Whom Do You Say I Am?
Your personal knowledge and understanding about God would determine how you would relate with him.
The kind of relationship some of us have with God seem shaky because we don't yet have a personal understanding of whom God is to us. All that we know about God are what we were told by our parents and pastors and we're trying to relate with God based on what we've been told, but it has not been easy for us because we're yet to personalize the words that we have heard about God or create our own understanding of whom God is to us.
Look, someone can guide you into God's presence but you're the one that will decide if you'll remain there and what you'll be doing there. The funny thing about this is that, you just can't understand what being in God's presence entails or how to invoke God's presence on your own until you have your own personal knowledge and understanding of whom God is to you. And the only way you can have this understanding is through constant study and application of the word of God.
The word of God(bible) gives a vivid revelation of who God is, but such revelations were based on other people's experiences or relationship with God. And until we put ourselves in the position of such people or be willing to do what those people did that made God reveal himself to them, we may find it difficult understanding who God truly is and what he is capable of doing in our lives.
The bible may seem like a story book to some of us because that is what we think it is, but to some other people, it's a living and a life giving book because they have been able to personalize what they have studied in the book and applied it to their lives. The words in the bible are living and can change any life, but we can only start seeing the life and power in the word of God when we have that personal understanding of who God truly is to us. Your view and understanding of God will help improve your understanding of the word of God and your relationship with him.
This is why you need to have a personal study of God's word in order for you to know more about God for yourself. You know more about God when you study the word of God, but you can experience God when you apply the word you have studied. Thus, both studying and application of the word of God are very much necessary in the lives of every believer because it would enable us to form our own view about whom God is to us. That is, help us in creating our own christian experience.
Jesus Christ was discussing with his disciples on a certain day and he asked them, "whom do men say i am?" The disciples were excited to tell him what other people were saying he is and were going on and on about it when Christ cut them short by asking - "whom do you say i am?" And they all went silent trying to figure out what to say. I believe some of them were trying to figure out if they should also go along with what other people are saying christ is or they should say something different based on their various experiences with christ. But they were not very certain so they decided to keep silent until peter broke the silence by replying "thou art the christ, the son of the living God ".
Peter's understanding of 'whom Christ is to him' came not from what he's heard other people say about christ, but from his personal experience and relationship with christ. He has been walking with christ and seen christ do what only God could do, thus he knew this man is not just a reincarnated moses or elijah but the son of God - Jesus Christ that was prophesied long ago by the prophets of old.
Peter's response was not one of doubt or uncertainty but certainty, and such can only come from an understanding heart. How you serve, obey, reverence and worship God is directly related to the personal knowledge and understanding you have about God. Have you been able to create your own personal view of whom God is to you or you're sticking with what you were told God is without finding it out for yourself?
Christianity is a personal walk with God, but you can only enjoy this walk if you have a personal knowledge and understanding of who you're walking with. I've come across believers that see christianity as a burden because they think it deprives them from enjoying life by placing too much restrictions on them. I've also come across believers that find it very difficult to tell someone why they are christians and the benefits that they are deriving for being christians order than avoiding hell and making heaven.
Look, you can never enjoy the benefits of something if you don't have a personal knowledge and understanding of such thing. I believe that you'll value your christian faith more and not trade it for anything else if you have a personal understanding of who God is and why living the christian life is important to you. The value you'll place on your christian faith is a reflection of your knowledge and understanding of God.
Everything you've heard about God is to guide you to build and have your own understanding of God. And until you can confidently give a sure response like peter when christ asked him, 'whom do ye say i am?' you'll keep having struggles with your christian faith and building a solid relationship with God.
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