Warning: I am spending our "holiday" riding bikes with the kids, playing lots of Scrabble, and reading A.W. Tozer and Arthur Pink. So, if you aren't in the mood for something deep, you might as well click off the blog. It is impossible to read these two authors and not be pushed to dig deeper.
For instance, from Tozer:
"It was Canon Holmes, of India, who more than twenty-five years ago called attention to the inferential character of the average man's faith in God. To most people God is an inference, not a reality. He is a deduction from evidence which they consider adequate; but He remains personally unknown to the individual. "He must be," they say, "therefore we believe He is." Others do not go even so far as this; they know of Him only by hearsay. They have never bothered to think the matter out for themselves, but have heard about Him from others, and have put belief in Him into the back of their minds along with the various odds and ends that make up their total creed. To many others God is but an ideal, another name for goodness, or beauty, or truth; or He is law, or life, or the creative impulse back of the phenomena of existence."
"These notions about God are many and varied, but they who hold them have one thing in common: they do not know God in personal experience. The possibility of intimate acquaintance with Him has not entered their minds. While admitting His existence they do not think of Him as knowable in the sense that we know things or people."
"If we truly want to follow God we must seek to be other-worldly. But we must avoid the common fault of pushing the "other world" into the future. It is not future, but present. It parallels our familiar physical world, and the doors between the two worlds are open. "Ye are come," says writer to the Hebrews (and the tense is plainly present), "unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to the innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel." All these things are contrasted with "the mount that might be touched" and the "sound of a trumpet and the voice of words" that might be heard. May we not safely conclude that, as the realities of Mount Sinai were apprehended by the senses, so the realities of Mount Zion are to be grasped by the soul? And this not by any trick of the imagination, but in downright actuality. The soul has eyes with which to see and ears with which to hear. Feeble they may be from long disuse, but by the life-giving touch of Christ alive now and capable of sharpest sight and most sensitive hearing."
"Obedience to the Word of Christ will bring an inward revelation of the Godhead (John 14:21-23). It will give acute perception enabling us to see God even as is promised to the pure in heart. A new God-consciousness will seize upon us and we shall begin to taste and hear and inwardly feel the God who is our life and our all. There will be seen the constant shining of the light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world. More and more, as our faculties grow sharper and more sure, God will become to us the great All, and His Presence the glory and wonder of our lives."
OK, I know that was a lot of quoting, but it is all too good to leave out. Tozer is right on, isn't he?
If, as believers, we can begin to realize we have the ability to reach out and seize a Kingdom life here and now.....then, what kind of life will we lead??? We can walk in power and might, because of Jesus' power and might within us. We can obey His Word, because His precious blood is flowing through us and has been poured out over us, enabling us to do amazing, wonderful things that go completely against our human (fallen) nature. We are a NEW CREATION! We are walking testimonies of the most beautiful sacrifice ever made.....Enemy can't touch that!
When friends come over for a few hours, they get a "taste" of our family. (Actually, they get the best taste of our family). However, last Spring, one of Caleb's friends spent 5 days with our family in Florida....Disney World. As a parent, can you think of a more stressful place to take 2 fourteen year old boys, 2 ten year old girls, and 2 babies with Down Syndrome??? Me either. But regardless, off we went.
Taylor, Caleb's friend, REALLY got to know our family during that 5 days. We threw more rules and regulations at him than he has probably had in his entire life. The last thing I was going to do was lose Taylor in Disney World. In addition, Taylor learned about taking care of babies. After a few days, he was asking me if it was time for a diaper change and gathering high chairs whenever we stopped to eat. It warmed my heart. Because Taylor gladly accepted our long list of "Disney World Rules", we were able to enjoy all of the activites Disney had to offer without worry. We were free to joke around, have fun discussion, and really get to know one another. In fact, Chappy and I began to lessen the rules because we realized we could trust Taylor----consequently, Caleb and Taylor earned more responsibility.
Doesn't God work the same way....on a much larger scale? He gives us lists of rules and regulations to protect us....because He doesn't want to "lose" us. When we seek to know Him and live within His boundaries, striving to please Him, we get to experience joy with Him, relationship with Him, and we get to know Him better. As a result, He gives us more responsibility too. In the process, through our desire to follow Him, He becomes more real to us......more relevant.....not merely an inference.
Oh, how He loves you and me. How He desires relationship with us and wants us to spend time "knowing" Him. Don't you desire the same? Me too!!! In 2010, let's promise not to be just 2-3 hour a week guests with God.....let's be the overnighters who REALLY get to know Him.
"I bessech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Romans 12:1-2