What You Experience
To fully understand the experience of those who know
God, we should consider the relationships of persons who are best friends. In
the healthy interaction of individuals who have become close, it is common to
observe emotions of warmth, overwhelming joy, tears of happiness, etc. As you
might expect, the pleasure of knowing God well will most naturally bring about
these very human reactions to love.
Often as I worship the Lord, it feels as though He
hugs me inwardly, to the point that, momentarily, it takes my breath away. These
expressions of love are thrilling, and they give me the assurance that He is
pleased with me. Praise His holy name!
It should not surprise us that God would show His
love in this way. Hugging is a very normal expression of love. I would hug Him
if it were possible.
I have a pastor friend who loves God deeply.
Sometimes, when we talk together about the Lord, tears well up in His eyes. It
is reasonable to expect that many who love God will have a tender spirit.
Communication is a necessary aspect of all good
relationships. Those who don't converse with each other regularly, soon drift
apart. Persons who know God well, revel in the pleasure of visiting with Him.
Possibly, you have never heard God speak to you. You
may even find it difficult to believe that He talks to anyone. Even so, He does.
He converses daily with people, all over the world.
Although you can be confident that God will
communicate with anyone who sincerely desires to know Him, you can never be
certain of the method that He will use. As a matter of fact, sometimes it
appears that He enjoys being unpredictable.
On occasion, God will speak to us through others,
or, conversely, he might speak to someone else through us. I recall vividly a
number of situations in which God spoke through me to someone else in such a way
that the idea communicated literally did not come from my mind. In each case, I
was very much aware that God had simply used my mouth to convey His message.
The Bible is another means through which God speaks
to us. Often, as I read it, I am conscious that what I am reading is meant
specifically for me.
God sometimes speaks to persons audibly. Although I
have not experienced this personally, I have heard people relate how God talked
to them so that they heard His voice with their ears. These were reliable
people, and I have no reason to doubt them.
The most common way that God speaks to people is
through their minds. It is quite natural that He would use this method because,
most often, that's the way we talk to Him, isn't it?
Some years back, I met a young man in St. Louis,
Missouri. He was a new Christian, and was full of zeal. His love for God caused
him to be deeply concerned that his family know Him too.
Soon after his conversion, he phoned his mother to
tell her about it. Now these were Italian people, and his parents spoke the
language fluently. However, the young man did not speak Italian at all, and,
obviously, his mother knew it.
As he conversed with her, he suddenly felt compelled
to pray for her, so he asked if she would mind. She replied that it would be all
right. When he opened his mouth to talk to the Lord, the Holy Spirit took over
and spoke through him directly to her, in perfect Italian. She realized
immediately that this was God speaking to her through her son, and she became a
Christian, right there as they talked on the phone.
Since hearing this man's testimony, I have shared
his experience with a number of persons, only to learn that God has often spoken
to individuals through someone else, and in their language. What a great miracle
working God we have! Glory to His name!
The prophet Joel is quoted in Acts 2:17:
"In the last days, God says, I will pour
out my spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophecy,
your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams."
This prophetic word has definitely come true in our
day. There are churches in which God frequently speaks to the people,
collectively, through someone among them to whom He has given the spiritual gift
of prophecy, or forth-telling. These messages are sometimes words of
encouragement, but they can also be a rebuke, or a command. Typically, they are
brief and to the point.
Regardless of the mood, it is a thrill to be in a
group to whom He speaks in this way. Those who are the leaders of these
assemblies are careful to test what is said, by the scriptures, to be certain
that the communication is from God. They strongly affirm that the Bible is God's
complete revelation, and that any message from Him will be consistent with His
I have also known of a number of instances in which
very reliable, Godly persons have had visions and dreams. Furthermore, what God
conveyed to them, through these vivid experiences, was fulfilled to the minutest
God will also speak to us through pastors,
evangelists, and teachers. Oh, that our hearts were more sensitive to His voice
as we sit under the ministry of those who are ordained to be God's spokesmen.
Also, how blessed we would be if more of these spiritual leaders had the
powerful anointing of the Holy Spirit so that, when they spoke, the people would
sense that God had spoken through them.
God is so creative in the area of communication. It
would not surprise me if He would write a letter to someone. On the other hand,
maybe He wouldn't. There would probably be those who would worship the letter
instead of Him. Others would undoubtedly start a new cult, teaching that only
those who receive letters from God will get to heaven. I shouldn't be facetious,
but the hearts of people are just that wicked, aren't they? How amazing it is
that God desires to fellowship with the likes of us.
In all relationships, the closeness of the persons
involved is very much affected by how they treat each other. Since God is
perfect, His character will only allow Him to affect our lives in ways that will
be for our good. So, if we have a falling out with Him, we know whom to blame,
don't we? Whenever we displease Him, we need to immediately confess to Him that
our actions were sin, and then turn away from them. The amazing
truth is, "If we confess our sins, He is
faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all
unrighteousness". (I John 1:9) (KJV)
In the Bible, God refers to our sins against Him as
unfaithfulness. The implication is that we have left Him and gone after other
lovers. Without question, we hurt God deeply when we sin. It makes His heart
ache because He loves us so much. What a wonder it is that He loves us like
that! I just can not get over it! How can we help but love Him in return?
There is an age old saying which states, "Our
actions speak louder than our words". Jesus said that our actions, or, our
obedience to His commandments, would prove whether or not we love Him. He said
it this way in verse twenty-one of John chapter fourteen:
"He that hath my commandments, and keepeth
them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth Me will be loved of My
Father, and I will love him, and will manifest (or show) Myself to him."
In 1 Peter 1:15,16 God recorded one of His
".....Just as He who called you is holy, so
be holy in all you do; for it is written: 'be holy, because I am holy'."
God never requires us to do anything that we are not
able to do. Assuming we keep our lives dependent on the Holy Spirit, we have the
power for holy living. We simply need to give our lives to Him, and yield our
wills to His will.
Oh, that we might acquire a passionate hate for sin.
We must loathe it as we would loathe the most vile object. The scriptures say
that we should flee the very appearance of evil. That is because sin is like the
proverbial rotten apple in a bushel basket. It's decay will spread until it
destroys the entire contents.
The smallest sin will spread spiritual rot in our
lives, no matter how insignificant we may regard it.
There is a direct correlation between holy living
and the closeness of your relationship to God. If you desire to know Him, you
must be holy. There is no alternative.
Although there are many similarities between human
relationships and a person's relationship with God, one of the primary
differences is that, God out-gives us in the give and take of knowing Him, to
the degree that we will forever be in His debt. This is just one more reason why
we must never cease to praise and worship Him. Glory to His name!