What we think we know
Jesus eventually told me that, like with Saul of Tarsus, He knew that I had to try my absolute hardest for a long period of time to gain and maintain His approval by things I did, so that I would eventually “break,” “come to my senses,” and confess (agree with Him) that what I was doing wasn’t working…and ask Him to do it instead of me continually trying to do the same religious things over and over and hoping for different results (they call that insanity).
His teaching involved showing me His true nature; how He is for me; His unconditional love; His amazing grace; what He did in His Finished Work at the Cross for me and everyone; and who I am as a result. He showed me that I am already as right with Him as I can possibly be, because he made me so—now He wants me to learn who I really am and live from that. He taught me that I can’t disappoint Him – He’s already taken care of all my sin, doesn’t keep a list of my wrongs, and I’m His Friend.
Now my motivation for life, living and relationships has totally changed. Rather than wanting myself (and for others) to have knowledge about God and “correct” doctrine (which of the 40,000+ denominations should I pick?), I want to know the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit deeper and deeper and more and more intimately and continually experience and enjoy their life as they reveal to me personally more and more of their goodness and love for everyone. Every day is now filled with joy with Them!
At the beginning of my journey, Jesus led me to words like these, written by someone with whom I’ve now become friends:
“One of the greatest barriers preventing many people from enjoying a life in grace is what they think they know. They are firmly entrenched in a paradigm of spiritual reality that to them is self-evident, however imaginary it may actually be. Without divine intervention, the religionist will never experience grace to its fullest extent. Why? Because a religionist is a person who depends on his or her own practices and efforts to gain acceptance with God. Recipients of grace must have a heart and mind that is open toward God—and nothing so decidedly shuts down one’s capacity to receive as does empty religion.
“Many think they understand the truth about grace, yet they have never even begun to comprehend the reality of its beauty in full bloom. Would you be willing to consider for a moment that some of the ideas about the Christian life that you have held as truth may not be grounded in reality? As you continue to grow in your understanding of God’s grace, you will see that it is so much bigger and better than you could even imagine. Open yourself to learn, and the Great Teacher who lives in you will show you greater things about Himself than you have ever known.” (Steve McVey)
Philippians 3:10 from the Amplified Bible became a real-life, real-time quest for me: “My determined purpose is that I may know Jesus (that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly), and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection which it exerts over believers, and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed in spirit into His likeness even to His death.”
Jesus started to show me that “knowing Him” had very little to do with studying doctrines and systematic theology that people and religious systems and organizations have developed. All of that is “knowing what someone else thinks about Him.” He started showing me that He, Himself, is the Word of God and He speaks to me constantly and He is my Teacher.
Some months ago the Holy Spirit spoke the following words to me: “Oh Paul, this openness you accepted from Me is what opened the floodgates of heaven for Me to start pouring out wave after wave of revelations of My love and grace and finished work at the cross for you and everyone!” I love it when He gives me personal confirmations like that!
As I have started to know Jesus, The Father and the Holy Spirit better and better, things have really changed! Since they have changed my life drastically and totally (not saying I’m perfect or that I never revert back to my old unbecoming ways), and since I have seen them do this with an ever expanding group of people both in my network of friends, and over the world, and since I so ache for my loved ones who appear to still be struggling with things that used to debilitate me, I am compelled to proclaim Them and Their love to everyone. I can’t go back to something that didn’t work. Christ’s love compels me to proclaim what He has shown me, what He has delivered me (and many others) from, and what I know will help my loved ones and everyone!
So with the above in mind, I have taken the things Jesus has been consolidating in my mind and spirit as I’ve been thinking and praying about how to help others come to really know that God is for them, and begun to include them in www.godisforme.org.
As the blind man whom Jesus healed said “all I know is that I was blind and now I see.” Similarly, “all I know is that what I believed before didn’t produce life, but what He is doing in me, as me and through me is producing His life not only in me, but in others!”
I hope that through the articles and messages and recommendations you see on www.godisforme.org, you will come to know beyond a shadow of doubt that God is for you!!!
~ Paul Gray