Do you know what one of the main things is that pastors may not be communicating to Christians? What distinguishes ‘Christians’ from all the people on the face of the earth?
As I share this with you, I hope by the end of this post you will say yes, that is a good point.
What is communing with God anyway? We are often told to make sure we spend time with Him.
Not many people like the word ‘devotions’ or even ‘quiet time.’ Those two phrases can cause you to tune out or move on to another website. I know I sound silly, but just hearing those words has probably already either awakened in you a desire to spend some real quality time with God, or it has given you hives as you stress over just one more thing to do in your day.
I will confess that I have experienced both ends of this in varying degrees. How about you? But I want you to know that this is not what this post is about… I am sure you are so relieved!! I am.
We often have preconceived ideas that crop up unannounced as we hear certain catch phrases, like the ones I just mentioned.
We are taught that one of the key components to communing with God is through the Word of God (or the Bible). Is this the most crucial part or is there something more?What are your feelings about this idea? For some of us teacher types we just can’t seem to get enough of digging and mining out the jewels, the ancient history, and the intricate details that are hidden in every crevis of every page. I am one of these ‘weirdos.’ Yes. Are you? If not, you could finally become one, and all of a sudden voila, you can’t get enough. But is this the only way to commune with God? I used to think so. My view has changed. Before I tell you what it is, let me first say a bit about how it started.
I was in my backyard in 1991 on a beautiful sunny day in Northern California doing homework for a Women’s Study on the book of Hebrews. I wasn’t a Christian yet, so a study in that particular book was a major undertaking. I was in a group with some very lovely and kind women who took me under their wings and guided me into a new love affair for the Bible. I grew up in a family in which my grandfather was an Episcopal minister. So the only memory I have of the Bible is the picture of my dusty small white leather King James Version.(Maybe you’ve seen it; it’s the one with the zipper enclosure on the side. Are you chuckling?)
Anyway if you can pull your mind away from that image, I would like you to visualize landing on Hebrews 4:12-13 and from there realizing that the Lord can see the thoughts and attitudes of our heart and that nothing is hidden from His sight. Everything is laid bare before Him to whom we must give an account. That was how I felt that day on the chaise chair in my backyard. Busted! But I realized something completely different.
I had a sorted past and had led a wayward life, looking for love in all the wrong places. I had wholeheartedly longed to be good but was running in the wrong direction confused and lost. However that day something clicked. That day I met A heart like no other. I found out that He wasn’t judging me. I could finally see that He had been what I was searching for with such fervor. I needed to know that someone could totally love me. And He is the only one who truly knows how.
Interestingly, to the depths of that old driven obsession for the erroneous things of life, I currently have a directed passion toward Him and His exquisite, flawless heart of love. I can’t get enough of Him, and I find treasures of His wonder all the time.
I want to go on… because I think this can inspire you. I have had people in my life who have told me that they just need to see life as a Christian lived out so that they can know that having a real relationship with the Lord, is actually doable.
What we sometimes make complicated is just this… Being In God’s presence basking and soaking in the Glory of God, this is what keeps us energized every day. There is something about this that makes us distinguishable.
What we hear from our pastors can be a bit confusing at times as to why we should read our Bible and spend time with God. For Moses, he somehow got it… (of course he didn’t have his Bible, and he may not have thought it was his ‘devotion time.’)
A face to face encounter with God must be the ultimate in communing with God, right? In the Tent of Meeting in Exodus 33 it says in verse 15,
“If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.”
God, please do not send me anywhere without Your all Empowering Presence. Knowing this must be key. Verse 16 continues with this…
“How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us?”
“What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”
God is the distinguishing factor. (Moses met with God face to face – have you thought about what that must have been like?)
The wonderful and amazing news is that we have even more than Moses could ever have had.
You may be saying, “What? Moses was a Bible hero with a huge legacy, and I couldn’t ever be as close to God as he was.”
But the truth is, that since Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave, He has made it possible for us to enjoy God in a whole new way. That way is through the ushering in of the Holy Spirit. Moses had the Holy Spirit in the same way that David did. And David’s cry to God in Psalm 51:11 was, “Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.”
It has always been by God’s Spirit that He gives His people the power to live by His will.
Like Moses and David or anyone else before or after the cross, our relationship is by God’s Spirit. But now He has given us a ‘new heart’ and a ‘new spirit’ to live by His will. It’s new and different. The Holy Spirit now lives inside of us, and His presence goes with us. The one factor that remains the same as Moses is that God’s the only one who can make us distinguishable.
Moses was blessed to spend time up on top of a few mountains… and we can have some mountain top experiences too.
What does your communion with God do inside of you? He is in you all of the time, but just like human relationships, it needs nurturing. (Wouldn’t you agree that some activities and adventures seem to be better with some people than others?)
It’s this nurturing that develops as you learn the best ways (for you personally) to commune with the Lord. The fun part is that you can keep finding new ways over the years. Some of these may be taking long walks to places in the mountains, the desert, or the beach, to be alone to ‘sit awhile’ with God. For me… I have built a few altars out of stone as memorials in the special places that I have poured out my heart to Him. I have bowed low before Him, and He has changed my life. I have sung, as maybe you have also, with a vigor that has given me a horse voice. And dancing and rejoicing at first were private and locked away for no one but God to see, but now I can cut a rug with the rest of the zany crazies who have become liberated. Writing poems as well as jotting down insights and prayers have accumulated into journals filled to the brim with expressions both from me to God and from Him to me, and there are stacks and stacks of them that now line my garage shelves.
Going a little deeper so you can see into my soul… I take communion quite often by myself in those intimate moments where I just want to be remembering all He has done. I hope you can see past the fact that we only do ‘this’ in a church as it is incredible to ponder His sacrifice, partaking of the cup and the bread in the privacy of your secret place.
I share all of this with you to say that each one of us is unique and we have a different way to commune with God, but the one thing that is the same is the fact that when you’re in His presence, you are changed and made distinguishable. You have to be; it’s His Spirit alive in you!
Most pastors mean well and want God’s people to flourish. I am a pastor, and that is one of the desires of my heart, and the reason I am writing all of this in the first place. I want to communicate to you that your connection with God is what distinguishes you – not your Bible reading or ‘quiet time.’Oil separates from water. It has to. That’s what happens when your lamp is full of oil.
Remain in the Lord’s presence; the Holy Spirit fills you up with His joy, and other’s can distinguish you have been with Jesus!!
Like me, you may have a deep passion and love for the Lord. He is so beautiful, and ultimately you do know that spending quality time with Him is by far the greatest and most fulfilling priority. I agree. What I want more than anything else in all the world is Him! This may sound sentimental, but I can’t live without Him. He is the rhythm of my whole being. I adore worshiping Him, and the Lord gives such incredible joy back that His presence captivates and sustains me.
OK, you may be thinking, that’s perfect for you, how nice…
Maybe just maybe, you have needed to hear this and see it through someone else’s perspective and experience.
God’s divine presence is what makes you distinguishable…. not what you do to ‘know’ you are in His presence….
A pastor is trying to tell you that there is only one way for you to be invincible in the ‘sea of life.’
God’s presence is what makes you distinguishable… His Presence makes you swim with powerful fierce bold confidence!