Anyone who has had an encounter with the Living God wants more. That is why Jesus had a following. People gathered around Him and followed Him wherever He went because they wanted more. We all want more of God, more of His presence, but how do we “get” more of God?
I am not an expert on this, but I was praying through these thoughts the other morning, and I believe God spoke to me through various passages in the Bible about how we all can have more of God.
We need to make room for Him
When God became man (Jesus), He came to His own, and His own people (the Jews) did not know Him. There was “no room in the inn”. We need to make room for God in our hearts and lives.
God emptied Himself to become a man, lived the life we could not live in perfect submission to the Father, suffered and died on the cross as atonement for our sin and rose again making the way for us to have fellowship with Him. If God emptied Himself for us, we need to empty ourselves for Him. We need to decrease so He can increase in us.
I am relaying these things in the order that God gave them to me, but I do not think there is any particular order in which we should do these things. That is, except for this one thing – we need to make room for God in our lives.
This does not just mean carving out some time during each day to pray and read the Bible; this means that we allow God to inhabit us and inform us in every aspect of our lives. We need to allow His Spirit to indwell us by making room in our hearts, by emptying ourselves and “getting out of God’s way” so that He can fill us with Himself.
We need to spend time away with Him
Jesus went away to pray and be alone with the Father often. Jesus was always going back to the Father alone, by himself. He found times to steal away from the crowds and the crowded marketplace to pray and just spend time with the Father. If Jesus needed to do that, we need to do that all the more if we want more of God in our lives.
We encounter God in many ways, but He speaks to us in a still, small voice. We need to be still and quiet to hear what God is saying. We need get away from the busyness of life, the things that crowd in upon us, and spend time with God, alone, where He can speak into our hearts, and we can learn directly from Him. We need to get away from other things and spend time with God by ourselves if we want more of God.
We need to wait for Him
Jesus told His disciples to go out into all the world and preach the Gospel. That is the Great Commission. But He followed the instruction “to go” with another instruction; He commanded them to do something that seemed completely counter-productive to the direction “to go”: He told them to wait.
He told them to wait for the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the promise of the Father. The Holy Spirit is “God with us” in the same way that Jesus was “God with us”; except that the Holy Spirit is God in us!
We often want to rush ahead of God. It is a natural inclination. After Jesus turned a few loaves and fishes into a feast for a crowd, the crowd wanted to seize Him and make Him king. When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, the people celebrated Him as an earthly king and savior, but they did not realize other things needed to happen, first. Jesus needed to die for our sins. He needed to conquer sin and death. God, in His great mercy, was not ready to take the throne. He was extending the opportunity for generations to accept His atoning death for our sins and be saved.
We can not see what God sees and do not know what God knows. We need to wait for Him and seek to understand what God is doing right now in our lives, in the church we attend, in the area in which we live and in the world. When we wait for God, we are waiting to understand and waiting for His power to enable us to fulfill what He has for us to do. If we run out ahead of God, we will not be doing exactly what God wants us to do, when He wants us to do it, and we will be going in our own strength, instead of God’s strength.
We need to ask
What father, when his son asks for bread, gives him a stone? Jesus is the Bread of Life. He is the Living Water. He invites us to partake of Himself, but there is something in the asking.
God wants us to ask. God is Person. He made us in His own image. He made us for fellowship. When we ask, we are stepping into fellowship with God. He delights to give of Himself, but he is looking for an exchange: He draws, and we respond; we ask, and He gives.
If we want more of God, we need to ask for God Himself. Our treasure is where our heart is. We could ask for things for ourselves or even for others, but the greatest treasure is God Himself. Our treasure awaits us in heaven, but God has given us His Holy Spirit – which is Himself – and we can partake of that treasure on earth. We just need to ask.
We need to seek
God promises to reveal Himself to us when seek Him, and we find God when we seek Him with all our hearts. Seeking God with all of our hearts means we need to be “all in”!
We need to devote our hearts to the seeking, and what we seek needs to be God, Himself, if we want more of God in our lives.
As we seek God, we stop seeking other things. Other things, even good things, are poor substitutes for God. In the process of seeking God, we must stop seeking other things and devote ourselves to the greatest thing – God. In that process, we align ourselves with God; we put away the lesser things; and we set our sights on God. He wants us to seek because, as we seek Him, we focus on Him and take our focus off of other things.
We need to go
Jesus told us to go. There is a time to go, and when we go, the Holy Spirit is right there with us to help us. Although there are times we need to wait for God, there are times that we need to go. Ultimately, going is what we need to be doing. I think the Church, as a whole, misses God because the Church is not going.
Peter, James and John climbed a high mountain with Jesus. On the mountain top Jesus was transfigured before their eyes. Elijah and Moses appeared with Him. What a “mountaintop experience”! Literally. The disciples wanted to pitch a tent and camp there. – Who wouldn’t?!! – But that was not God’s plan.
It is never God’s plan for us to camp on our experiences with Him. In those encounters, Jesus shows Himself in all of His glory; we learn things about ourselves, about God and about the world; but He does not intend for us to pitch a tent and stay there. He took the disciples back down the mountain to the valley where the purpose of God is played out in real, everyday life.
We cannot camp on our experiences with God. God has a plan, and He wants us to move on to fulfill that plan. He wants us to go with Him. If we camp where we experience God, He will move on; and we will be left on an empty mountain top. We should seek God on those mountain tops, but we need to follow God down from the mountain to the valley of everyday life where the purpose of God plays out.
We need to do
Jesus spent much of His time walking the dusty roads, on the street, in the marketplace, mixing with people, healing the sick and sharing the Gospel. If we want more of God, we need to be where God is and doing what God wants to do – reaching people with the Gospel and love. We will encounter God by doing those things Jesus did.
God told the prophets that He wants His people to administer justice, to show compassion and mercy to each other. Pure religion is looking after orphans and widows in their distress and keeping ourselves from being polluted by the world. We need to be about the business of God if we want more of God in our lives.
Doing means speaking as well. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. If we are not telling people about the Gospel, who will? God chose to use us and send us into all the world to preach the Gospel, and we need to be doing what God wants us to do if we want more of God in our lives.
I began Navigating by Faith in response to what I believe God was speaking into my heart. For me, this is part of being about God’s business. I believe He has given each person gifts and burdens and callings that are unique to each individual. We all have the ability to write, serve, speak, have compassion, pastor help, etc., but God gives out different measures to different people, and God places different things on different peoples’ hearts to make use of those gifts and abilities. We do not live this life alone, in a vacuum. We need each other.
Let me know what you think. What has God put on your heart? What do you think He is calling you to do with the gifts and abilities you have and the calling He placed within you? I would love to hear from you.