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© Rosemary Bardsley 2020

I recently heard of a book titled 'With'. The person talking about it said that it drew attention to the preposition 'with', in distinction from other prepositions - 'for', 'from', 'over' and 'under' - in reference to our relationship with God. These brief comments stimulated my thoughts about the prepositions that the Bible uses when referring to the relationship between God and those who believe in him. I have not read the book, so I do not know to what extent my thoughts below parallel what the author has written. If there is any similarity it would derive from the source of truth about God - the Bible.


I am with God (the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit), and I am also 'under' God because:

He is my Shepherd who protects me, holding me close to his heart. (Isaiah 40:11)
He is my King, my Lord, who commands me to do his will, directing my paths. (Multiple texts)
He is the one to whom all authority in the universe is given. (Ephesians 1:21,22; Philippians 2:9-11)
He is my Rock, my Fortress, my Shelter, my High Tower, under whose strength I find refuge. (Psalm 18:1 - 3)

I am therefore safe and secure under the shadow of his wings. (Psalm 57:1)


I am with God (the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit), and I am also 'from' God because:

He is my Creator, without him I would not exist. (John 1:3)
He is my Redeemer, without him I would still be trapped/bound/enslaved in guilt and condemnation. (Revelation 5:9)
By him I have been regenerated, brought from spiritual death into spiritual life, born again. (John 3:1 - 8)
He is my Source, my Alpha, my Beginning. (Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:3; Revelation 1:8, 17; 22:13)

I therefore know who I am and where I have come from.


I am with God (the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit), and I am also 'for' God because:

He created me for himself (Colossians 1:16).
He created me for his glory (Isaiah 43:7).
He saved me and indwells me for the praise of his glory and grace (Ephesians 1:6, 12, 14).
He commands me to live for his glory (Matthew 5:16; 1Corinthians 10:31, 1Peter 2:12).
He tells me to pray for his honour, his kingdom and his will (Lord's prayer, Matthew 6).
He is my Omega, my goal, my 'telos'/end (Revelation 1:8, 17; 22:13).

I therefore have meaning and purpose. I know what I am here for and where I am going.


I am with God, but never over God because:

He is my Creator, I am his creature.
He is my Father, I am his child.
He is my Lord, I am his servant.
He is my Light, I walk in his light.
He is my Shepherd, I am his lamb.
He is the Bread of Life, I am sustained and satisfied by him.
He is the Way, I follow him.
He is the Truth, I believe him.
He is my Saviour and my salvation, I am the saved.
He is the LORD my righteousness, by him I am acquitted (Jeremiah 23:6)
He is omniscient, I am ignorant.
He is the Almighty God, I am weak.
He is my Teacher, I am his disciple/pupil.
He is the faithful One, I trust in him not myself.
He is in heaven, and I upon earth (Psalm 115:3).

Therefore I do not confuse or blur the distinction between us. I do not need to strive to be God: I am free to be human, and free to enjoy God and glory in his love.


In addition,

I am with God, and I also live in God and God lives in me:

As a branch is in the vine,and the life-giving power of the vine is in the branch (John 15).

God dwells in me by his Spirit (John 14:15-23).

I am hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3).

In Christ, and only in Christ, I am complete (Colossians 2:10), I am redeened and forgiven (Colossians 1:14), I am qualified for heaven (Colossians 1:12), I am reconciled with God and at peace with God (Colossians 1:20).

Therefore, I share in his glory (John 17:22,23a; Colossians 1:27).


I am with God only because:

He, in a totally free action of incredible grace, chose to give me life. (Genesis 1:26, 27)

He, in a totally free decision of incredible grace, planned the death of his Son for me. (1Peter 1:20)

He, in a totally free action of grace, called me to himself. (Matthew 11:28)

He, in a totally free unexplainable action of grace, opened my eyes so that I could see him. (Matthew 11:27; 2Corinthians 4:6)

He, in a totally free action of grace, turned me and drew me to himself. (Lamentations 5:21; John 6:44, 65).

He, in a totally free expression of his grace, is so committed to me that nothing can wrench me away from him. (John 10:28,29; Romans 8:31-39; 1Peter 3-5).

I am with God only because he has chosen to be with me.


Therefore, I rejoice in him, and strive to make known his amazing grace, by which my relationship with him is guaranteed.