Quotations from David G. Benner on experiencing the love of our God personally and deeply:
“Many will speak of knowing that their sins have been forgiven. Some will speak of answers to prayer or a sense of God’s presence. But many will fall strangely silent. Many – even evangelicals, who talk the most about a personal relationship with God – will not have much to say about how they actually experience God in that relationship. A.W. Tozer notes that most of us who call ourselves Christians do so on the basis of belief more than experience. We have, he argues, “substituted theological ideas for an arresting encounter; we are full of religious notions but our great weakness is that for our hearts there is no one there.”
“If God is love, he cannot be truly known apart from love. He cannot, therefore, be known objectively. One cannot observe him from a distance and know him. To do so is to fail to genuinely encounter His love. One can encounter divine love only up close and personally…let me be clear at this point that it is possible to know God’s love personally, beyond simply knowing about it. That fact that I am deeply loved by God is increasingly the core of my identity, what I know about myself with the most confidence. Such a conviction is, I am convinced, the foundation of any significant spiritual growth.”
“Christian mystics are not as different from the rest of us as we may think. They are simply people who emphasize direct personal experience of God and are reluctant to accept any substitute for this. As thinking creatures we cannot help forming thoughts about our experience. But if our experience of God is limited to our thoughts about him, we have not genuinely encountered God.”
Ephesians 3:14-19 tells us about this deep experience of the love of our God of which Benner is writing: “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.“
When we are rooted and grounded in love, we can finally experience all the fullness of our God. Let that sink for a bit, will you?
Quotations from”Surrender to Love” by David G. Benner.
Image via this writer, an unnamed lake in the Wallowa mountains in Oregon.