Following God means that we know which God to follow.
Christian theologians tell us that the persons of God are three, in a trinity of Father, Son and Sprit. The Trinity package of God is present to us in three relationships, all as one God.
How in heaven’s name do we grasp this? How are we to image a multi-person God?
I know the following attributes about the personalities of a Triune God in my own make-up. I have many roles to play in my life. My roles, like the Trinity, come with responsibilities and with authority. I am father, husband, son, friend, etc. These roles tie us to others in relationship. This part – the role and responsibility part – touches almost all of us when we parent. We birth children; we co-create them with God; and we raise them under his umbrella of grace and mercy. Even those who never have children know this yearning, and often are thrust into that responsibility anyway. We shower our children with as much grace as we can – safe environments, challenging educations, etc. The mercy we extend to our children’s transgressions often stuns observers watching a patient and forgiving mother or father.
God wants us to know the awesome and creative responsibility of God as Father. God is the ultimate parent. Parental roles, indeed any leadership role we have accepted or have found ourselves charged with, reflect in a small way the authority of God as Father, and God’s unimaginable responsibility as creator. God made the universe totally reliant upon his authority, his breath, and even presence. This is a high maintenance creation, which calls out to him constantly. In a fantastic gift of sharing his divinity, he calls us to be co-creators with him.
I am also flesh and bones. I am physically real, and in tactile and sensual relationship with others. Again, the God-like roles of the Trinity play out. As a believer, baptized in both water and the Spirit, I am now a son of the Father, and a brother to Jesus. At all times I am urged to be a friend of God. In this attribute of the physical, I exercise my free will to submit to the Father and act as a disciple to his only begotten son, Jesus.
Finally, I am spirit. I transcend this created world because God says we should not remain tied to it. He has another place for us. Therefore, I am a spiritual being who will live on after I die to this life. While here, and forever more, I will hear the Holy Spirit’s voice. This is not a voice of platitudes or only surface proverbs, but a conscious, comforting presence from the Spirit of God who leads us in our path. We put our feet down where this voice quietly urges us to go.
Understanding the three persons in these contexts is not a huge leap when we grasp God’s relationship in light of our creator’s intentions. God intended us to be like him, to image him. We must align ourselves to him to reflect his light and presence to others, he tells us. We emulate the Trinity.