Yesterday was the fourth day of the fifth month, and many people nowadays refer to “May the fourth” as “Star Wars Day”, as in, “May the fourth be with you” – blatantly borrowed from the great tag line from the movie franchise Star Wars, “May the force be with you.”
It’s a fun way to mark the day, and every year, it reminds me of something very important about God: God is not a force.
Many people talk about various forces in the universe, or even about certain forces that may hold divine power. But let’s not be mistaken: the God of the Bible – the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ – is not a force. God is one, yet three persons.
That gets confusing for some folks, because when we think of a person we think of someone with flesh and bones who walks the earth like we do. In that sense, we can wrap our heads around the idea that Jesus is, or was, a person, but God the Father? Not so much.
To make it more confusing, because the Holy Spirit is invisible, many people – even well-meaning followers of Christ – will refer to the Holy Spirit as a force. But the Holy Spirit is not a force. The Holy Spirit is a person.
The dictionary generally defines a person in human terms, but the best dictionaries will acknowledge that in Christian theology, a person is defined as one of the three members of the Godhead, i.e., the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Each is a person. Not a force, a person.
While this can get into deep philosophy and theology, for the purposes of a brief devotional, let’s understand this: the fact that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are persons means that God is personal, and we can be in personal relationship with God.
Lots of folks think of God as very far off, unreachable, even unknowable. But the fact that God is not a force, but is personal, means that God is near, reachable, and knowable. God showed his great love for us in sending Jesus as the incarnation – God with skin on, literally. As an old song says, “He’s as close as the mention of his name.”
Forces are impersonal. God is personal. Let’s get personal with the God who made us, who loves us with an everlasting love, and who longs to live his life in and through us.
“God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him” (1 John 4.9, NLT).