“You call me out upon the waters, the great unknown where feet may fail. And there I find You…” –Hillsong United, “Oceans”
So I’ve been listening to a sermon by A.W. Tozer called “Men Who Met God: Moses on the Mount,” and it… is… EXCELLENT!
(Of course, you know I had to share.)
In his message, Tozer is declaring that we can know God personally—not just stop at accounts about Him or our doctrines, creeds, verses, or songs that we may know by memory, but we can know Him for ourselves in the same way we can know other people, just like we read about from the real-life stories of men and women in God’s Word.
TO KNOW GOD OR KNOW ABOUT HIM?
As Tozer put it:
“I’m convinced that a great many of us, even evangelicals, know God only by hearsay. He is what we want Him to be or hope that He is rather than what we know Him to be by spiritual encounter. And I think a tragic breakdown in evangelical circles is this one: that we have used doctrine as a substitute for spiritual experience. Spiritual experience should be the outgrowth of doctrine, but we make doctrine terminal.
“And if we can recite the creed and know the notes of the Scofield Bible – oh we’re all set…and we have it. But a lot of people stop right there and never go on to experience God. Bible doctrine is a highway to lead us to God, but there are many evangelicals asleep beside the highway. And because they’re on the highway or near the highway, they call themselves evangelicals. To me an evangelical is not only someone who believes the credo of the Christian but who experiences the God of the Christian.”
“There ought to be some prophets rise in the day in which we live and declare that God can be experienced, that we can know God, that we don’t have to make God a logical deduction from premises but that we can experience God as we can experience our children…”
COMING TO THE SOURCE
So hearing God’s voice and walking closely with Him is not just something for “those saints way back when.” We can experience a living, active, thriving, intimate relationship with the Lord right now – He really wants us to! But do we really believe this is true?
When it comes to going deeper with God, it seems that the main thing holding us back is…well…
How should I say this…?
(I went for the direct approach)
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve followed Him or if you’ve never said “yes” to the Lord at all, God always wants to initiate, deepen, and increase our level of intimacy with Him. The Lord doesn’t want us to settle on what we’ve already known, experienced, or heard of concerning Him – there’s so much more of Him to experience! He wants to stir up our faith and bring us deeper still in our relationship with Him. In His incredible goodness, He’s ready and waiting for us to come to Him, to “taste and see that the Lord is good” for ourselves…
Not simply take someone else’s word for it.
(no matter how credible a source they may or may not be)
Not just think that’s for “certain people” but not how it works for you.
(God is the same God He’s always been)
Not remain content with feeding off of the plates of family, friends, or church leaders and their relationships with the Lord.
(that’s an awesome place to start, but not to stay…)
Not conclude that you’ve “been there done that” since you’ve been a Christian for so long.
(God is way too AMAZING for anyone to know fully in even a lifetime…it takes eternity!)
No! God reveals over and over and over again in His Word, the world around us, and beyond that He wants us to know Him and to grow us in knowing Him.
Which means, of course, that just like the great cloud of witnesses in the Scriptures, He wants you to know Him for yourself.
Don’t let fear or unbelief rob you of the amazing journey with God that awaits! It’s time to come to the Source and learn to follow Him.
STEPPING OUT OF THE BOAT
Are you ready to step further out on the water toward Jesus in response to His voice?
Now, I must warn you – it’s true that following Jesus is not without a fair amount of risk…
and personal cost…
(like the continual surrender of your entire life, plan, desires, and control to Him)
and at times harrowing uncertainty!
But the Lord has a great adventure marked out for you, filled with the abundant blessing of knowing Him and His incredible Presence for yourself. And as you continue to learn in greater ways Who He is in your own life, you’ll never regret choosing to walk with Him.
As I reflect on my own experience of walking with God, I can say that He’s just so mighty, lovely, so winsome, so strong, so good, so faithful, so holy, so gracious, so incredibly just, and oh so wise— Oh just thinking of Him brings such a smile to my heart and a twinkle in my eye! You’ll grow to love Him too, and you’ll never, ever be the same. But don’t just take my word for it…
Find out for yourself.
So go to Him. Run to Him! Right here. Right now.
If you’ve never had a relationship with Jesus…
Here’s how you can respond to His invitation to know Him.
If you’re already in a relationship with Jesus…
God, I admit that I’ve heard about You and know something about You, but I haven’t experienced You in the same way I hear others do or like I’ve read about in Your Word. I hear it’s possible to know You more than I do now and walk even closer with You, and, Lord, I want to experience it for myself. I’m sorry I’ve gotten comfortable with the way things are between us and haven’t really wanted You more until now.
Lord, I’m not satisfied with the way things are anymore. I don’t want to be complacent, and I don’t want to be lukewarm. I want more of You in my life. I want to experience a deeper relationship with You than I’ve ever known before. I want to hear You more, obey You more, pursue You more, expect You more, and be filled with more of Your Spirit.
Although I’m not exactly sure where to go from here, but You say in Your Word that I can come to You, and You’ll help me to do Your will. So Lord, I’m asking: Help me follow You. Forgive me for the times You’ve wanted to give me more of Yourself and were calling me to go deeper, but I wasn’t willing or I didn’t even notice. Please help me to hear You, to obey You, and to have courage to let You take me wherever You want to lead me. Please strengthen my confidence in You and in all You say is possible with You. I trust You to help me, and I surrender to Your way from this moment on. Amen.