked, persons, who have learned how to manipulate power in this world for their own gain and pleasure.
The “oneness” that the people of this world are being lured into in the present hour also has a name. Death.
In fact, the practice of some of overly emphasizing “you are dead, you are dead,” without the very real and far, far larger, “you are alive unto God,” works towards this same de-personalization into a christ-glob.
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. 1 John 4:1-3
Now, I want to bring in two “questions” sent to me and my responses.
First – You stated that God isn’t in heaven... what about the Lord’s prayer where it says: Our Father which art in heaven... ? I know about the Scripture that says He is above the heavens... so I don’t know how to reconcile that if I am asked.
Second – Are you familiar with a book, The Power of Now, by Eckart Tolle? If so, what is your take on it? I am trying to figure it out.
Here are my responses.
The truth is, many things are related and questions from different people or things I come up against, though different outwardly, I often find are related inwardly.
First, Jesus said in John 16, the last thing He said to His disciples, “everything I have said about God up until now is figurative.” We must understand that NOT to mean unsubstantial or ethereal, but rather in this way. “I have spoken to you about God in the language of parables.” Figurative language is a superior language when you have two utterly different realms trying to communicate with each other. We know God first by story.
So when Jesus said, “Our Father who art in heaven,” He did not mean that God was not also in the earth. But Jesus could never have said that because His hearers would have interpreted it so wrongly and started worshiping everything earthly as if it were God.
Which is exactly what we have done with heaven. Many people, then, in hearing that God is “in heaven,” start treating heaven and God as the same thing. And thus start worshiping “heaven.” As a result, many ascribe to heaven, something God created, qualities that belong to God’s Person alone – the idea that heaven is “uncreated.”
So the clear teaching of the Bible, that heaven is part of God’s creation and is temporary, that it staggers under sin and the curse, just like earth, and that it will cease and be created anew just does not fit with most people’s deification of heaven.
Jesus was pointing a people who had dead spirits, who did not know the meaning of the heavens, upwards to the time when they would have recreated spirits and be able to worship God with their spirits and thus be able to understand the realm of spirit. On the other hand, Paul spoke of the realms of spirit as “the heavens” or “the heavenlies.” Jesus used figurative language, referring to heaven as a “place,” Paul, who wrote to people filled with the Holy Spirit, spoke of it as a realm all around us, a state of being.
The problem is that most Christians have deified heaven, just as the Israelites were prone to deifying the earth if they had imagined that God was omnipresent and all around us, filling all things, as He is and does.
So, in looking at what I said in “A Foundation for Abundance,” I think I explain this in-part. Except saying that many Christians “deify heaven,” I see only now. But, if you will check, I think you will find that I did not say “God is not IN heaven,” I said, “God is not OF heaven.” In other words, God and heaven are not synonymous. Heaven is not God, rather, heaven is something that was created by God in the same way and at the same time as earth.
There is also another problem related to deifying either heaven or earth, and that is the concept of oneness. Turning heaven into God is part of making God impersonal - a pervasive “force,” rather than a Person with a heart, just like you and I are a person with a heart. The “everything is one” people attempt to see everything as “God.” That is, making the earth “God.” Christians call that “new age.” Yet Christians make heaven into God in the same way.
I think it should be seen in this way, which I have shared before.
The “christ-consciousness,” “oneness” people want to see God in everything, but as a pervasive force, not as a Person with a heart filled with personal interests and desires. “Christians” want to see God as a Person, but far away from everything and utterly separate. Thus their deification of heaven lends itself to this separation, since they see heaven as utterly separate.
We don’t fit into either camp because we believe that God fills all things, and that this God who fills all things is a Person. A problem with some who teach “Christ as us,” especially those who emphasize “you are dead,” and even the thought that “I am Christ in Daniel Yordy form,” is a sometimes depersonalization of God and Christ and the absence of an intimate relationship. (Many others who teach “Christ as us” do not do that.)
Christians want a Personal God far away. New Agers want a god in everything, but impersonal. Wanting an impersonal “devil” that is only a “mind-set” is part of the same package.
I go in the opposite direction of both, thus few people connect with me. I want a Personal God with a heart filled with desire, filling my person full with Himself.
So, Jesus’ reference to heaven as a separate “place” is what is figurative. Heaven is earth’s spirit. As such, it saturates all that is earth. Nothing happens in the physical that is not first coming out of the heavens. In fact, I think that we can take the relationship of our human spirit to our human body as an exact picture of the larger relationship of heaven and earth. So, “God is in heaven” means, literally, that the Holy Spirit is in my spirit. Yet, since my spirit permeates and corresponds with every part of my body, thus Paul says that every member of my body is a member of Christ. Thus God fills my body as well.
But God lives in me as a Person. Yet God’s Person lives in a wondrous relationship of oneness with my person.
And that way of living and thinking gets us in trouble with new agers and Christians alike.
I think that just as we find many things in common with “Christians” who treat God as a Person, yes, but far away, so we find many things in common with new agers who understand God as filling all things, yes, but who want no personal God.
In Tolle’s book God is not treated as a Person with a heart filled with desires and cares. Thus, though it sounds the same as what God is teaching us, yet it’s not the same thing.
I think Jesus’ story of the Shepherd gives us the best understanding.
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. John 10
Christians are fixated with the door, Jesus, yes, but they will not enter into Christ. New agers enter into Christ with all boldness, yes, but they will not enter through the door, Jesus, rather, they climb over the wall.
We enter into Christ in all that Christ is and means, yes, so we find many things in common with the new agers. But we enter by the door, Jesus, and we follow His Person alone inside all that is Christ. And thus we find much in common with Christians, because we hold to the Door, whom they also honor, though they refuse to enter in.
But Christians don’t like us because we are too much like the new agers and new agers don’t like us because we are too much like the Christians. And we love all of them as persons because Jesus fills our hearts and we know God revealed through us because He is the One we care about, knowing that we are one with Him.
I want to come back to the beginning of this letter.
God is a Person with a heart that dreams and feels in just the same way that you and I are a person with a heart that dreams and feels.
God has a dream: many sons just like Jesus through whom He can show Himself as He really is to creation. God manifest in the flesh. Yet God cannot force His dream. God is 100% dependent upon us for the fulfillment of all His hopes and desires, in just the same way that He was 100% dependent upon Mary for His initial entrance into His creation. Mary loved her son not one bit less than the Father did.
We also dream because we are made just like God. God cares about our dreams, but He cannot force them into fulfillment either. Force is not in God’s box. God never violates the integrity and respect of any of the billions upon billions of individual persons He has created.
So God has a proposal for you and me. Here it is.
“I cannot fulfill My dreams apart from you; you cannot fulfill your dreams apart from Me. Let’s come together and share heart. For as we walk in perfect union together, My Person filling your person full, and your person, released in joy into My Person, then we will discover a complete synergy of fulfillment. Our dream will merge and we will fulfill our dream in all the singing of our heart, together.”
It’s called the Covenant. It is a Covenant in Blood.