What Tone Does God Take Toward You?
What tone do you think God takes towards you?
When you read stories of Jesus throughout Scripture, what does His voice sound like to you? Is your reading predominantly scholarly, removing most of the tone and inflection from the passages? Does He sound more firm and rigid? If you imagine thirty-year-old Jesus living alongside the disciples, going town to town to teach, heal and be present, do you picture his eyes cut in determination or framed in wrinkles from smile and laughter?
Think of a time when you read an email or a text message and were taken back by the tone the sender was using with you. Perhaps you responded quickly and sharply, calling out their attitude with attitude of your own. Maybe you did not know how to respond, so you waited to address the issue in person – if at all. Then, once the situation came to light, you realized something that left you a little embarrassed: you completely ascribed the wrong tone to their original message. They intended it to be nothing more than a simple reply, or maybe they tried to use humor that did not come through, yet it came across to you as terse or blunt.
Many Believers that I talk with have an unintentional, even subconscious, propensity to view God’s disposition towards themselves primarily as stern, if not cold. We can talk about how God interacts with His people and creation in various stories and properly identify His love, His grace, His rebuke, His sadness and so on. When the conversation turns personal, though – when I ask the question that opened this reading – we typically do not know how to respond.
We must keep in mind that God's intent has never been that we just know things about Him. He is deeply relational, exemplified by His triune nature of perfect love and communion. That relationality is a main focal point of Scripture. Adam walked with God in the cool of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:8). God spoke with Moses face-to-face (Exodus 33:11). His full intent is to bring sinners (read “you and me”) into restored relationship with Him. That is the crux of our faith. Jesus went to the cross so that those who believe in Him – an invitation open to ALL – could be welcomed into His Kingdom. He wants us to know Him and to be fully known by Him – a beauty and intimacy that even the greatest of human relationships cannot mimic in full.
Wait, aren’t we talking about the tone God takes towards us?
Read John 15 today. Read it again tomorrow and each day this week. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you come to know the Father through these words of Jesus. Seek direction in how God relates to you. Let His truth grow your understanding of who He is and what He desires. The heart of that desire is to lavish His love on you, to fill you so full of it that your cup would overflow to those around you. As Believers, God is ever present with us in the Holy Spirit. That is how deeply He desires communion with us – that He fulfills His promise to never leave nor forsake.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you... I have told you this that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete... You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants... I call you friends...” (John 15:9-15 emphasis added) - Jason Simon, Minister to Students