Knowing God Personally - page 5

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From the Summer 2016 issue of Knowing & Doing:  

Knowing God Personally

by Thomas A. Tarrants III,  D.Min.
Vice President for Ministry & Director
Washington Area Fellows Program, C.S. Lewis Institute

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Seeking God

  Are you content with your Christian life, or do you long for something more? Do you hunger and thirst for God? Is He the desire of your heart? Do you really want to know Him more intimately and follow Him more faithfully? The pursuit of God is a prerequisite for those who want to go deeper with God. He invites us to seek Him. He shows us the road to travel. And He provides the spiritual nourishment for the journey. But these will do us little good unless we make time in our hurried, distracted lives to use them. Many of us need to take the advice of Dallas Willard: “Hurry is the great enemy of the spiritual life in our day. You must relentlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”3 Jesus was never in a hurry, and we are called to walk in His steps and follow His example. This does not mean withdrawing from normal life and adopting a monastic life. Jesus didn’t do that, nor did Moses, David, Peter, or Paul. They led active lives in the world, but their lives were not filled with the clutter, distractions, and chronic busyness that fills our lives today. They were focused, they had priorities, they marched to the beat of a different Drummer; they sought to please an audience of One. No matter where they were or what they were doing, their inner compass was oriented toward God—His presence, His will, and His purposes.
  Is that what you long for? If the desire of your heart is to know God more intimately, that is a sign that the grace of God is drawing you. Your part is to respond by setting yourself to seek after and pursue Him (Matt. 6:33). Those who seek will find (Jer. 29:13; Matt. 7:7).
  The following suggestions, drawn from Scripture and demonstrated over many centuries of church history, will be helpful as you seek Him in the days ahead:

  • Worship God every Sunday in a church that is orthodox in its beliefs, spiritually alive, and preaches God’s word faithfully. Build Christ-centered friendships there, and join a Bible study or prayer group composed of people who want to know God better (Heb. 10:24). Find a couple of like-minded believers (of your own gender) and meet regularly to pray and encourage one another in your pursuit of Christ.
  • Read Scripture daily, asking God to open the eyes of your heart and teach you (Ps. 119:18; 1 Cor. 2:12; Eph. 1:16–20). This includes learning to meditate on God’s Word and memorize key verses. Meditation takes biblical truth deeper into our minds and hearts with powerful effect. But that effect occurs only as you take to heart what you read and meditate on and become a doer of the word; otherwise you will not grow spiritually but only become self-deceived (James 1:22–25).
  • Pray daily in a quiet, undistracted place. If you haven’t already done so, learn how to pray the Lord’s Prayer, which is the basic prayer Jesus gave to train His disciples. Also learn to pray other Scriptures, especially the Psalter, which is the prayerbook of the church. As you read through the Psalms, you will be surprised at how many of them speak directly to your particular needs and concerns today and give you a vocabulary for your own prayer.
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you each day (Eph. 5:18); seek to walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16) and manifest the fruit of His presence in your life (Gal. 5:22–24). It is impossible to draw near to God or to live the Christian life without the Spirit’s help. He reveals Christ to us; He opens our eyes to the Scriptures; He leads us in praying aright; He enlivens our worship; He guides and empowers us for joyful, obedient living and service, and much more. As we walk in the Spirit, we will not fulfill the desires of the flesh (Gal. 5:16).

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