I had been asked a while ago to consider how I learned to “go deeper” in God, in the Spirit. I am still learning and yearning for so much more. But, soon after I had been asked, I woke up during the night and I believe that God gave me the following that I want to share.
I believe God is always with us; turned towards us, with arms open; waiting for us to see him, to approach him, to embrace him, to be embraced by him, to be immersed in him, and to know who he created us to be.
There have definitely been times, maybe when I actually just “turned away” from myself and focused on God instead of MY problems, wants, needs, and desires. Instead, I am turned towards God, praying to him, communicating with him, praising and worshipping him. In those times, it seems easier or maybe the “veil” is removed or the “scales” fall off of my eyes, and I “see” God. I become aware of him, the overwhelming, holy, fiery, loving presence of the Living Spirit of God.
This is not something that I can “will” into happening, not something that I can manufacture by doing certain things; but, it is definitely something that I yearn for, wait for, and believe that God also desires for me.
God yearns for us to be in relationship with him, but many times, our human tendency is to complicate things. We overwhelm ourselves with “to do” lists. We think that we need to first get our lives in order, stop our sinning, learn and practice a whole list of spiritual disciplines, and THEN we will truly know God, THEN we will be able to hear his voice and do his will. We have is SO backwards.
We are told to “love the Lord, your God, with all of your heart, soul, strength, and mind,” and, then “to love your neighbor as yourself.”
But, that almost feels impossible, harder than following a bunch of rules.
So, we basically give up. We settle for following as many rules as we can, repenting when we break them, resolving “with God’s help, of course,” to do better, trying again, and therefore circle around in an endless, draining, depressing cycle, with more lows than highs, hoping and praying that heaven really is all that we want it to be, and that Jesus comes back soon.
We have is SO backwards. Only God can give us the faith and the ability to “love him with all of our hearts, souls, strengths and minds, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.” Only God can open our eyes and ears and soften our hearts so that we can truly know him.
So, “give up”, but give it up to God. Ask him, beg him, plead with him to open your eyes and ears; to soften your heart; to give you faith; and to help you see, hear, feel, and know the Lord, your God, right there with you, holding you, helping you, loving you with all of who HE is, with all of HIS heart, soul, strength, and mind.
Every day, every time you think of it, pray and ask him to reveal himself to you, and then believe. Believe the truth. Believe that as you are asking, as you are seeking, as you are loving; that God IS speaking to you, guiding you, leading you, answering a prayer that is according to his will and desire.
If you fail, if as you seek God, he reveals that you moved or spoke out of your own preferences, thoughts, or desires; make it right. Stand up, ask forgiveness, and then keep moving. Move, trusting that God is leading. Speak, trusting that God is guiding. Love, trusting that God is empowering you.
Pray and move, just move. Do something. With practice, comes a greater knowing. With practice, we learn more easily and more quickly to discern between the Spirit’s leading and voice versus our own thoughts and logic.
Ask and believe and receive.
I echo what Steve McVey says in his book Grace Walk, “God has never spoken to me audibly, but at times he has spoken louder than that.”
And I pray over you, from Colossians 1:9-14, “… [I] have kept on praying and asking God to help you understand what he wants you to do; asking him to make you wise about spiritual things; and asking that the way you live will always please the Lord and honor him, so that you will always be doing good, kind things for others, while all the time you are learning to know God better and better.
[I] am praying, too, that you will be filled with his mighty, glorious strength so that you can keep going no matter what happens – always full of the joy of the Lord, and always thankful to the Father who has made us fit to share all the wonderful things that belong to those who live in the Kingdom of light.
For he has rescued us out of the darkness and gloom of Satan’s kingdom and brought us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who bought our freedom with his blood and forgave us all our sins.”