“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas *said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:1-6)
Where was Jesus trying to take us? To heaven when we die? Are we really waiting for some “mansion” in glory? Okay, was Jesus saying that He was the only way to “heaven”…or to His Father? Of course, we all read John 14:6 and say, “to the Father,” but many of us really mean “heaven” when we die. We’re a lot like Thomas…clueless. At least that’s the way I understood it for 25 years of my Christian life, and most believers I knew understood it that way, and more importantly, lived that way. That’s because, even though I passionately loved Jesus, knew I was saved, even had many encounters with the Holy Spirit, I still had an orphan heart. I lived under an illusion of separation.
We were all born spiritual orphans. This, of course, is the result of Adam following after the original orphan, Satan. What this means is that we live like we have no home, or no Father. Even as born-again Christians, we’re still living as though separated from Him and trusting we’ll go to the right place when we “meet our Maker,” as if God is outside of us now. As if we’re not in heaven right now (that’s a subject for another time). He becomes someone “up there,” the “Big Guy upstairs.” We may even think He’s generally not happy with us until we get our act together. So, contrary to Jesus’ encouragement here, our heart is constantly troubled. Can I tell you right here that this is religious bondage.
Jesus came into our orphan world and reintroduced this Father of love to us in order to show us how to live in His Father’s house. He made it possible by His perfect sacrifice to reconcile us to the Father so we could be His children and no longer live like orphans (Jn.14:18). And He told us He would send us the Holy Spirit so that we could live just like He did when He walked the earth, abiding in Father’s house and proving to this orphan world that our Daddy God’s will is good, acceptable and perfect (Rom.12:2). This is the whole point of Jesus’ last discourse in the Gospel of John (Jn.13:31-17:26). To misunderstand this is to misunderstand everything Jesus is trying to teach us here.
So that’s what this blog is primarily about. And it’s certainly not a new or original subject. In fact, thankfully, it’s gaining a lot of traction in the body of Christ. There are lots of great books, blogs, ministries and teachers who write brilliantly about this, and I will reference them when I can in the days to come. But with all of the great writing and teaching on this subject, I felt compelled, and encouraged by friends, to share my personal story and my own perspective on this critically important subject. Why? Because, as I already mentioned, I lived most of my Christian life like an orphan–loving Jesus, having encounters with the Holy Spirit–yet feeling disconnected from this Father of love. And when I looked around, I found that most Christians I knew were relating to God the same way.
But beginning in 2007, feeling frustrated, feeling like my worship experience was lacking somehow, I began an unexpected journey into the Father’s heart. And it turned my whole world upside-down! Especially, in how I relate to God, how I read the Bible, and how I see myself and others. Through these many encounters with the God as a Father, my relationship with this transcendent God of the Universe went from distant and disconnected and unsearchable, to intimate and full of joy and abounding in love. And that’s where Jesus is leading all of us!
More to come!