Tuesday, February 19, 2013
What is your desire?
Close Encounters of the Godly Kind
So in the group I was in the other day, we talked about the idea of being close to God, discussing what is involved in being close to God, what it takes to experience that intimacy. We talked about how often we confuse FEELINGS of warmth we take as closeness to God with actual biblical INTIMACY with God based on more than just our variable emotional responses. Some folks discussed prayer, time with other Christians, worship and time in the scripture as things that helped them be able to draw near to God. In fact, we even pointed out that James 4:8a indicates that if we honestly are seeking to draw near to God, then God will respond by drawing near to us…..that this is a promise of God. The upshot of the whole time was for each of us to evaluate whether or not we thought we were close to God, and whether we are willing to do what it takes to be closer. Because, the truth is, we are as close to God as we really want to be….our priorities, our use of time and energy, and the wear and tear of our Bibles proves it.
But I got to thinking about it later, and thought that there is something else we might want to consider when we wonder whether our relationships with God are all that they could or should be. In our discussions, we focused on whether we are as close to God as we would like to be. But let me flip that around a bit, and ask you to consider it this way: Are you as close to God as GOD wants you to be?
One of the most famous verses in the New Testament is John 3:16, in which God is described as loving the world so much that He gave His unique Son, Jesus, that through His sacrifice on the cross, we can know God and experience eternal life with Him. What I want to notice today is that this illustrates the depth of God’s desire to be part of your life, to have you close to Him. Jesus wants you and I with Him so much, that He was willing to lay down His life on the cross, that God the Father would allow the awful suffering Jesus experienced if that’s what it took for you to be able to know Him personally. And, apparently it was, because even Jesus prayed that if there was some other way, God should use it……yet if that crucifixion was what it would take, then Jesus was willing to go through it. Because you and I are just that important to Him…we are more important than even Jesus own life and all the pain He would experience. God wants you to know Him that much!
Around a hundred years ago, the English poet Francis Thompson, wrote a poem describing God as the “Hound of Heaven.” God, like a blood hound on the path of its quarry, has been on the trail seeking you and seeking me, seeking that we would be turned from the things in life that distract us and impede our experience of God. (Might be worth reading the poem for yourself.) God’s desire is that our lives would be lived in such a way that we are drawn closer to Him every day and in every experience, and He follows after us to turn us back toward Him, away from those things that would capture us and drag us far away. God’s desire to be close to you is extreme! God doesn’t want us to experience just a tidbit, but to dive in to the depths of a committed relationship in which we know God and are known by Him. He promises time and again in scripture that if we truly seek to know God, then He will reveal Himself to us.
(The link below will take you to the full text of the poem)
So, do you really think God wants to spend more time with you? Do you think God is pleased or impressed with how much of your life is available to Him, how many of your resources are offered for His use? Is your image of God of a God who sits on a throne far, far away, looking down on the world in an impersonal way? Or do you believe in a God who dwells within your heart and not only knows every detail of your life, also CARES about all the things you experience and struggle with in life? And is your belief that He is within your heart based on scripture, or just your own idea of what God is like? According to scripture, God does, indeed, dwell within our hearts through the Holy Spirit…..but only for those who have opened their hearts to receive Christ. God desire is that you would be His and spend all of eternity with Him, starting right now and right here. What is YOUR desire?
TL:dr Does our desire to be in close relationship to God match at all God’s desire to have close relationship with us?