Recently, I’ve been spending more time than usual seeking God. Basically, I’ve not been satisfied with a lot of things in my life and with my relationship with God. It’s not something just recently, but I guess it’s reached tipping point only recently. It’s not that I feel I’m not good enough for Him or that I’m filled with shame, guilt and condemnation. No, that’s been forever settled 10 years ago when I realized that I’m righteous in Christ.
It’s about me wanting more of God. Wanting to touch Him, and wanting Him to touch me. Bad theology? I dunno. Maybe? But, maybe not. The phrases “wanting more of God”, “wanting to touch Him” and “wanting Him to touch me” may not be biblical (?) but I think the cry behind it is. For example, one of my prayers during this time is Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:17-19:
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have the power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
This is clearly a prayer for a greater experience of God and of Christ’s love. The Ephesians are already “rooted and established in love”. Paul is writing to the Church (Christians) in Ephesus. And his prayer is that they may “know this love that surpasses knowledge”. An oxymoron. But no doubt, it’s about an experience because it surpasses knowledge. I do believe such an experience of Christ’s love comes through good preaching and teaching that results in a good understanding of Christ’s work for us. But I think it goes beyond that too. One can know a lot, but not experience much. One can be very knowledgeable, but it can all be head knowledge. I think this prayer is a prayer for “more”. We’ll never fully grasp how wide and long and high and deep the love of Christ is. We’ll never be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God here on this earth. But we can grow in our experience of Christ’s love and of God.
Or take what Paul said in Ephesians 5:18, “Be filled with the Spirit”, which actually means a continuous filling – “Keep on being filled with the Spirit”. Jeff Purswell of the Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM) expands on SGM’s statement of faith passage, “The Holy Spirit desires to fill each believer continually with increased power…” with the below:
The statement emphasizes the necessity of the ongoing nature of the Spirit’s work, including continual and repeated fillings of the Spirit (cf. Eph. 5:18). While one’s theological framework is important, we are nonetheless more concerned that second, third, fourth, fifth… sixtieth… (etc.) encounters with the Spirit actually occur than we are with what one should call a second encounter with the Spirit (either a “baptism” or a “subsequent filling”).
I think that’s my cry here. To experience Him in a greater way. To experience more and more of the Spirit. To experience subsequent encounters and never be satisfied with what I’ve got or how much God has got me.
As I mentioned in this entry, I’m not going to be too critical of a friend who I believe was recipient of wrong teachings but who nevertheless experienced a touch from God. Her seeking of God may be based on the wrong teaching (regarding the Tabernacle of God), but as I wrote,
while disagreeing with the above teaching (i.e. what I think is a wrong teaching on the Tabernacle of God), I recognize that many lives have been transformed for the better as Christians are challenged to seek God more and more. To me, this can only be a good thing. And maybe at times better than if one has the right theology regarding the Tabernacle of God and yet become passive and don’t continuously seek God or the filling of the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).
Growth is important for Christians here on earth. We haven’t arrived; we’ve only begun. It’s fundamental to know who we are in Christ, that there is no condemnation and that we’re righteous in God’s eyes because of Christ’s work on the cross. But the Christian life doesn’t stop there. We ought to experience more and more of Christ’s love and be filled more and more with the Spirit. It’s about growth in intimacy and experiencing the Father in Christ through the Holy Spirit in a greater and greater way.
Beyond seeking more of God, I wanna hear God’s voice too. I want to be led by Him. I want such an experience. I’ve been fascinated down the years by Christians (mostly charismatics) who speak of being led by God through His voice. I’ve always thought that that would be cool, but how come that never happened in my life? At least not in a dramatic or consistent way. Am I missing out on something? I wrote this year about hearing God’s voice here and here. So it’s definitely something I’ve been thinking about recently. And something I hope to gradually experience more of.
I’ve been reading John Eldredge’s Walking with God. Not the kind of book I’d normally read because I don’t think Eldredge is very grounded biblically – as say someone like John Piper. Not that I read a lot of Piper at all – I don’t. I respect him, but I’ve had a decade of being influenced by Reformed Christians and Reformed theology. I think I’ve got a good biblical foundation, but I realize that there’s more to Christianity than that Christian tradition can offer.
Eldredge’s book is all about hearing God and that’s why I bought it. And I’ve loved it so far. I’m not sure I’ll agree with a lot of his theology but I’m not put off by that. I like the book because it’s a very personal book and he shares a lot about his experiences of hearing God and other things. I don’t think I’ll read his other books eventhough he’s more famous for some of his other ones.
Reading and understanding can be helpful, but I guess it’s ultimately about practicing and experiencing. And that’s what I hope for this season. I’m going on a bit of a fast and cutting out on various things in order to focus more on God. It’s not easy. Habits need to be changed. But I think it’ll be worth it eventually. Cheers!