The Single, Most Important Thing in Our Lives

107023_sun_burst1The nature of God is a topic I keep coming back to again and again. Over my years of knowing Him, He is constantly revealing more of Himself to me, and to all who are searching for a greater understanding of Him. It is His express will and great desire for us to know Him. It is the very reason He created us, to enter into an intimate relationship with Him. To prove it, He put His Holy Spirit within us in order to reveal Himself to us.

Paul, inspired by His Spirit, knew this and penned this prayer which is one of my favorites, “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people, and His incomparably great power for us who believe.” This is one prayer that will ALWAYS be answered if prayed in sincerity of heart.

The Spirit reveals Jesus and the Father to us in several ways.

  1. Through His Word – Jesus is the Word made flesh, the exact representation of the Father. We can look at how Jesus lived and responded to those around Him and see the heart of the Father. In fact, if we are taught, or observe some who claim to know Him but treat others harshly, with anger, impatience, manipulation, condemnation, condescension, etc., we can know that they do not truly know Him.
  2. Through His body – Each believer is given a unique facet of God’s glory to reflect to the world, not one of us is the same. When we look for Jesus in His people, we will see a greater measure of who He is.
  3. Experiences – God often encounters us in His manifest presence, where we tangibly feel Him, in our bodies, in our emotions, and in our spirits. David cried out, “My soul thirsts for You, my body longs for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” (Ps. 63:1) Paul prayed in Ephesians 3:17-19, “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”  To know His love which surpasses knowledge can be translated as, “to know, by experience, this love that surpasses mere head knowledge.”  We may have tons of head knowledge, even from the Scriptures, but it will never take the place of experiential knowledge – we need them both.

Knowing Him requires spending personal, quality time with Him, just as we would do with a friend. You can’t know someone you never spend time with, talking with, and sharing life together with. Therefore, no one can do this for you. No one can develop intimacy in your relationship with Jesus but you. No one can lay hands on you and impart their history with God to you. You must develop your own.

How we view the nature of God is the single, most important thing in our lives. How we see Him and what we believe about Him determines and affects how we relate to Him, to others, and to ourselves.

If we see and/or believe Him to be angry, judgmental, harsh, and exacting, we will be afraid to come close to Him, be unable to fully trust Him, feel we can never measure up or satisfy Him. None of these attitudes will help develop intimacy in our relationship with Him, in fact, it will do the exact opposite, driving a wedge between us and Him.

Likewise, this unbiblical view will cause us to treat others the way we feel He is treating us. We will be harsh, angry, impatient, and judgmental toward others, alienating ourselves from the body we are meant to be a part of. In addition, we will misrepresent Him to others, destroying or greatly damaging our witness for Him.

We can only know our true identity through knowing our Father. The more we know Him, the greater our security in who He has called us to be will become. We will no longer doubt His love for us, nor fear His discipline. We will no longer question His faithfulness or feel He has abandoned us. Instead, we will revel and bloom in knowing and experiencing His great love and passion for us. We will be able to enter into His rest, no longer striving for His acceptance or approval.

Seeking out the nature of God is the greatest adventure of our lives. It will be our endless pursuit throughout eternity, for He is inexhaustible and without limit. In fact, a billion years from now, we will be no closer to reaching the end of Him than we were when we first began. Selah…(pause and calmly think about that)!

 

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Exciting News!

This week, instead of my usual post, I want to announce some exciting news for those who have not yet heard. For over a year, I’ve been working on writing and publishing my first book and I’m delighted to say it will be available within the next week or two! The title is Rivers of Living Water – A Devotional Journey to Intimacy with GodIt is a daily devotional, 428 pages in length, and is published by West Bow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson and Zondervan Publishing.

The daily readings were taken from several of my personal journals that include Scripture meditations and prayers, and God’s responses back to me. It is filled with words of encouragement, comfort, and gentle correction that can apply to any believer, regardless of age, gender, or whatever stage you are at in your personal walk with God. I believe this book will inspire you to go deeper in intimacy in your own relationship with Him.

This book is the fulfillment of a life long dream I’ve had. I am so grateful for the Lord’s grace to enable me to accomplish it. I am also thankful for those who prayed for and encouraged me along the way. In addition, I am greatly appreciative for my wonderful husband, who believed in and supported me throughout the process.

I’ve included an excerpt below to give you an idea of what the book contains. It will be available to order through the website of West Bow Press, my own personal website (coming soon), and any retail book store. I will post further details on how to order once it is available. I encourage you to get a copy, give some to friends/family (Christmas will be here soon!), and share it with friends, family members, co-workers, neighbors, etc. And I would love to hear your feedback as well!

Day 52

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, mayRivers of Living Water cover give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. –Ephesians 1:17

Thank You for the spirit of wisdom and revelation, Lord. I ask You to pour it out on me, saturate me in it so I can have full knowledge of You, for You are the one great desire of my heart and I want to know You more.

Yes, My beloved child, and you shall indeed know Me more as you continue asking and seeking My face. It is My great delight to reveal more of Myself, for being sought and pursued by My children gives Me such great pleasure. My heart is ravished with the simple reach of a heart towards Me, though many see their efforts as weak and feeble. My passion for those who are Mine is so much greater than you are able to comprehend, but you will have all of eternity to discover and plumb the depths of it! I will give more to all who continue to ask, to seek, and to knock, for I reward all who diligently seek Me. You will surely find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.

 

The Fruit of Intimacy with God

In my last article, I began discussing the necessity of having intimacy with intimacy with GodGod, especially based on Matthew 7:21-23. If you didn’t read it, you can do so here. This passage is near the end of the Sermon on the Mount, which begins in Matthew 5. Throughout this sermon, Jesus is laying out the core values for Kingdom living. This is important to understand in order to grasp the significance of this passage in Chapter 7.

Reviewing some of last week’s article, Jesus spoke of recognizing false prophets by their fruit (see verses 15-19). He then described a group of people that claimed to know and belong to Him, saying, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he that does the will of My Father who is in heaven.” He then adds, “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from Me, you evildoers!’” The day He is speaking of is Judgment day, when we will all stand before Him and give an account of our lives. This group operated in spiritual gifts, miracles, signs, and wonders for some part of their lives on earth. Yet, He not only reveals that He never knew them, but goes so far as to call them “evildoers,” and casts them out of His presence. This is as serious as it gets!

The word “knew” speaks of intimacy, as mentioned last week. The word “evildoers” means, “The condition of one without law; contempt and violation of law, wickedness, iniquity.” (It is also used in Matthew 23:28, where Jesus rebukes the religious leaders for their hypocrisy and wickedness.) He then finishes the sermon by telling the parable of the two men who built a house. This parable, I believe, holds the key to what Jesus was saying.

He said, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Jesus speaks of two groups of people – those who obey His words, and those who do not. In verse 21 He stated that only those who do His Father’s will, can enter the kingdom of heaven. Again, He is speaking of obedience. Regarding intimacy, He said that if we love Him, we will obey His commands (John 14:15). This wasn’t said in a threatening way at all, which is how we often imagine. He was saying that when we truly love Him, obeying Him will come naturally, because you always want to please the one you love.

The fruit that He looks for is not operating in spiritual gifts or miracles, signs, and wonders. The fruit He wants to cultivate in us is obedience to the Father. This is how He lived His life and how we, too, will live, as we are more and more conformed into His image. As we abide in the life-giving flow of the Vine, we will naturally produce fruit without straining or striving. We will operate in spiritual gifts, miracles, signs, and wonders as well, but this must come from the overflow of our intimacy with Him. This is critical if we want to stand before Him on that day and hear Him say, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.”