Note: The following may be a little hard to understand at first (at least it was for us), but the more we learn about it, the more amazed we are at how wonderful it is! So, how can we explain it so that it is easy for you to understand? We will attempt to do so by first starting with the following metaphor.
Suppose you have a friendship with someone, and that person does something really mean to you that you thought was totally unjustified. What would be needed to restore your friendship with that person? Most likely the person would need to apologize to you and you would need to be willing to forgive them. Otherwise a relational barrier would still remain between the two of you.
In a similar way, all relational barriers between you and God would need to be removed in order for you to be able to enter into a privileged partnership of friendship with God.
So, you would need to be willing to apologize to God for anything you have done against Him. And since God has given everyone their existence, you would also need to be willing to apologize to God for anything you have done against others and even against yourself – since such things indirectly go against God as well.
So, if you are willing to say to God something like:
Please forgive me for all of the things that I have ever done against You, others, and even myself. I am sorry I did them in the first place, and I look to You to help me to avoid such things in the future.
Then will God forgive you and remove all of the relational barriers between you and Him?
We can find the key to answering this question by looking at the leg growing miracle. Why did the key name of Jesus work, but all of the other names did not work? What this shows us is that there is something very significant about the name of Jesus. Not only is the name of Jesus key for the leg growing miracle, but it also holds the key for you being able to truly receive forgiveness from God and to come into a close friendship with Him. So, if we can first understand who Jesus is and what Jesus did for us, it is the key that we need.
Jesus lived on earth over 2,000 years ago and was both ordinary and extraordinary. Jesus was ordinary in that He was very down-to-earth, relational, and approachable. Jesus was incredibly extraordinary in that He had the fullness of God dwelling in Him. In other words, God did an incredibly amazing thing by coming down to earth as a human – taking on both human characteristics and also characteristics unique to God. In Jesus’ humanness, He got hungry and tired, felt pain, and experienced normal human emotions. In His divine nature, Jesus had all of the amazing characteristics and desires of God that we looked at earlier.
And the amazing thing Jesus did for you was something He really did not want to do because of how painful and ugly it would be. Much worse than having to do chores that He did not feel like doing. Much worse than having to go to a job that He did not feel like going to. Instead, it was sacrificing His very life to pay for all the things humans have done that have worked against them being able to love God, others, and themselves. This was not only for humans of that day, but for all humans: past, present, and future.
Side note: From this point forward, we will use the term “relational violations” to represent all of the things humans do that work against them being able to love God, others, and themselves. This even includes things that are not easily seen as working against someone being able to love God, others, and themselves, but in reality are things that actually do so and in turn contribute toward the forming of relational barriers.
What had occurred was that the government of Jesus’ day thought they were simply executing Jesus to please the religious people who had wanted Jesus to be killed. Those people did not like Jesus doing many miracles and promoting relational friendship that in turn made them look bad in their non-relational religiousness. They were also jealous of Jesus’ popularity. On top of this, Jesus claimed to be God – which those people considered to be blasphemous (in other words, a really bad thing to do in their view). Because of all of this, they persuaded the government officials to have Jesus executed through crucifixion – which is a slow death by hanging on a cross (a much nastier version of modern day lethal injection or even a firing squad). So, from their perspective they wanted Jesus out of their lives permanently, but from God’s perspective He allowed this sequence of events to play out so that He could give an incredible example of the kind of love that He has for you, and for all humans, by providing a means of forgiveness based upon His paying for all of our relational violations on the cross. And after Jesus died, He then did another amazing thing by rising from the dead! Death could not hold Him since He was indeed God and also flawless in that He had never committed a relational violation Himself. His resurrection shows that God’s payment for us on the cross is complete! It is paid in full, so to speak!
