Understanding Yourself ó Continued... Barry's Video Blog...
God knows how strong and driving your need isóHe designed it that way. You can be confident that by turning and drawing near to God He can and will meet that need! Repentance can help you experience what God offers freely.
Our Longing for Intimacy
and Closeness is Evidence of
our Strong and Driving Need
for God's Presence!
Holding God Close
We are told that we are to cling to the Lord (Josh. 23:8 and Deut. 13:4). We are also told, "There is no one who calls on Your name, who arouses himself to take hold of You" (Isa. 64:7). But in King Davidís case he said, "My soul clings to You" (Ps. 63:8). These scriptures help us to understand better how to make God our refuge. We have to arouse ourselves to take hold of God and, like King David, cling to Him with our very soul: "If we had forgotten the name of our God or extended our hands to a strange god, would not God find this out? For He knows the secrets of the heart" (Ps. 44:20,21).
Think about when you were young. Did you have a special blanket? Or did you have a teddy bear? Even when you were young, the evidence of your thirst for God was clear. Is it wrong to let children become so attached to a blanket? Absolutely not! However, the job of a parent is to help our children to make the transition from clinging to their blanket to clinging to God, not to their friends or anyone else. Donít wait to start when they are a teenager because the transition has already begun. Remind them often that it is only the presence of God that can satisfy. When they get hurt by their friends, encourage them to soothe themselves by enjoying the presence of God.
It is a subtle thing that we do, but even as adults when we trust something for security we draw it in close. We "wear it" around us. It is true with money and clothing it is true with other things also. Whether it is a relationship with another person, a job, or our house, our refuge makes us feel secure.
Depending on something as our refuge, involves drawing it close and wearing it around us. But note that if we donít wear it around us, there is no benefit. It is all about abiding -- that is what we want. Whatever we are trying to abide in we have to hold it close or it wonít make us feel secure. The same is true in our relationship with God. Making God our refuge requires that we hold Him close. We have to abide inside His closeness all around us -- touching us. Trust you are near and take time often to think about the radiance of His presence being close to you.
The same is true for the love of God. The love of God can touch your human need for love more fully than you may now realize. In order to more fully enjoy and be feed by the love of God it helps greatly to thrill your heart with the closeness of His love.
The Love and Caress of God
(Also occurs in the material about "lust as evidence" of our need for God)
Concerning God's love, Jesus said, "Abide in Me...abide in My love" (John 15:7,9). Love is more than an adjective that describes God. The love of God is God Himself: "God is love" (1 John 4:8). The love of God here is His presence around us. For now, the thought of it might make you afraid, but take courage: if you want to make God your refuge, the path you must take will lead you to deal with your fears until you drop your guardedness and learn to stay inside the presence of Godís love. You will have to come to the place where you submit into believing, "The Lord loves His people" (2 Chron. 2:11).
For love between people it often starts as a feeling. God has feelings for us too: "The Lord takes pleasure in His people" (Ps. 149:4). But God also demonstrates His love for us. Jesus died on our behalf (Rom. 5:8). If you are willing to recognize it, He continues to demonstrate His love for you in many ways. Another way God demonstrates His love is in His drawing near to you and holding you in His arms.
When youíre in love with another person you enjoy it when they hold you with their arms around you. It can be the same way with God, only better. Your desire and longing to be held by another person is evidence of your need to be held by God. He longs to hold you. Will you let Him? Doing so requires that you become childlike enough to believe the scriptures and thrill yourself with Godís caress.
God is still the same as He was then. He still takes us in His arms. Jesus also said, "How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling" (Matt. 23:37). Work with your heart so that you stop holding back. Purpose to believe.
The Bible says, "The eternal God is a dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms" (Deut. 33:27). The more you let yourself delight in His love, the more you will find freedom to believe. The more you believe, the more you will let yourself be open to experience His presence as He holds you close.
God can hold us because Godís love has substance. We are told to "keep yourselves in the love of God" (Jude 1:21). The Bible isnít saying here that you should make sure God keeps loving you. With people that might be true, but not with God. Not at all! Instead, we are to keep ourselves inside the substance of His love. Jesus said it this way: "Abide in My love" (John 15:9). That means we should live inside it. The love of God is a substance that we can stay inside because the love of God is God Himself: "The one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him" (1 John 4:16). Direct your heart to refuge yourself in the love that shines from God.
God not only defines love, the love of God is God Himself: "God is love" (1 John 4:8). King David wrote of the love of God resting upon him: "May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you" (Ps. 33:22 NIV). Because the love of God is God Himself, I believe David was talking about the Holy Spirit. Peter wrote about something similar: "The Spirit of glory and of God rests on you" (1 Pet. 4:14). When you are "in love" with God, you draw near to Him because you want to be near Him. When you draw near to Him, His love comes to rest on you, the closeness of His Holy Spirit becomes your delight. Thrill yourself with His presence.
It is right to depend on God for the love you need. Moment by moment, we need a source that constantly lavishes love upon us. Only God can do that. Reassure your heart that your need for love and to be held isnít greater than His ability to supply. Keep thanking the Lord until your heart becomes soft enough to hear and believe that "great is your love toward me" (Ps. 86:13 NIV).
Love the caress of God. Cling to His presence and hate trying to cling to anything else. You can trust God to lavish enough of His presence to quench your thirsty need for love. Otherwise, it wouldnít be possible for you to make God become your one and only pursuit. Your need would drive you to keep looking toward people who have the same need for God as you.
Though you canít see it, the caress of God is something that is real, something you can experience. Draw near to God by trusting you are entering the throne room. Think about being in the throne room and close to God as a reality that is greater than the material world around you. When you draw near to Him this way He will draw near to you because He is a fountain (Heb. 10:19,22; Ps. 36:7-9). Let Him be God to you; let Him hold you. And, donít be afraid if you become aware that He is pursuing you. Unlike many people you have known, God is good. Reassure your heart that God is not a predator with secrete intentions to hurt people: "O taste and see that the Lord is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!" (Ps. 34:8). Stop fighting and submit to the truth. It is best for you if you trust Him.
If you are like me you will have to soften the soil of your heart before you find freedom to believe His love for you personally. Do this, by thanking Him for the truth in the scriptures about His love. Purpose to hear. Softening your heart with the truth will make you more open to what God is trying to teach you through circumstances and your experiences in life.
Make it Easier to Repent and Turn to God!
Allow me to say it again. Our need for intimacy and closeness is strong evidence of our desperate need for the nearness of the presence of God. Don't condemn yourself when you see evidence of your need for God!
Learning to recognize your desire for God in your human longings and pursuits makes it much easier to turn to Godówithout condemning yourself because your need is so great.
God made you with desire. Fill yourself with Him. Your need for God's presence never goes away. Even when you don't think you don't want God, your desire for His presence has not decreased.
I am praying for the Lord's abundant blessing on your efforts to direct your heart toward Him.
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Understanding Yourself ó Continued...
(C) Barry Hall 1999
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