Keith, is the Bible true? And if it is, how can I know it’s true?
That’s a good question, one that a lot more Christians wonder about than you would imagine. The simple answer is that since the story is all about God, what God is like, and what God wants from the relationship with His people, only God would know if the story is true or not.
But there is included in God’s story a way for people to know him and know what he wants in a relationship with him. If we surrender our lives to God and begin to live in the intimate relationship with him, we can begin to “see” him walking around in Jesus in the scriptures. We see him loving and inviting people to live with him in the creative life of giving and being loved that he has offered to us. Then, in the actual living with him and for him, we will know that the story is true in a way that is convincing enough for us to keep going.
Since the life God offers people in the Bible is an intimate life of mutual love and trust with God and other people, it should not be surprising that knowing whether the story about God’s loving us is true can be determined only by entering the relationships and beginning to love and trust the God whose story it is.
The love of the God of the Bible whom Jesus called Father is a love that transforms those who accept it and try to live it and pass it on. And the characteristic way that love is transforming is that the loving reign of God in people’s lives works like yeast that is put in dough—it permeates every aspect of a person’s life, and not just Sundays or the “religious” room in one’s inner home.
My experience has been that I first surrendered as much of my life as I could at the time to as much of God as I could understand—which I realize now was not much. But I really thought I’d done it, and that was enough. And as I “took God with me” into the daily aspects of my life, work and relationships I discovered that my life was changing. I began by becoming aware that when I made time to acknowledge God’s presence in the different parts of my life I began to talk to him about what I was experiencing (pray). And I asked him to change one thing after another, until one day I asked God to change everything in my life that was not God’s will for me. It was then that I began to change my behavior as if God were continually with me—which I realized he was.
Although I could tell you thousands or more words about this process, you haven’t asked me to do that. So I’ll just finish this blog by saying that for me the transformation (so complete it’s like being born into a new life) is not just changing one’s ideas about God, but rather in my case it was the changing of my whole perspective about who God is, what he wants from people—particularly from me—and how to love without trying to control people to get outcomes I want to fulfill my dreams and make me happy. I began to think about how I could enhance the lives of people around me. The Bible calls this Life and relationship with God “Eternal Life” that begins “now and never ends.” (John 17:3, The Message) And this is eternal life: to know God and Jesus Christ whom he has sent.
Dear Lord, thank you that you didn’t bring a religion to control our lives, but a Way to live and love and learn about all of life. Help us to surrender to a life of love with you in which we can know you and your way of being human. Amen.
My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. (1 John 4:7-10, The Message)
God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us… (1 John 4:17-18, The Message)