Originally created 01/04/03

Message of God arrives in stages

Far too many people die experiencing only a fraction of the abundant life God intended for them. They die before awakening to all the good things God wants them to experience.

There is a lifelong awakening to God's kingdom on earth.

The first eye-opener for a Christian comes when God becomes more than a biblical concept or something to exclaim when excited. God's love is fleshed out by someone's kind or loving deed for us or by our repenting and turning from a me-myself-and-I lifestyle to receive divine grace and forgiveness. We then awaken to God's unconditional love, validated by what God has done for us through Christ's death.

But this is only the beginning.

The two-cups-of-real-coffee experience comes when we see more clearly God's power to effect change. In this stage, we begin to experience God's faithful word concerning prayer, especially intercessory prayer. God does intercede in our behalf and for others. God is not only in charge and knows what he is doing, but God always has our best interest in mind, though sometimes we experience a loss in order to gain a greater good. Our daily prayer should include: "Lord, if I am doing anything which is not in my best interest, please intervene by whatever means necessary to change it. Save me, Lord, from my worst self and free me to be my best."

God also intervenes during times of despair and hopelessness, enabling us not only to cope and endure, but to prevail over our dark nights of the soul. The Apostle John said that the light of God's grace and truth shines into our life when we feel enveloped in darkness, overwhelmed by life's circumstances.

The final step is the "more fully awakened" stage that deepens as we continue our Christian pilgrimage on earth. As we take God more fully at his word, live in accordance with it and use our influence to make this earth more like the kingdom of heaven, it is God's word that is fleshed out in our life.

Dr. Gene Norris is a local Presbyterian pastor who now serves as a marriage and family therapist.


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