The great danger facing all of us…is not that we shall make an absolute failure of life, nor that we shall fall into outright viciousness, nor that we shall be terribly unhappy, nor that we shall feel [that] life has no meaning at all – not these things. The danger is that we may fail to perceive life’s greatest meaning, fall short of its highest good, miss its deepest and most abiding happiness, be unable to tender the most needed service, be unconscious of life ablaze with the light of the Presence of God – and be content to have it so – that is the danger. That someday we may wake up and find that always we have been busy with husks and trappings of life and have really missed life itself. For life without God, to one who has known the richness and joy of life with Him, is unthinkable, impossible. That is what one prays one’s friends may be spared – satisfaction with a life that falls short of the best, that has in it no tingle or thrill that comes from a friendship with the Father.
It sounds really spiritual to say God is interested in a relationship, not in rules. But it’s not biblical. From top to bottom the Bible is full of commands. They aren’t meant to stifle a relationship with God, but to protect it, seal it, and define it.
God’s law is an expression of His grace because it is also an expression of His character. Commands show us what God is like, what He prizes, what He detests, what it means to be holy as God is holy. To hate all rules is to hate God Himself who ordained His rules to reflect His nature. The law is God’s plan for His sanctified people to enjoy communion with Him.
Perhaps the most blessed characteristic of this Christian experience of fellowship with God is its inalienability. It cannot be lost… When I realize that some joy will never come to an end, that realization in itself is a joy and accentuates the original joy, just as thinking that a present joy will come to an end is a disturbance and that disturbance detracts from the present joy itself.
What do we do if we want to grow in our relationship with God? We should do the same things we would do with any other relationship: look for ways to spend time together, talk with each other, make plans to bless each other, do things for each other, focus on each other’s desires, try to get to know each other more, honor each other, serve each other, and enjoy each other.
If we read the Bible carefully we conclude that everyone, as a creature made in God’s image, has a personal relationship with God. Therefore, God is, after the fall, either in the relationship of a judge or a father to His creatures.
It is, in fact, a law of the spiritual life that the further you go, the more you are aware of the distance still to be covered. Your growing desire for God makes you increasingly conscious, not so much of where you are in your relationship with Him as of where as yet you are not.
It is impossible for a believer, no matter what his experience, to keep right with God if he will not take the trouble to spend time with God. Spend plenty of time with him; let other things go, but don’t neglect Him.
True disciples do not have a neutral reaction toward Jesus. True disciples walk an almost paradoxical life of wanted to be around Him more than anyone or anything else, but also experiencing a fear that intensifies the more we are in His presence. It’s love and it’s respect. It’s intimacy and it’s reverence. It’s loyal friend and it’s holy God. Like Peter in Luke 5:8, both clinging to His feet and asking Him to leave.
There can be no peace between you and Christ while there is peace between you and sin.
We will never know abundant life until the unseen and eternal realm is home to us in our everyday experience. Until then, we will be living according to appearances, and appearances will never lead us deeper into the life of God. Only faith will. God wants to bring us to the point where we say, "I live by what God says about the things in my life-situations, people, and myself." Then we see as He sees. We discern that situations are not as they appear to be, but that God’s absolutes are operating in the realm of appearances. We are at rest in the unseen and eternal realm, and we experience His fullness within us.
It is possible, in our pursuit of intimacy with God, to:
1. Allow our familiarity to degenerate into flippancy.
2. Fail to remember His transcendence by placing extreme emphasis on His immanence.
3. Lose sight of His holiness.
4. Overemphasize the subjective fruit to the exclusion of the objective foundation.
5. Fail to come to Him on His terms.
6. Lose sight of the distinction between Creator and creature.