Getting Used To God 01

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord."
Isaiah 55:8

You would think that as powerful as God's grace is, we would just fall in line and follow Jesus, keeping in perfect step all the way to Heaven. But even though as children of God we have lots of similarities of our Heavenly Father, we have a multitude of differences too. It's because we still have a fallen sinful nature. Actually, we have a split personality in that we are spiritual beings, having God's law written on our very hearts and housing the Holy Spirit, while at the same time struggling with the carnal appetites of humanism. Born again believers are spiritual beings having human experiences and that takes some getting used to. For God's grace to always wear new, it will take more than a little preaching on Sunday, a witty devotional on Monday and a bubbly Bible study on Wednesday. It will mean having the Holy Spirit with working britches on! When I'm at home and sometimes when I'm not, I like to put on a pair of my old jeans. They are so comfortable and they are so because I'm used to them. Our God is described in the Bible as the God of all comfort. Why are so many people uncomfortable around God, His church and His people? Moreover, why are so many of His people so rigid, frigid and fearful? It may be because we are not used to God. We often treat God like a three-piece suit or holiday tux. Religion is so binding and bowed with tension that we can't enjoy God or His people. We have so much starch in our sanctification that bending our knees to pray or opening our hands to help others is a real stretch. If we are going to enjoy God, then we ought to make every effort to get used to Him. Now I don't necessarily mean to compare God to an old pair of jeans but I do mean to say that God would have us near Him every day, living in such a manner that will exhibit His atoning work on Calvary. That is a "relaxed fit!" Calvary jeans will last longer and provide more comfort than Lee Jeans any time.

"For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring."
Acts 17:28

When Jesus said "It is finished," He meant it! There is nothing we can add or anything we can do to improve upon it. What we must do is get used to the fact that Jesus died for all our sins - past, present and future. Now, that is almost too good to get used to, but that's why the gospel is good news. It also assures that as we grow in grace, getting used to this good news, that we won't take it for granted or be bored by it all. Yes, God's grace will still wear new, even if we live to be one hundred years old. One size fits all and can never be outgrown or need hemming.

Again, there are some ways in which we are like God. It's not surprising since we are His offspring, created in his image. We can think, love, and make decisions; and we have His spirit as He is also a spirit. But there are huge differences between us and God; always have been, always will be. It is those differences that we sometimes forget and that lead to careless living. Getting used to God is the only remedy. If we think God is just like us, we are wrong. If we make excuses for our sins and failures and think God will agree with us, we are wrong. If we think we need to lie and cheat and that God will see it the way we do and not hold us accountable, we are wrong. That would be like the tail wagging the dog and a dollar waiting on a dime. We need to get used to God because God is different than we are. He hates sin and we don't. He is perfectly righteous and we are imperfectly marred. God sees everything as it is; we see things the way we want to.

Getting use to God doesn't come naturally either. The Almighty perfect King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Most Wise and Merciful Righteous Judge takes a whole lot of getting used to on this sin cursed, devil run place called earth. Remember when the incarnate God came to earth the first time, He was never gotten used to. In fact, instead of Him being welcomed and loved, He was crucified. Salvation itself is a dramatic intervention initiated by God to change the direction and affections of a people called the election. Without that intrusion by the Holy Spirit, none of us would ever take one step toward getting used to God. The natural man hates God through his teeth and rebels and refuses the Almighty all the way to hell.

"But that natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
I Corinthians 2:14

Darkness never gets used to the light nor will the unregenerate sinner ever get used to God unless God calls him to do it by giving the gift of eternal life. No one will seek God until God finds us. But when He does, we respond, though often weakly and wobbly by seeking Him. Really, getting used to God is a part of the sanctification process. Because of Christís finished work on Calvary and it's resurrecting revival, God justifies us thereby declaring us righteous and fit for heaven and immortal glory. Our status goes by this justifying graceful act of God, from sinner to saint, and positionally we are already glorified, never to lose our eternal room. But our state in that status is what causes the rub so to speak. I guess you could say that being justified (just as if we never sinned) takes a whole lot of getting used to given we're not in heaven yet and we are yet living in the weakness of flesh and are subjected to an evil world and circumstances.

Think about when you awake in the morning. You lay there for a while wanting to get up, knowing that you should, but you're not really into doing it. Once you're up though, moving around and maybe halfway through that first cup of coffee, you feel better don't you? So, we have to get used to the morning. Getting used to God is a lot like getting used to the morning. We know what we ought to do, but there is a part of us that holds back, that resists His will. But when we go ahead and obey and submit to our Lord, we feel better as the day goes on. I have noticed in my life that the things I didn't want to do, the places I didn't want to be, when God wanted me to do them and God wanted me to be there, when I did it, and let Him have His way, I realized it was exactly what I needed. It just took some getting used to, that's all.

Marriage is also a good illustration of how an every day relationship is deepened and tightened by life experiences. A man and a woman are pronounced husband and wife at a marriage ceremony. Their marital status has been changed from single to married. Yet, their love for one another will survive only if that love is nurtured during the ups and downs of everyday life. Getting used to our marriage partners results in a stronger, binding love that will hold during stormy times and will not come unglued even during horrific hurricanes. Jesus even used marriage as a metaphor to show His faithfulness to His bride, the church, by giving Himself for and promising to present her to the Father without one spot or wrinkle. Now that will take some getting used to. He says He will do it though; that is, cleansing and purifying His beloved chosen bride via the Word. Yes, the Bible, the Living Word of God, is the number one way we get used to God. You want to get used to God? Then read His Word. We don't have God to get used to us; rather, we are to get used to Him. Just as we do not change the Word of God, the Word of God changes us. Why would God want to get used to sinners like us anyway? Really, God loves us way too much to get used to us. The result is that sometimes our happiness is interrupted with God's holiness. But God is more concerned with our holiness than He is our happiness. Simply put, God loves us too much to allow us to get used to the way we are, so He gives us His spirit and puts life out there with problems so we can get used to His sufficient grace.