The crucifixion of Jesus can seem a little strange at first if we do not realize it is God Himself paying for all of the relational violations. In other words, it is not like a parent (God) who beats up their child (Jesus) so that they can be kind to the other kids in the neighborhood (us) on behalf of that beat up child. If such were the case, we would most likely conclude that God is not truly loving. So it was not just Jesus as a human taking on physical punishment, instead it was the huge heart of God taking on all the relational violations that all humans have done toward each other and toward Him. Our guess is that the heart of God is probably much bigger than at least from the earth to the moon, since God Himself is larger than our universe and even larger than we can comprehend. And that huge heart of God was filled with pain as it took on all of the pain of all relational violations. The thought of doing this for just one person is amazing let alone for all people of all times! So this was an amazing demonstration and sample of the kind of love that God has for you!
The cross establishes an anchor for how loving God is toward you and can help you to understand certain questions such as, “Is God a distant God or does He truly love me and care that I have to deal with the challenges of life?” The cross shows you that God has a tremendous heart of love for you and is willing to suffer more on your behalf than any suffering that you will face in life. With the same kind of love God had for you when He hung on the cross and paid for all of your relational violations, He is willing to walk through life with you and to help you with all of the challenges that you go through. So, if you are willing to commit your life to God, and receive His love and forgiveness according to His payment for you on the cross, then He is willing to forgive you and to even come and live inside of you through His Holy Spirit – and then to help you from the inside! For God to be willing to be so close to you that He is willing to live inside of you by His Spirit is incredible! Instead of you having to live like an orphan out on your own, God is willing to adopt you into His family – under His wings, so to speak! Instead of abandoning you, God is willing to always be with you – even with you through any suffering that you wind up going through. So, if you understand that God loves you that much and He is inviting you into a wonderful privileged partnership of friendship with Himself, and you are willing to put that friendship as a top priority so that He can free you into all that He knows you are uniquely designed to be and to become, then God’s work on the cross on your behalf is the needed key for you to access all of this.
So putting all of this together, here are steps you can take to have all of the relational barriers removed between you and God and to come into a close friendship with Him. You could say the following to God out loud or in your heart/mind:
I commit my life to You for all of the things described in the ‘Thing 3’ section, since these things are needed for a privileged partnership of friendship with You to work well. I am sorry for all of the relational violations I have made toward You, others, and myself. I look to You to help me to avoid such violations in the future. I ask You to forgive me according to Your payment for me on the cross. Please fill me with a great measure of You (Your Holy Spirit) and please help me to become a wonderful friend to You as I join You in a privileged partnership of friendship. According to the name of Jesus I ask You for these things. Thank You!
What an amazing step you just took! It is even more amazing than the miracle of your leg growing out!
Now that you have taken this amazing step, you may wonder if there is anything that can help you to do well in your friendship with God. There are two things that we would highly recommend.
The first thing is in regard to what we had shared with you earlier, when we said:
So, this being is able to activate a light in you, so to speak, so that you can not only know the reality that this being actually exists, but you can also have a wonderful friendship with this being! Later on we will explain more about how you can turn on this light by asking this invisible being to turn on the light for you.
So now that you have already asked God to forgive you and to fill you with His Holy Spirit, we would recommend that you say the following to God out loud or in your heart/mind:
God, please turn on the light, so to speak, so that I can know the reality of Your existence. And in this, please give me an incredible knowledge of Your presence with me. According to the name of Jesus, I ask this of You. Thank You.
We think it is incredible that God can enable us to know His presence and to grow us in a great friendship with Him. And we find that asking Him for such things is really helpful to do.
The second thing we would highly recommend is that you would read the fairly short Deeper Friendships which we are providing free of charge for you at www.DeeperFriendships.com. It builds upon Would you like to see an Amazing Miracle? and gives additional details in what we have found to be very helpful in a life of friendship with God.
We hope you have enjoyed reading Would you like to see an Amazing Miracle? and have enjoyed seeing at least one miracle! And we also hope it has helped you toward the greatest treasure of living a life of friendship with God!
Scott and Bonna Brooks