Let’s face it, to many, if not most, Christians God and Christ Jesus are not all that ‘real’ to us in a truly personal sense. Real, in that we actually ‘feel’ Their presence with us continually throughout the day (as Brother Lawrence did as illustrated in the book “Practicing the Presence of God”….please reference the Post by this title.). Real, in that we know Them so personally as to be continually and constantly looking at everything we encounter daily through Them. Real, in that we continually ask Them throughout the day as to what to say, what to do and how to handle situations we encounter during that day.
In the last Post “God And Christ Jesus Are In Us ALL THE TIME!!!”, Scriptures clearly show that the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are within us. So, we “know”, then, that we have a reservoir of Holy Presence in us that defies human imagination! However, how much do we “realize” this Holy Presence as true reality? (Please reference the Post on “Knowledge vs Realization”). Paul knew that there was a difference between the two when he wrote in Ephesians 1:17-20 (Concordant Literal New Testament) that he prayed for all saints to come to a “realization” (vs. mere “knowledge”) of what we have as believers because of the power of God and sacrifice of our Lord Christ Jesus.
The Bible shows quite clearly how we achieve this “realization” and thus be able to depend on and experience the Father and Christ Jesus in a personal way daily. It is revealed in James 4:8: “ Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”. That’s it….pure and simple! Let’s explore this a little further.
Regimented Bible study, ‘mechanical’ prayer and attending church, although beneficial to some degree, DOES NOT qualify as “drawing near to God” (Please see the Post on “Bible Study Is Good…IF…BUT”).
Saul, before he became the apostle Paul, was highly proficient in performing the 3 above noted practices. In addition to this, as to observing the Law in a physical sense, Saul was “blameless” (Philippians 3:6), which was quite an achievement in a ‘religious’, human sort of way. And yet, in spite of all this, Saul would become the “foremost” of sinners (1 Timothy 1:16) and the chief persecutor of God’s saints!! So, obviously, these 3 ‘religious’ practices BY THEMSELVES will not do the trick in getting us closer to the Father or our Lord in a PERSONAL way.
Believing,in itself, DOES NOT qualify as “drawing near to God” either….even the devils believe! (James 2:19)
What DOES qualify as “drawing near to God” is “practicing the presence of God” (Please see the Posts “Practicing The Presence Of God” and “Letters By A Modern Mystic”). It means to start looking to God and Christ Jesus MORE and MORE in our thoughts and needs. Continually, as best we can at first, conversing with Them (Please reference the Post “Pray On The Potty”) and keeping Them before us at ALL times throughout the day….not only hourly, but eventually minute by minute, as is practical. In this way, we are “going to God” or, if you will, “drawing near to God”….and, in turn, God (and Jesus) will draw closer to us, as a reality.
Oswald Chambers wrote in MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST (please reference the Post by the same name) that ” ‘Why does God not reveal Himself to me?’ It is not that He will not, it is that He cannot, because you are in the road as long as you won’t abandon absolutely to Him.”
At first, it will be difficult to focus on and go to God and Jesus with such ABANDONMENT because it will be going against our human nature and the ‘flesh’, which opposes the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:17). Ridding our minds of useless and frivolous thoughts to focus on God and Christ Jesus MAY ACTUALLY SEEM AS IF WE ARE GOING AGAINST WHAT IS NATURAL….because we have so constantly entertained these vain thoughts for so long as part of our normal lives (Galatians 4:17,23). Even Brother Lawrence admitted it was difficult for him at first to LEARN how to FULLY focus on the Father and Christ Jesus in his waking moments.
However, he went on to say “we must at first apply to Him with some diligence. Then, after a little care, we would find His love inwardly excite us to it without any difficulty.”. (Again, please reference the Post “Practicing The Presence Of God”.)
And, of course, it takes time. God may need to remove some human barriers within us, and in doing so, it may seem as if we are digressing rather than making progress. However,DON’T give in to this FALSE line of reasoning nor to apparent failure….God and Jesus know our hearts and They will continually work with us as long as we keep trying and are willing to submit to Them.
Please don’t misunderstand me, a believer can have a fulfilling and rewarding Christian journey to varying degrees without achieving this deep, personal relationship with the Father and our Lord….however, I am merely presenting the better and far richer way.
Hope to see you again soon.