As our culture has advanced in entertainment technology, education, and science, a humanist world view has become predominant in our thinking. We want to do things our way and when we want something, we don't want to wait for it. When we do appear to have accomplished or acquired, we want to take all the credit and act as though God has little to do with every day life. Like the people in the Old Testament at Babel, we try to make a name for ourselves with no thought of God.

Getting Used To God 02

Peace, joy and hope will come only when we make an all out effort to get used to God. I don't mean by that that we should try to figure God out because we already know His ways are not our ways, nor are His thoughts our thoughts. What we should do is get used to the fact that we can't figure Him out, but we will trust Him anyway. Here is a good example of how a child of God gets used to God by the Word of God when he's "up the creek without a paddle." Several years ago I walked into the Memorial Hospital rehab facility to visit Brother Gene Denmark. Brother Gene had open heart surgery a few weeks before and had been battling infection and fatigue from it all. That morning though, he was smiling and seemed to have a renewed encouragement for living. I thought surely he must have gotten a good report from the doctor or that maybe he had reached a goal during therapy. It wasn't any of those. He looked at me with his personable "I want to help you" smile and said, "I have found the answer to my problems. I found it in the Gideon Bible in the drawer." He then proceeded to read Isaiah 55:8-9, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord, For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." You see, the peace he had found was not because he had gotten used to the heart surgery, the rehab facility, or the pain caused by it all; but it came because he was getting used to God. When we get used to God, we get closer to God. This proves without a shadow of doubt that peace is not the absence of problems; peace is the presence of God. I have been in the ministry long enough to know for sure that when God's people are used to God they are used by God for His glory.

One of the greatest obstacles Christians have against enjoying God and having peace and fellowship with Him as their personal Lord and Saviour is thinking that God is like us. Then, when things don't work out as we expected, though we've done as right as we thought we could, we get discouraged and disappointed. It is hard to get used to all the heartache when there seems to be no legitimate reason for it all. It's real important to remember that God is not like us - He says so.

"These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such a one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes."
Psalm 50:21

Really, it's good to know God is not like us. I am thankful He is not like me. I am also very glad He is not like a lot of other folks I know. Since God saved us, he is shaping and molding us into His likeness. He is so serious about us getting used to Him that He predestined us to be conformed to the image and likeness of the perfect, only begotten Lord Jesus Christ. Getting used to God involves loving God. That, you know is the first and the greatest commandment. So there is no doubt then that God wants us to get used to Him. Getting used to God is more than knowing about God, it's knowing Him, intimately and personally.

When we get used to God, everything we do and say will be filtered by His grace. His holy influence should monitor our life choices; from who we marry to where we take our vacation. Generally we can get used to God by knowing what he likes and dislikes.

Getting Used To God 03

Really, getting used to God has to be done on purpose. The only real purpose for living is just that; getting used to God! If we live our lives getting used to the world, others, ourselves, we will be so miserable that we'll have to be propped up, medicated, and entertained to make it from one day to the next.

Prayerfully and humbly consider the following life themes as we get used to God.

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That's hard for us to get used to because we like to look on the outside. Apparently, Israel was not used to God when they demanded a king that was head and shoulders above all others. God gave them what they wanted though and it was their downfall. We like big numbers, lots of hair, and perfect teeth, but God is interested in our hearts. We want nice houses with big porches, yet God is more concerned with what goes on inside the house.

Getting Used To God 05

The lesson on the talents in Matthew 25 is clear enough, but it takes some getting used to. A little is a lot when the Lord is in it! That little boy with two fishes and five loaves of bread gave what he had just like he was used to it. Here again we see that when we are used to God, God uses us.

Getting Used To God 06

Naaman the Syrian got really angry when his instruction from Elisha was to dip seven times in the Jordan River to be cleansed from leprosy, and Joshua's battle plans hardly called for walking around Jericho seven times, shouting and breaking pitchers. But it worked! Getting used to God means doing what God says even when we don't understand why He says do it or don't do it.

Getting Used To God 07

Israel's route to the promised land could have been much shorter geographically. Viewing the Exodus map shows just how much out of the way Israel traveled from Goshen to Jericho. Maybe that's what it took for Israel to get used to God's provisions in perilous times. Getting used to God means we will have to learn to wait. God doesn't get in a hurry, but He has a perfect timing for all our lives.

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This is holy jealously though. God will not share His glory with anyone or anything. We must be real careful what we love because God wants us to love Him more than even our families and friends. After Peter denied Christ three times, it was no accident that Jesus asked him three times if he loved Him. Peter's comfort and ours was that "Lord, thou knowest I love thee." Getting used to God is becoming more aware of our love for Him and our desire to love Him more.

One of singer Frank Sinatra's greatest hits was the song "My Way." While Almighty God graciously grants us participation in the arena called life on earth, even experiencing successes and noteworthy accomplishments, we know it's God who gives us the ability to do things, even to gain wealth. We must never forget that what we do is only successful when we do it - His way. Getting used to God keeps His way in the forefront of our faith. It is our responsibility to get used to God. When getting used to The Bread of Life and The Everlasting Water, everything else is junk food. Getting used to God assures that every day is exciting because He is a God of miracles, and we are used to Him doing wonderful things every day. Finally, getting used to God makes it easier to die because the world loses its hold on us and we stop holding on to the world so tightly.

Brother Randy

Getting Used To God 09

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