How do we respond to all of who God is?

As I read the lectionary readings for next week,

Isaiah 6:1-8
Psalm 29:1-11
Romans 8:12-17
John 3:1-17

I was struck not only by the majesty, glory, and love of God but also the response that all of who He is elicits.

Isaiah responds to the holiness and might of God (Is 6:1-4) with the recognition of his own sin and uncleanness as well as that of his people (Is 6:5). When his sin is taken away (Is 6:7), he responds with a willingness to go and be sent out on God’s behalf (Is 6:8).

In Psalm 29, the glory, strength, and holiness of the LORD brings about his praise and worship (Ps 29:1-2, 9)

Nicodemus respond to the miracles of Jesus with recognition of where Jesus has come from (Jn 3:2) and a heart willing to ask questions in order to learn (Jn 3:4, 9).

Our Lord Jesus then encourages, not just Nicodemus but all who would enter the kingdom of heaven, to respond to Him by being born again of water and Spirit (Jn 3:5) and believing in the Son of Man that they may not perish but have eternal life (Jn 3:13-17).

Finally, in light of the righteousness we have in Christ (Rom 8:1-4) and the life we have by the resurrection of the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:9-11), the apostle Paul calls us to live according to the Spirit and put to death the deeds of the flesh (Rom 8:13), knowing that we are co-heirs with Christ if indeed we suffer with Him that we may be glorified with Him (Rom 8:17).

I am reminded of Nik Ripken’s reflection on his interview with the toughest man he ever met in The Insanity of God. This man had endured imprisonment, beatings, and being left for dead due to his faith. When Nik reflected on how he was able to endure, he concluded it was because

He knew for whom he was suffering. This man not only knew Jesus, he was also convinced that Jesus was worth whatever his faith might cost him. (The Insanity of God, 289.)

Though I am still working to discern what God has in store for me after my Master’s program, through all the uncertainty and the difficulty of the program and this year I know that God is far greater than the cost. I want to respond with the willingness of Isaiah to serve wherever God may call me and with the everyday walking in the Spirit to which Paul calls us. For now, I am fighting to put God first in everything I do and to trust him in every step I take.

What part of who God has revealed Himself to be sticks out to you? How are you or do you desire to respond to who God is?

What else sticks out to you from these lectionary readings?


Hi @blake, these are really interesting reflections!

What stands out to me is that when we focus on responding to God - and God’s uncommon pursuit of us :slight_smile: - we experience transformation in every part of our lives.

As we encounter God as holy, we realize our sin and need for forgiveness.

As we encounter God as glorious, we redirect our praise to God.

As we encounter Jesus as the one who gives eternal life, we trust him to deliver us from our greatest fears.

Along these lines, I like this quote from Donald Fairburn and Ryan Reeves in The Story of Creeds and Confessions: Tracing the Development of the Christian Faith:

We depend for salvation not on what we have done or can do, but on what Another has done and is doing. This is why we so insistently contrast faith (directed toward Another) with works (which we could regard as faith directed toward our own abilities). Here we should recognize that this is what early Christian preaching and creedal summaries were doing, but in a different way. By telling the story of Jesus and by naming the Father, Son, and Spirit as the actors in that story, Christian preachers in the New Testament and the early church were specifically not describing our own action or performance. The omission of what we do from the statements was just as significant as the inclusion of the story of Jesus in those statements. By that very omission and inclusion, preachers were calling their audiences to look elsewhere than themselves—to the Father, Son, and Spirit—for their salvation (36-37).

On a personal note, after I resigned from RZIM and felt very discouraged about Christian ministry leaders, I reconsidered everything about my faith. As I tried to find solid ground, I read various books, and this led me to do a study on the nature and character of God. By studying who God is, revealed to us throughout the Scriptures, and as the Scriptures were clarified throughout centuries of reflection in the church, I regained confidence in God… and, by implication, my faith. These studies are what became the First Love course in the Uncommon Pursuit Academy.

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