Thursday, 24 November 2011

Silent Awe

Loch Awe, Scotland

My flesh trembles in fear of you; I stand in awe of your laws. 
(Psalm 119:120)

I could never be described as “verbally verbose” as my family and friends will testify. Instead, I am a “reflective ruminator” and have found in writing a perfect outlet for my thoughts about God.

And now I find myself in an unusual position where words will not come, sentences get typed and deleted, once even a whole post was published and then deleted.

I have been so conscious these last few weeks of an urge to know God better, to really pursue Him with all I possess, to stand in the council of the Lord (Jer 23:18). As I have sought Him, I have been undone by the Holy Law of God which emptied me of any self-reliance and drove me into the open arms of Grace.

And with the scars of attempting to live by the perfect Law of God still fresh in my mind, to “Do this and live”, I see once again the huge gulf between the Holiness of God and the sinfulness of man. And whilst I taste of the sweetness of Grace once again and the blessed comfort of coming to One who calls “It is finished! Come and follow me!” I look around me at the world in which I live which knows nothing of Grace, and suppresses the truth of God’s law in its conscience as it follows after wickedness, and my flesh trembles in fear of God and I stand in awe of His laws and His judgements.

“But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.” Hab 2:20.

“Be silent before the Sovereign LORD, for the day of the LORD is near.” 
Zeph 1:7

Sometimes silent awe before a Holy God is all we can offer. 

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

I want to know Him!

6th February 2013
I wrote these words many months ago under a weight of conviction. I posted and then deleted as my repentance and seeking was too fresh, too close and too precious to share. Today I am ready to share these words with you and pray they will bless and encourage you to seek more of Him too. 

2nd November 2011
It is almost 20 years since the day the Holy Spirit brought conviction to me regarding sin, righteousness and judgement, and gave me the gift of faith which brought me into the Kingdom as a child of God. And the last few days I have been cut to the heart as the Holy Spirit has brought conviction over this verse of Scripture:

How can it be possible to have walked with God 20 years and yet feel like I do not know Jesus? It is as if I have been scrabbling in the dust at the feet of Jesus, rather than holding onto His feet with my own hands.

I have been reading this sermon by Charles Spurgeon, “Do you know Him?” based on Paul’s heartcry “I want to know Christ!” (Philippians 3:10). He makes the point that it is entirely possible to be content with knowing Christ’s historic life, to prize the doctrine of Christ, to desire to walk in the footsteps of Christ, to know of Christ’s sacrifice and that your sin is taken away by His precious blood – and yet still not know Him!

Others there are who know Christ's doctrine, and prize it too, but they know not Him...My beloved, surely if you know the doctrine of Jesus, if you have so been with Christ as to sit at his feet and hear what he has to say, you must, I hope, have had some longings to know him—to know his person; and if you have, you will have had to pass by multitudes of followers of Jesus who rest satisfied with his words, but forget that he is himself "THE WORD."...

How often I have rested content in reading and hearing the words of Christ, making sure I have understanding of correct doctrine - but have not sought Him!

"Others there be who have been persuaded by the judgment and encouragement of others, that they know something about the great Redeemer. They do not know Him, but still they are persuaded by others that they have an interest in Him. Let me warn you of second-hand spirituality, it is a rotten, soul-deceiving deception.” 

I know of too many times in my own life when I am content to read what others have to say of Christ, I even spend plenty of time thinking about what they have said about Christ as I mull it over, and it brings delight to my heart.  I hear the words of CS Lewis : “We are like ignorant children who want to continue making mud pies in a slum because we cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a vacation at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” How I have been far too easily pleased to rest in thinking about Him! And now I hear Jesus saying to me “Don’t you know Me?”

Can it be possible to have prayed for 20 years and still not know Jesus? Spurgeon says “As I might say that I know a man merely because I meet him every day, and ask him for what I want, and understand that he is kind and generous; but how shallow is such an acquaintance, for I do not know his private character nor his inward heart. Even so a believer may have constant dealings with Christ in his prayers and in his praises, and yet for all that, he may have only gone a certain distance, and may have need still to pray, "That I may know Him."

Can it be possible to have been invited in to eat at His table and still not know Him in the highest sense? "But you are said to know a person better still when he invites you to his house....Well, now, that is better. We are getting now into something like knowing a man; and I do trust there are many of you, beloved, who have got as far as this with regard to your divine Lord. Christ has entertained you with some rare visits from his gracious presence. He brought you into the banqueting-house, and his banner over you was love. When he manifested himself, he did it unto you as he did not unto the world. He was pleased in the majesty of his condescension, to take you aside and show you his hands and his side. He called you "Friend;" he treated you as such, and permitted you to enjoy thine sweets of being one of the family.  Ah, but you may go into a man's house as a constant visitor, and yet you may not know him—that is to say, not in the highest sense."

Oh, how my heart longs and cries out to know Him! I realise I know so little of what these verses mean: 

I know so little of this asking, seeking, and knocking, this waiting on God. Wrestling with God as I have sought to understand His forgiveness, His cleansing power, His love....yes. But I have to confess I have not sought HIM through His Spirit, and I am heartbroken over this. And I believe this is why I feel I do not know Him, for Jesus tells us this:

And then I read these verses of Scripture, as Jesus speaks to a lukewarm church:

And I am so so encouraged in my heart! This rebuke I have received from Him is because He loves me! How I gladly repent! And I will continue to press on for more. And I echo Spurgeon when he says “Mark, I am finding no fault with any of these who prize the history, or who value the doctrine, or who admire the precept; but I want more. I do want, beloved, that you and I should "know HIM."