Monday, November 27, 2006

How to Experience God

I wonder how many times we have talked ourselves out of an experience that would lead to an encounter with God because we didn’t know how it would all turn it. We talk about Abraham’s great faith, but many of us would not have followed his example. Instead of following God to the Promise Land we would have stayed behind in Ur.

Henry Blackaby in Created to Be God’s Friend wrote:
“Don’t let the unknown of the second step determine whether or not you will take the first step. Some people are not willing to take the first step unless they know what will happen when they do! Faith leaves the next step to God and ‘steps out’ in obedience, believing God will supply ‘all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue’ (2 Peter 1:3).”

It is hard to follow God into the unknown. There is uncertainty because God has left so much unspoken. There is also fear of failure or the fear of being forced out of our comfort zone. Each one of us can come up with a reason why we would rather stay where we are than to live a life of faith following God into the unknown.

Isn’t this one of the reason why we have equated morality with obedience. By obeying God’s moral laws we can feel good about ourselves without ever having to leave our couch or pew. Obedience is so much more than just living a moral life. Obedience is about trusting God more than we trust ourselves and going wherever Jesus leads. Obedience take us on an adventure beyond our control. In the end being moral is so much easier than being obedient.

Being obedient often requires us to do things that we would rather not do, to be selfless rather than selfish, and to follow God when it does not make sense to. When we are obedient we will follow God into the unknown; trusting Him to bring us to the land which He is leading us.

The Rich Young Man’s problem wasn’t with morality because he was a moral individual. The Young Man's problem was a lack of faith in Jesus. That is exactly the same problem many of us have. We are willing to be moral, but it is another story to follow where Jesus leads. The reason we fail to experience the full life Jesus promised is because we fail to put ourselves into the position to be blessed. Abraham would have missed out on encountering God had he remained in Ur. It was only because he trusted God with his life that Abraham had this amazing experience with God. The Rich Young Man missed out on the blessings God wanted to give him. All the Young Man had to show for his encounter with Jesus was a life plagued with the question: "What if?"
{24}Then Jesus said to the disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow me. {25}If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life. {26}And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process? Is anything worth more than your soul? {27}For I, the Son of Man, will come in the glory of my Father with his angels and will judge all people according to their deeds. {28}And I assure you that some of you standing here right now will not die before you see me, the Son of Man, coming in my Kingdom.” (Matthew 16:24-28; NLT)

How do we live a life that resembles Abraham rather than a life like the Rich Young Man? It begins with a choice. A choice that God can be trusted. If we do not trust God we will never obey Him. So here is the question you have to consider: Why can YOU trust God?

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