Have you ever wondered why some people seem to have a closeness with God while others seem stuck or stagnant in their walk with Jesus? Have you ever felt like you have a lot of head knowledge about the Bible but not a lot of tangible experience to hold on to?
I sure have…
I remember when I first got saved. I was eighteen years old. I had accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior and said the sinner’s prayer. I believed in my heart that Jesus died for me. It started me down a path. A pursuit to know God and learn more about Jesus and Christianity. I joined bible studies, small groups and read the word. I started to serve in church and lead. I liked it, the community I had was like nothing I had ever experienced before. To be a part of something bigger than myself felt good. But if I’m honest, I think I fell more in love with the social club that I had going on at church than I did with Jesus.
At the time, I could say that I “knew” God but to know about God and to know God personally are two very different things. You could do research on any public figure but does that mean that you really know them? All that does is give you head knowledge and head knowledge does not produce personal knowledge.
To truly know God is not to fill yourself up with a bunch of bible facts and stories. Don’t get me wrong, knowing scripture is very important, but God wants us to apply what we have learned. If we know the information but never do what it says, then what good is that? In James 1:22 it says “do not just be hearers of the word but doers of the word”. Jesus said to go and make disciples. A disciple is a follower, to follow is to do what Jesus did.
It isn’t until you get to the point where you’ve reached the end of yourself, a place where you lose interest in your own plans and selfish ambition, wanting to do God’s will here on earth more than your own that you really come to know Him. It’s in that place of complete surrender, with a heart that cries out “I want God’s will to be done. So take my life God, lead me, transform me, help me to become more like you and do with me what you wish. My life is yours.”
It’s in those shaky, uncertain places that God shows up the most. It’s in the get out of the boat and attempt walking on water moments where the Holy Spirit is at work. It’s not that He’s not with us if were not doing those kind of things. He’s always there. It’s just that we don’t need God to show up for us in the play-it-safe spaces of our lives. We need Him most in the messy, broken and the scary places. We need Him most when we take a step of faith.
To know God is to love Him and to love Him is to obey him. If you aren’t feeling close to God I want you to ask yourself, “have I obeyed God? Am I pressing in to His word so that I can know His heart? Am I being obedient to what I feel he is telling me to do? Have I truly surrendered every part of my life to Him?” If you don’t sense Him speaking anything, then ask yourself, “when was the last time that I felt the Lord speaking to me and did I do what He told me to do?” If something comes to mind, start there. Do the last thing He told you to do. I have known many people who felt a distance from God and when they thought back to the last thing they felt God was leading them to do and did it, they started to sense His presence and leading again.
Let’s be people who are willing to take a risk and step out in faith to follow Him in absolute surrender. It is in that place where you will feel His supernatural peace, confidence and presence that equips you for His work. When you do what He is calling you to do, He will meet you there. His presence will strengthen you to difficulties and empower you to do great things.