God is reality.
We live in His world, or we don’t live at all.
To deny Him is to be in non-existence. To live an illusion.
Our true life consists of intimacy with God. Our inner life consists of the presence of God. It is a garden within our hearts and minds in which He causes all things to grow. If this garden is not being cultivated, kept, and pruned, than what have we to live for? If our day to day concerns are not the things of God, then what are they? Non-realities. Trivial, trite things. Just mere vapors of the true. This goes for religious activity as well. Perhaps it applies to religious activity most of all. Paul says this;
although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless. But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. – Philippians 3:4-11
If in all my religious activity I don’t gain Christ, its rubbish.
I had a conversation with a friend lately that really brought me back to this great truth. I have been caught up in my schedule, my schoolwork, and my religious activities that I have been reading my Bible like a textbook in the mornings, expecting to squeeze some sort of something out to which I can cling for the rest of the day. But that is lifeless legalism, not intimacy with Jesus. The truth is, if I haven’t experienced Jesus that day, if I haven’t communed with Him, my schedules and plans are absolutely worthless. Its not enough for me just to say this in a blog post, and its not enough for you to just read it. It needs to happen. To be honest, I go to a Christian school where I would say the vast majority of students claim to be followers of Christ, and I’m sick of lip service. I do it too. I’m sick of us pretending to love God, when our devotion is only half-hearted. We have been given so much truth, we know how to seek God, we have studied the major movements and revivals throughout history, yet we don’t seek out that devotion in our personal lives. We need to let the truths of Scripture wreck us, then pour out of us to transform our community.
This is my cry to all the 20-somethings out there who are in college and who love the Lord. Don’t let your age be an excuse for not experiencing intimacy with God. He is more worthy than netflix. He is more worthy than all your social events. He is more worthy than dating and marriage. He is more worthy than sporting events/teams. Just being real. All of those things are good, don’t panic. Our goal is not legalism, but personal examination of our time and money to determine our hearts’ affections. I’m just sick of being a mediocre college student, and I don’t want to be caught in the typical waves and winds of the culture.
Dare to look deeper.
Rarely is there a day that goes by that I don’t wonder what we’re missing out on as a community of believers. If we sought God, if we really sought Him, together, what treasures would we find? What joys? I think C.S Lewis says it best;
It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. -C.S Lewis
The glory of God is found in our pursuit of Jesus, the revealed glory of God.
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. – John 1:14
And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, – Hebrews 1:3
Let us marvel at Christ. Let us make it a practice among ourselves to be in awe at the gospel. To pray and pursue Him together. It takes discipline, it takes diligence, but we have great examples that have gone before. Let us not be pleased with what the culture around us tells us is a “safe” way to live our faith. Let us press on for more of Him, to a higher calling, a higher goal. Something that likely will never be understood by those around us. When this is our foundation, that is when our sin is killed. Because when we sin we deny our reality. When we breathe in Jesus and breathe out Jesus, suddenly an interruption in that sweet fellowship will cause us alarm. When we sin we say God doesn’t exist, so when He is our existence, our sin stands out like a sore thumb. This is why the pure in heart will see God, because in Him there are no impurities. Killing sin is bit by bit cleaning the murky window through which we try to view God.
Richard Wurmbrand, in his book Alone with God, shares incredible insights that he gained from living 14 years in prison for his faith. Three of which he was completely closed off from all light, all human contact, except for the torture he regularly received to recount his faith. We would do well to apply these incredible truths to our lives. Here are just a few quotes that have really touched me;
“Clay is molded into a vessel, but the ultimate use of the vessel depends on the part where nothing exists. Doors and windows are cut out of the wall of a house, but the ultimate use of the house depends on the parts where nothing exists. I wish to become such a useful nothing.”
“I am not freed of passions but I am free from the desire to know trifles.”
“Nor do I wish to know other things. I wish to know only “that Holy One” about which Luke speaks in mystery (Luke 1:35). One day of being with Him is worth a lifetime of knowledge about Him, which is putting into human words the inexpressible.”
“Jesus must give Himself to me totally or I will reject Him totally. I will never be satisfied with glimpses, with possibilities and probabilities of truth. I must know Him. I must live in His embrace, or I will deny Him as One who does not give all He promises.”
So press on dear one, chosen of the true.
Towards the narrow path you go
Up the mountains, down valleys low
Those who find the way are few.