I've only read the first couple of chapters, but I am so excited about where this book is taking me!
Ingram opens up the book with what seems to be an obvious statement, but is often overlooked and that is this: a person's view of God shapes their entire relationship with Him. What a person thinks about God is the most important question they can answer, and when answered incorrectly the results can leave us in bondage or even cause eternal damage. In addition to this, what we "know" and what we believe and understand are often two different things.
Chip says it this way "Nothing in all your life will impact your relationship with God, your relationship with people, your self-view, your decisions, and your purposes like the way you think of God. Who we are and what we become cannot be separated from our understanding of God."
This is huge! And for most of us, this is an area that we need to examine, reevaluate and pursue further.
One of the charatcteristics of God that I am most thankful for is for is His desire for us to see Him and know Him - His longing for an intimate relationship with us is incredible and humbling. He knows us so intimately and so deeply, in ways we don't even know ourselves, and He longs to be known intimately by us. It is because of this desire that He has given us the tools and the heart to not only pursue but to know Him.
We have a large responsibility in what we know (or don't know) about God. Seeking God and learning about Him isn't a once come once served event - it is a long-term (often life-long) building upon itself process - it is relational to its core! And, as if that weren't exciting enough, it comes with benefits! As we began to seek Him, coming to Him with an open heart and open mind we will encounter the Almighty and, beloved, a true encounter with God does not occur without a true transformation within ourselves!! The more we learn about God the more we will be changed into His likeness.
To get us started I wanted to include from Ingram's book his "Five Action Steps" for seeking God. These points are based on Proverbs 2:1-5 which says:
"My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God."
From this, Ingram concludes the following steps helpful to seeing God revealed more in your life:
1. Accept, learn, treasure and store up His Word.
2. Submission and teachability, a desire to be taught by God
3. Develop a passionate prayer life
4. Make your quest for God a priority each day.
5. Motivation: If we seek Him with all our heart, we will experience the knowledge of the Holy One.
"True knowledge of God only comes firsthand... even the best description of God will never compare to knowing Him personally in all His grace and glory."
I believe that most of you, like me, desire to know God as He truly is. I want to see Him - all of Him that He is willing to reveal to me - and I know that that is so much more than what I see and know right now!! I want more, so much more - what about you? Of the five action steps Ingram stated, which area do you struggle with the most? Which area(s) are you willing to commit to improving?
To answer my own question, I see myself growing a little bit in each of these areas, which is exciting, but an area that I would like to be more deliberate in improving is storing up God's Word in my heart, I read scripture daily, but I am not great at memorizing it. I know how important this can be, and what a valuable tool it is, I just need the discipline to commit to it.
God is beyond anything that we can comprehend, picture or describe - we are not able to know God fully this side of heaven, but we can know Him more!
"Behold, the Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young. Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? Who has measured the Spirit of the LORD, or what man shows him his counsel? Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust. Lebanon would not suffice for fuel, nor are its beasts enough for a burnt offering. All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness. To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him?"
Just reading this scripture gets my heart pumping!! How great is this God we serve!!
He is the greatest of the great, the most loving of the loving, the most powerful of the powerful and the most just of the just --- can you imagine? Can you really even for a moment fathom the greatness and the fullness of our God?
I can't but, Lord help me, I want to!!