About 4 years ago I was travelling home on a bus when I became increasingly aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit. By the time I got off the bus the feeling was so intense that it was as if God was surrounding me. I walked a few metres but soon found myself face down on the pavement, trembling. It was as if Jesus came and stood right in front of me & the sense of His gaze was overwhelming. All I could say was 'King Jesus' as tears ran down my face. In that awesome moment I felt Him say that He had set me apart for Himself, that I was called first to Him & to minister to Him in His presence.
There is no greater purpose or privilege than knowing & worshipping the Lord. He is the most awesome, loving, fearful, overwhelming, generous, kind and wonderful person. There’s nothing sweeter than hearing His voice & in His presence is fullness of joy. Augustine said: ‘To fall in love with God is the greatest of all romances; To seek Him, the greatest adventure; To find him, the greatest human achievement.’
‘But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him.’ – Psalm 4:3
To be a Christian or ‘set apart’ doesn’t mean we just attend a church on Sunday (although that’s an important part of what it means to be a believer); it is to be cleansed from the pollution & guilt of sin and brought into the very presence of God. We weren’t just saved FROM something but we were saved FOR something. God has always wanted a people for himself – a kingdom of priests who can hear Him, speak to Him and govern the nations for Him. Relationship is the heart of God and goal of salvation and history.
Tozer says: ‘The continuous and unembarrassed interchange of love and thought between God and the soul of the redeemed man is the throbbing heart of New Testament religion.’
God made you for a personal and intimate relationship with Him. We are justified by faith, but Jesus invites us to live as His friends – people who He can share His heart, thoughts and plans with. What an invitation - an honour not even angels have reached.
Today we live in a world crowded with noise and gadgets. We’re presented with an unprecedented number of choices & experiences and all of it can deaden that inner cry of ‘my heart and flesh cry out for the Living God’. Busyness always wars and competes with the whispers of God & causes our connection with Jesus to suffer. One of my Bible heroes is Mary. In the midst of the many options and demands for her attention, she chooses to sit at Jesus feet and He praises her saying, ‘Mary has chosen the good portion.’
Bill Hybels regularly asks himself ‘is the ambient noise level of my life low enough for me to hear the whispers of the Lord?’ How is that going for you? Are you being regularly replenished in His presence? Where is your place of meeting with the Lord? If you don’t have a regular place, ask Him to speak to you and show you where that could be!
I’m sometimes asked the question ‘how did you get to lead at such and such event?’ If we’re not careful, a wrong kind of ambition can creep into our hearts, which is more to do with gaining the favour & approval of man rather than growing in favour with the Lord and knowing Him more. Fruitfulness in life comes from an intimate relationship with our Creator. He has so much to share with you and is jealous for your heart.
‘Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.’ – Apostle Paul.
Religion is not enough. Titles aren’t enough. The praise of men isn’t enough. Only regular encounters and interaction with the living God can satisfy and transform the human heart. Oh to know Him & make Him known.