..."and a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness; evil minded people shall not travel on it, but it shall be for those wayfarers who are traveling toward God. (Isaiah 35:8, adapted)

Friday, February 15, 2008

How Do We Learn Who God Is?

The tumultuous events of the last year
have once again revealed to me that God’s
ways and His thoughts are immeasurably
higher than ours, and not just higher
in stature, but infinitely more tender
in love, lovelier in beauty, and wiser
in foreknowledge, besting human wisdom
in every good thing that concerns us.

“Oh, the depths of the riches, both of
the wisdom and the knowledge of God, how
unsearchable are His judgments and His
ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33).

Not meaning to sound overly spiritual or
proud, but merely as a point of reference,
I know that I have spent a good deal of
my life actively pursuing God. I know I
have. I know, equally well, however, that
all of my pursuit of God is to no avail,
amounts to trying to find a lost needle
on the face of the entire earth, unless
He reveals Himself to me.

God must show Himself to us or we will
not see Him or know Him (John 6:44).
This revelation can come in large blasts,
or, more often, line upon line, point
upon point. We can have an Isaiah
experience (a vision of God’s holiness
--Isaiah 6) or we can have an Elijah
experience (God in the still, small voice
-–I Kings 19:12) or even a Daniel experience
(where all the strength drains from our body
at the sight of Him --Daniel 10:9 & 10).

However He reveals Himself, God wants to
reveal Himself to YOU and not have you
read of Him secondhand. How God reveals Himself
is up to Him, but it is ours to pursue Him
avidly and with abandon, none-the-less. The
knowledge of God is like the treasure that
we find hidden in a field and are so
overjoyed to find it that we spend every
penny that we have to buy the field (Matt.13:44).

The fact is, that in my own life, a large
wave of life has washed me up on a distant
shore, a shore I could not have not swum
too, and it is the shore of a God that I
know and love, but one, I now see, that I
have barely met. Does this sound familiar
to you?

Dearly beloved, we do not know our own
hearts, cannot see our own brokenness, do
not know our spiritual state, and yet, we
are known and loved by our Heavenly Father,
a Father with a heart so gentle, pure, and
kind, so full of compassion, that to know
Him is to know more than life itself: to
be known of Him, is joy forevermore.
He sees us far differently than we see

I have caught God looking at me, lately.
Do you, in any way, know what I mean?
The tender gaze of God seems to have taken
the pressure off of a journey too long,
grievous, and arduous to bear alone. I
cannot carry myself. You cannot carry
yourself. We do not know what we need,
nor could we provide it for ourselves if
we did. We must let ourselves be found
of God and in that being found, find all
we need as we lay tenderly against His

How shall we be found of God? How shall
we journey to His bosom?

When Paul preached at Mars Hills, to the
Greek philosophers, he told them that
they should seek the Lord, in the hope
that they might feel after Him, and find
Him, though He is not far from each one
of us (Acts 17:27). How shall we feel after
an invisible God? What kind of counsel
is that? Feel after God? It is the
counsel that will bring down the haughty
and cause the lowly to enter into the
Kingdom of God. We must put our hearts
outside the doors that we use to protect
ourselves within and, with the deepest
part of ourselves, grope our way to God.

We must feel our need and our helplessness,
feel our pain at being alienated from Him,
feel how far the gulf lays between us and
our Creator, an impassable gulf, but for
Jesus! Most importantly,after all is said
and done, or before all is said and done,
we must feel His love for us.

If you do not know this already, discovering
it is only for the poor in Spirit, those
desperate to keep feeling after Him until
they are found of Him.

“Feeling after” or as the King James say,
“groping” does not seem too precise. How
shall we know if we have felt our way correctly,
how do we know whether we have found our
way to the bosom of God or the gates of the
Evil One? If you have not launched very far
out to “feel after God” there is little doubt
in my mind that the fear of going the wrong
way or the daunting idea at the task of
“looking for God” has contributed to it.

We humans are such creatures of habit. We
would rather cling to our misery, live in
our hovels, rather than strike out for the
New World called the Kingdom of God and there
find the King of All Glory. I assure you
that sitting in a small, cramped space
is not what we are made for. Trust me.

The apostle John probably knew Jesus as well
or better than anyone on earth. At the end of
his life, he writes an epistle that has much
to do with feeling after God. He starts
the epistle by saying these glorious words,
“That which was from the beginning, which we
have heard, which we have seen with our eyes,
which we have looked upon, and our
hands have handled, concerning the Word of
life (I John 1:1).

John knew what it was like to “feel after
God” and yet he does not leave us with
just a an undecipherable, good inner
feeling or a blissful blast of interior
euphoria. He says this, “By this we know Him,
if we keep His commandments. He who says “I
know Him” and does not keep His commandments
is a liar and the truth is not in Him”
(I John 1:3 & 4).

Knowing God is not just about inner goose-bumps.
Not at all. It is about obedience and holiness.
It is not just feeling good on the same level
that we humans feel good about a lot of pleasurable
things. Not at all. Obeying God produces knowledge
of Him for He reveals Himself to those who obey
Him (John 15:14 & 15). Obedience results in
knowing the True God and in knowing Him we are
changed into His image.

How does this work? Within ourselves we cannot
know God, God leads us toward Himself, at least
early in our experience of Him, by rewarding
our obedience to Him with a sense of His Presence.
This obedience leads us to begin to see and know
God for who He is. Then, the natural attraction
to the loveliness of God starts to do the rest.

We are drawn toward Him and obey Him not because
we “should” but because we find joy in doing so.
Even when our journey becomes difficult, and even
the tangible sense of His Presence with us
disappears, and there does not seem to be joy in
anything, we still have the spiritual imprint of
the joy that comes from intimacy with and obedience
to God. The memory of it, however faint, keeps
drawing us toward Him, no matter what. The sweetness
of His Presence lingers, even in the dark. Even when
the time comes that we can only “hope against hope’
something strong, ovely and good: the fruit of
our obedience to God, rises up and goes toward God.
His Spirit within us keeps calling out, deep calling
to deep, toward our Good Father in Heaven.

How do we learn who God is? There is no set
method, only the sweet path of
the intimate, open, obedient heart. A heart
in which the Spirit of God lives, and
a heart that instinctively knows how to return
to its Source and Exceeding Joy. The
best thing you can do to put yourself in the
right place is to open your heart toward
God, feel after Him, and most of all, obey
what He has spoken. You shall not
be disappointed.

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