I continue to grow and to be shaped by two guiding principles which have increasingly formed the core of my perspective and theology. These two things challenge me in my own walk with God and often cause me to reconsider what I believe and preach.
The first guiding principle is this: Jesus is God fully revealed, the only perfect expression of God.
IN MANY separate revelations [each of which set forth a portion of the Truth] and in different ways God spoke of old to [our] forefathers in and by the prophets, 2 [But] in the last of these days He has spoken to us in [the person of a] Son, Whom He appointed Heir and lawful Owner of all things, also by and through Whom He created the worlds and the reaches of space and the ages of time [He made, produced, built, operated, and arranged them in order]. 3 He is the sole expression of the glory of God [the Light-being, the out-raying or radiance of the divine], and He is the perfect imprint and very image of [God’s] nature, upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe by His mighty word of power… (Hebrews 1:1-3 AMP)
I love the way this quote from Brennan Manning states it:
“It must be noted that Jesus alone reveals who God is…We cannot deduce anything about Jesus from what we think we know about God; however, we must deduce everything about God from what we know about Jesus.” Brennan Manning
It seems that we tend to view God through the lens of who want Him to be, or who we fear He is. However, it’s only when we look to Christ honestly that we find God fully presented. This can be hard to do because He breaks many of our ideals and preconceptions. He challenges our ideas of what love actually looks like. He disputes our beliefs with His example. He is Truth itself, eternal, indisputable, and unchanging.
The giants of faith and the prophets of the old testament do not adequately present God. They are incredible, with a portion of truth; but they had an incomplete view of God. Simply stated, you cannot understand God or present God properly without Christ and the example of His life at the very center.
The second guiding principle is this: Truth can only be understood within the context of experiential relationship.
It’s become popular to say, “it’s not about religion, it’s about relationship.” But if there is no experiencing one another, no interaction with one another, then there is no relationship. Actual interaction with the living God is not only possible, it is the foundational premise of all Scripture and a fundamental element of true relationship.
The person who has My commands and keeps them is the one who [really] loves Me; and whoever [really] loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I [too] will love him and will show (reveal, manifest) Myself to him. [I will let Myself be clearly seen by him and make Myself real to him. (John 14:21 AMP)
The way many people know God is no different from the way they know Abraham Lincoln. You can read a lot about Abraham Lincoln and learn a lot about his life, but I doubt you would say you have a relationship with him. Why? Because relationship requires two-way interaction.
[That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]! (Ephesians 3:19 AMP)
Life with God was never meant to be cerebral. Maintaining and reviewing a collection of facts, statements, and beliefs is not enough. I have friends who seem to be one way online but feel and appear to be completely different in person. It’s not that they are misrepresenting themselves; it’s that a collection of facts, statements, and pictures do not sufficiently present who a person is.
We must really come to know God practically and personally, through knowledge accompanied by experience. We must require His presence to saturate us through and through with the experience of the love of Christ. It is only within this context that we can understand truth adequately.
Jeremy Caris is the founder and president of Caris Ministries. Since he is called as a prophet and gifted as a teacher, much of his focus involves equipping believers to hear, know, and follow God in their own daily experience. He teaches the foundational truth of the Word with simple clarity, while revealing deep things of the spirit in practical ways. He has the unique ability to demystify the supernatural side of real relationship with a living God and make it an embraceable and accessible reality for all believers. Jeremy has been married to his best friend, Mandy Caris, for twenty years, and is the proud father of two boys.