Monday, March 15, 2010
We are invited into a conversational intimacy with God!
I read this line in John Eldredge's Walking with God, a book I highly recommend, and I thought "how very true this statement is but how many of us don't REALLY believe it!" More often than I'd like to hear, Christian friends whom I respect talk about how it is wrong to focus on "feeling" God in our lives. Now I agree, to a point; we can't just want God for the good feelings He graciously gives us. BUT it almost feels like we throw the baby out with the bathwater, i.e., throw the experiential part of the relationship out with the feelings. That would be like marrying someone only because they were good for you or because you "should" but not desiring or expecting a relationship with them that includes good feelings. Crazy! Our relationship with God is not just about good biblical theology although that is essential for a true relationship with God. I see that as our foundation to experience a fulfilling relationship with God. Religion without relationship is just legalism - and the Law kills. The Holy Spirit living within us brings life - life comes through relationship. Think of life in any other area of your life - with your family, work, ministry - none of that is lived in a vacuum and without relationship. And the more intimacy you have in those areas, the more fulfilling those relationships they are. Same with God, don't you think? And yes, good feelings are the results of a good relationship! Not that they are the goal or the focus - the growing relationship is the focus but that certainly does not exempt us from experiencing God in an intimate way (which includes feelings.)
Do we shy away from feeling feelings with God because we are afraid? What if I try and don't experience Him? What if He doesn't give me that "gift"? Sounds like the enemy's strategy to get us to lose hope and chose a lesser thing than God desires for us with Him. How do I know this is what He desires? He says so, over and over, in His Word.
Here are just a few verses that come to mind:
Romans 8:32 If I gave up My Son to have relationship with you, how will I not freely give you all things?
Ephesians 3:19-20 I ask you'll take in the extravagent dimensions of Christ's love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God God can do anything you know - far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!
(How can you take in God's love without feelings being involved?)
Zephaniah 3:17: God delights in us! (How can you delight in someone and NOT want them to experience you?)
Romans 8:38-39 Nothing separates us from God's love.
Just look at Jesus with His disciples. Was it purely a "theological, here's the facts about me, now believe" kind of relationship? Or did Jesus love them in tangible ways that included feelings and they loved Him in return? I John 4:10 says that God loved us first so we could love him back, and love others- that sounds like a whole lot of "feelings" involved in this process.
So look to see what your personal hestitation is about experiencing feelings for God and from God and then see how that lines up with scripture and God's intent toward you. His intentions toward you are deeply good, more so than you could dream or imagine!!!!