Location: Ireland

Sunday, October 29, 2006

How does knowing God is three in one make a difference to your Christian life?

C. How does knowing God is Three in One make a difference to your Christian life? (753 words)

For me, it is something that I suppose I’ve always been taught or always known at some level – “there are three persons in one God”. Even from a very young age, growing up in a Catholic home, it was something that I was aware of without ever having a very solid grasp of. In fact to say that it is difficult to grasp as a child is an understatement…and as an adult, I’m not sure that it has become any easier. The thing is that, because I have heard these words so often, it is very easy to forget that I, as a human being, should have a profound difficulty with them. However, although there has always been the element of “this is something we can never fully understand”, I think I am beginning to realise now that even though we may never be able to fully understand it all, it does not mean that I should just write it off as a ‘mystery’ and not bother to strive for a deeper understanding of who God is. I believe that our faith is something that will provide us with answers: God wants us to question and understand and grow and therefore, I think the fact that the Trinity is part of the very nature of who God is, leads me to conclude that if I’m seriously seeking to understand something more of who God is and how we relate to one another, then I have to look at the Trinity. And I believe that taking a serious look at any aspect of God is something that will be a life-changing experience in one way or another. And I suppose that that leads me on (in a roundabout way) to answering the question:
Since studying the doctrine of the Trinity with Grudem, I have become aware that I may well be leaning towards a tritheistic point of view. Maybe not so much in my ‘everyday’ thinking of God – I understand well that there are three persons in one God – but in my prayer life I do seem to pray to “Father God” or “Dear Jesus”. In other words, I seem to single out one of the persons of the Trinity (rarely, if ever, the Holy Spirit) in my prayer rather than praying to “one God”. I suppose I pray to Father and Son in “equal amounts” and quite interchangeably. The reason I think that I don’t pray to the Holy Spirit is not that I see the Holy Spirit as being “lesser” than Father or Son but rather that I view His role as being different. I pray to the Father and Son to “fill me with the Holy Spirit” and so because of this, I do think that although my prayers may seem to be leaning towards a tritheistic viewpoint, when I look at them more closely, I don’t think they are anything to worry about.
The effect that this has on my life is maybe not as profound as it should be, and again, this may be an indication that my understanding of the Trinity is somewhat lacking. It does however have some effect: Knowing that God is Three in One is really the ultimate example of unity. It is something amazing that the three persons in the one God are all different persons with different roles and ‘personalities’ (for want of a better word) and yet they work in perfect harmony with each other. It is quite extraordinary when one thinks of how Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all totally God and yet the Son does not seek to be the Father or vice versa. They are all aware of who they are and what they are dedicated to. I think even the fact that I am struggling to put into words the point that I am trying to make is an indication that this harmonious living is something that doesn’t come easily in my daily life when I come across people who have different roles in CU, church or life in general. It will be something that I would do well to remind myself of as the Relay year progresses. The Christian Union are a body of very different people and if they are to interact ultimately for God’s glory, how can I encourage them to find their own particular roles in the CU while keeping others interests at heart?


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