This week we’ll spend time breaking down the individual components of First15 by sharing God’s desire for each of them. The majority of First15 is dedicated to encountering God and learning about his character, but every now and then we will cover some teaching and tools that will help in pursuing God to greater depths. This week we will get back to the basics and learn some spiritual disciplines that will help us encounter him in deeper, more transformative ways.
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Who ever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5
The Christian life is meant to be marked by union with God. By the powerful sacrifice of Jesus, the Holy Spirit now dwells within us—longing to make his nearness known. He longs for his perfect love and peace to be the foundation of everything we do, think, and feel.
Brother Lawrence wrote about a life lived in continual communion with God in the book, The Practice of the Presence of God. He said “I cannot imagine how religious persons can live satisfied without the practice of the presence of GOD. For my part I keep myself retired with Him in the depth of centre of my soul as much as I can; and while I am so with Him I fear nothing; but the least turning from Him is insupportable.” The more we grow in our knowledge of the profound union that exists between our spirit and the Holy Spirit, the more we will discover our great need of his tangible, constant presence.
Maybe you are at a place where you don’t feel like you really know God. Maybe you know about him but don’t know him like a friend. In describing the process of coming to know God, Brother Lawrence wrote, “In order to know God, we must often think of Him; and when we come to love Him, we shall then also think of Him often, for our heart will be with our treasure.” An amazing transformation takes place in our hearts as our souls awake to our union with God. His love has the power to ignite us toward a lifestyle of seeking greater communion with him.
In many ways our God is infinitely more knowable than any person. Because God is spirit and now dwells within the hearts of believers, he is perfectly able to reveal himself in deeper, more knowable ways than you have access to with anyone else. He has the ability to reveal his thoughts, feelings, power, love, and will moment by moment and in ways that surpass the miscommunication that language often brings. He speaks straight from his Spirit to yours that you may truly know him to greater depths than anyone else. The question is not can we know God, but are we willing to center our lives around the knowledge of him.
Take time in guided prayer to experience union with God. Ask him to reveal his nearness that you might know him in deeper, more tangible ways. May your day be marked by God’s presence and love moment by moment as you seek to walk with him in all you do.
1. Meditate on Scripture about God’s nearness. Allow the word of God to build up your faith to meet with God.
“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.” Psalm 139:7-10
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20
2. Do you live in moment by moment union with God? Is your whole life marked by his nearness? Know that God has the fullness of grace and mercy for you no matter what your relationship with him looks like. He desires that you know his love to greater depths.
3. Ask God to reveal his nearness to you. Take time to simply seek a greater knowledge of him. By seeking his face you will experience everything that comes from union with him.
“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 29:12-14
“The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.” Lamentations 3:25
“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Hebrews 11:6
Your God is both patient and kind. He longs to be with you so you might know his peace. He longs for the foundation of your life to be his love. Seek his face throughout your day today that your life may be marked by his nearness. Don’t settle for an ordinary day, but strive for the fullness of life God has for you. May your life be marked by a moment to moment knowledge of God’s nearness and love.
Extended Reading: Jeremiah 29