Some people, when the conversation turns to intimacy and communion with their God, light up and become energized. It is clear they enjoy their God, and long for the consciousness of His presence. John Piper said this; “But to enjoy him we must know him. Seeing is savoring. If he remains a blurry, vague fog, we may be intrigued for a season. But we will not be stunned with joy, as when the fog clears and you find yourself on the brink of some vast precipice.”
Other people – many others, really – are not energized by this most important of topics. They are hardly intrigued by it. In fact, a good number are not even comfortable with it. The depth of the topic is too much for the shallowness of what has come to pass as the “normal Christian life” (apologies to Watchman Nee). Hear what CS Lewis had to say on this. “When you come to knowing God, the initiative lies on His side. If He does not show Himself, nothing you can do will enable you to find Him. And, in fact, He shows much more of Himself to some people than to others…not because He has favourites, but because it is impossible for Him to show Himself to a man whose whole mind and character are in the wrong condition. Just as sunlight, though it has no favourites, cannot be reflected in a dusty mirror as clearly as in a clean one.”
It is up to our God to reveal Himself to each of us and to all of us. This He does for every person, in both general and specific personal revelation. It is up to each of us and all of us to pursue that revelation with as much of an uncluttered and single-focused heart as possible. It is up to us to wipe the dust off the mirror, to use Lewis’ analogy. Our God is daily speaking to us, constantly wooing us to come closer, continually revealing Himself in a hundred different ways. We turn up our radios, put in the ear buds, leave the TV on the entire time we are awake at home, and read and explore information that does not matter at all. We fill our days with hurry, noise, and crowds, and spend our energy and time on excessive busyness, all the while thinking we are accomplishing important things. We do all of this as the Holy Spirit is whispering in our hearts, quietly and usually below the noise level of our living, “Few things are important, really only one.”
We have come to look for our God in the big things, the noisy things, the busy things of our lives. We do not find Him there. We turn to our church experiences, which we have made into big things, noisy things, busy things. We have set up programs which are, in reality, viewing hours for God. We tell ourselves, each other, and the world that if one shows up at a certain time, God will show up, too. We have created an alternate form of Christian experience, a kind of “churchianity.” We do all of this as the Holy Spirit is whispering in our hearts, quietly and usually below the noise level of our churchianity, “Few things are important, really only one.”
Our God is speaking quietly but incessantly to us. Daily He is revealing Himself to us in words softly spoken, often in the silence we avoid. He speaks in kind deeds done in mercy, in events orchestrated to draw us near, interactions intended to speak of His love. We miss these for the most part, and will continue to miss them until we clear our living of the habits of mind and action that clutter and confuse our spiritual living. Until we “dust off the mirror,” so to speak. “Communication through revelation is part of what makes Christianity unique. It takes you from a vague idea of “there is some kind of something up there,” to a personal God who communicates with us, revealing what he is like and how to have a relationship with him. Anything that could get in the way of that revelation would be disastrous to us either knowing about God or knowing him personally.” Jon Morrison was right in saying this, and we would be right in heeding his words.
“Take time for the quiet moments, as God whispers and the world is loud,” is indeed a worthy ancient Irish saying.
More on pressing on to know our God in the next Adventure Blog post.