This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance (and for this we labor and strive) that we have put our hope in the living God who is the Savior of all, and especially of those who believe.
1 Timothy 3:9-10
Saturday, August 6, 2016
Preparing for Sunday - An Encounter with GOD
I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. – John 10:10
This verse proves the purpose of Jesus’ heart. His desire is for all men to be saved and have an abundant life with God here, and in the age to come.
The Christian life is not a dry and dusty life, but rather an extraordinary life filled with wonder.
1. Encountering God is Necessary
You need an encounter with God to start a relationship with God.
Encounters are not just a bonus to your spiritual life but they are necessary for your spirit man.
Have you ever just “connected” with somebody? Whether it’s a good friend or spouse, you just “clicked" when you first met them. That is similar to what happens with God. You have the initial connection with God, which is a legitimate “encounter” no matter how subtle it may be.
Don’t discredit these experiences. If you don’t see flashes of lightning or hear the audible voice of God, that doesn’t mean you haven’t encountered Him! Like many people initially do, you may think it’s just your imagination, but it’s not! Run with it! You may not know how to respond yet, but God is planting a seed in your heart. This seed is the beginning of something beautiful.
2. Encounters with God Build Faith
Your relationship with God starts with an encounter but continues by faith.
Seeds are never meant to stay seeds; they are made to grow. Likewise, faith isn’t meant to stay a seed in your heart, but is destined to grow. In order for a seed to grow into a healthy tree you need good soil and water. Encounters are like the water for your heart, they increase your faith.
Encounters also motivate you to press on. They make our relationship with God sustainable because they give us hope that times of refreshing will come. Sometimes you may feel “dry.” You may not always feel God, but be encouraged! This is what makes an abundant life with God exciting, because its not always dry.
I do not want to mislead you, life isn’t always going to be easy. In those “wilderness seasons” you NEED faith to continue.
3. Encounters with God Are Not too Far Away
You will seek me and you will find me when you search for me with all your heart. – Jeremiah 29:13
Encounters with God should not be a once in a lifetime phenomena for a Christian. Likewise, for an unbeliever, or somebody who is “seeking” for God, I would like to encourage you that He is closer than you think.
Two powerful verses come to mind when I think about those who are searching for the truth, and an experience with God. Both of these verses come out of the Book of Psalms.
The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. – Psalm 145:18
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. – Psalm 34:18
I felt the Lord tell me recently that He encounters those with a little bit of faith but a lot of humility.
I cannot biblically say you absolutely must be humble to encounter God. The Apostle Paul in the book of Acts is a great example of how that is not true. While he was in route to kill Christians, Jesus literally knocked Paul off of his high horse and changed his life in an instant. Some would say that Paul’s encounter with Jesus was entirely against his will. God sovereignly touched Paul, so nobody is safe! Even those who hate God can still encounter Him.
However, God absolutely loves the humble. He comes to those who are seeking Him. (As Jeremiah 29:13 shows)
The Saints throughout the Bible were humble in their seeking after God. They were righteous in their character and prayed earnestly with reverence to Him. God consistently met them where they were and encountered them. He launched them into extraordinary lives. The same is true today! God still moves in this way.
Asking God with right motives will increase faith because God never despises a humble heart. I would not advise going the same route as Paul. After all the bible says:
God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. – James 4:6
Do not set your heart purposefully against the Lord, but stay humble in seeking Him. When you seek you shall find.
Call to Action
Take your experiences with God and guard them. Protect them with your life! If God encounters you today for the first time, I would encourage you to ask Him what’s next. Cherish and be a good steward of the experience.
If you’ve had encounters before, the same rules apply. God is trying to rekindle His relationship with you. He is showing you that He’s not done with you. He will persevere in His pursuit for you!
If you’ve never encountered Him, but you want to, here’s what you do: stay curious, stay humble, and “seek the Lord." Make yourself available for these things. Go places to encounter Him!