In the beginning, God
No heaven, no Earth
No Mountains, no valleys
No main street, no back alleys
No night, no day
No bills to pay
No glory, no gloom
- Duke Ellington, In The Beginning God
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1
The first words in the Bible state simply: “In the Beginning God …”. The presence of the Supreme Being of the Cosmos is there before the story starts. In fact, the testimony from the women and men who appear in the story is consistent: The only way to make any sense of our lives is to start with God’s active concern and participation. He’s already there and is waiting on us to respond to him.
Before there was ‘glory’ or ‘gloom’ there was God; peacefully existing and desiring to create a universe to share in the beauty that is life. Before you were born or conceived there was God.
But today, there’s so many conflicting notions about who God is and what God is like? (and for a growing number of people, if God even exists at all). Those are big questions, and despite the attempts of some to deny it, what we believe about the existence and nature of this God comes down to a very simple question: Whose story do we believe?
Look at God’s self-description to Moses:
The Lord—the Lord is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love and truth, maintaining faithful love to a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity, rebellion, and sin. (Exodus 34:6-7)
- God revealed Himself as compassionate and gracious. This is the starting point for identifying who God is. When we look at the self-description of God, we see One we can trust and who has our best interest at heart. God is for us and desires to experience the joy of His presence. But to experience that, we must trust who God is.
- Now without faith, it is impossible to please God, since the one who draws near to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11:4
The first step in our journey, is cultivating the habit of developing faith in God. But is faith a habit that can be developed or simply some attribute that some have and others don’t?
Look at this passage:
For the eyes of the Lord roam throughout the earth to show himself strong for those who are wholeheartedly devoted to him. (2 Chronicles 16:9)
To those who “are wholeheartedly devoted”, the Lord will “show himself strong”. Devotion is something that is developed over time by a consistent choice to trust God over circumstances. Sure there’s a lot of questions that remain, but the more we return to “in the beginning, God” the more we can get in the habit of seeing the Lord show up in the present moment and throughout our lives.
You may be like the father of the sickly child who cried out: “I do believe; help my unbelief!” (see Mark 9:24) and that’s okay. In fact, Jesus Christ stated: “For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 7:20).
If we cultivate our faith with the water of devotion it will grow. And nothing, not even a wholehearted devotion to God will be impossible. We just need to start with the smallest seed of faith and then cultivate it. Think about it. How does a seed grow into a plant? I bought a few plants in my life, and most have died. The one that has stuck around and flourished is the one I made a habit of watering and was consistently devoted to. As my devotion grew, so did the plant. Will you take the step to cultivating ‘wholehearted devotion’ to God? It is the first step in bringing yourself closer to a Gospel-Centered Devotion.
- Read Genesis 1. How does the reading about God cultivate faith?
- Have you ever felt like the father who said “I believe, help my unbelief”?
What are ways you can cultivate your faith and help it grow?