Friday, December 21, 2012

What does it mean to experience God? I Google-ed it just now – at some risk – and got a lot of well-meaning stuff. I rolled my eyes at most of it!

Personally, I don’t want to experience God’s blessings, or even His power for that matter. I just want to experience Him.

I come to this with the following “baggage”:

  1. I believe I can experience God.
  2. I believe the experience of God is a good thing. In fact, I believe it to be the main thing – the first thing.
  3. I believe God deeply desires for us to experience Him.
  4. I believe my tendency is to experience God in order to get something.  I must proceed with caution, because I believe in experiencing God I do get something.
  5. I believe the world has clouded my mind on experiencing God, making me a consumer and someone who is, in the words of C.S. Lewis, “far too easily pleased.”
  6. I believe there are many, many miss-understandings about the experience of God. I believe there are many “experience” counterfeits. I believe the church desperately feels the need to teach on experiencing God, the same churches whose teachers no little on the subject.
  7. I believe there are people who genuinely experience God – and on a level I have not yet … experienced.
  8. I do not believe experiencing God is complicated or hard to achieve in some sense.
  9. I believe the evil one is very threatened by God’s children truly seeking to experience God.
  10. I believe experiencing God demands patience, trust, perseverance, and faith – a faith that is willing to resist tagging an emotionally charged moment or a pleasurable gas pain as the experience of God. I believe God calls all the shots when it comes to experiencing Him.
  11. I believe we most likely experience Him more than we think we do, and in many diverse ways.
  12. I believe God rewards us when we seek an experience of Him.
  13. I believe the experience of God is primarily with the heart. Surely, though, the mind, the emotions and the physical are somehow “involved.”
  14. I really believe we experience God when we are still and alone. I believe this because the world – whose god is the evil one - is so noisy and congested.
  15. I believe my experience of God pays a dividend in the lives of my friends.
  16. I believe in a God generous and lavish with His love.
  17. I believe the experience of God defies definition and quantifying. Certainly there is no recipe/formula nor are there x number of steps to experiencing God. Yet, I believe we must do something in order to experience God.
  18. I believe grace needs to be mentioned in any conversation about the experience of God. I believe God is Sovereign, and that we have responsibility.
  19. I believe extreme caution and humility must accompany any conversation about the experience of God since we are so prone to impose our own idea systems on them. I believe it is a good thing to talk about the experience of God.
  20. I believe human relationships to be a context as well as a metaphor for the experience of God.
  21. I believe prayer is a central component in experiencing God.
  22. I believe experiencing God can be a corporate thing.
  23. I believe experiencing God not to be a “holy grail,” in that it is some monumental “goal.”  God is our destination, our goal, and followers of Christ have this in the “already” category.
  24. Somehow, and finally but not exhaustively, I believe I will “know” it – sense it – when I do experience God. But, admittedly, I have very little to say on this subject.

Philippians 2:12-13

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.  (NASB)