We have all heard it said, or maybe even said it ourselves, “I have never felt God.” Branching off from that, “I have never heard God’s voice.” These two statements really go hand in hand, because God’s word is directly correlated with His presence. One of the problems we have as Christians in general is that we tend to separate the two.
The flow of this post will more than likely be choppy, so bear with me. I have felt led to address two primary points and topics, so I will attempt to do that.
The first point I want to make is this; if you feel that there is a lack of God’s presence in your life and that you are not hearing His voice, the very first question you need to ask yourself is, how much time am I spending with Him? This is something I feel very strongly about, because I have been in a season of feeling somewhat distant from God. I was still reading my Bible and praying daily, but the time I was spending with Him had dramatically decreased, due to stress and business. It is true, that my distant feeling from God was caused by the decrease in time with Him, but God has shown me that there is a deeper root than just time, which leads me to my next point.
Our approach to God will determine what we receive from Him. What I mean by this is if I approach my Bible as a book of good morals and principles, I will receive good morals and principles; however, if I approach God’s Word as the power of God, I will receive its power. What is wrong with good morals and principles to live by? Nothing at all, but if it is not accompanied by transformation, which comes through Holy Spirit, I will never be able to walk out those principals.
This concept is seen in John 5:39-40. Jesus was speaking to the religious Jews that were questioning and persecuting Him, for claiming to be the Son of God. His response is both enlightening and somewhat scary. He says to them, “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” -John 5:39-40 What is He saying? He is telling us that it is possible to read the word of God diligently, yet miss the actual person of God. You can memorize the entire Bible and not know God!
This is scary only because I believe a lot of Christians are in this boat, but it is enlightening because it communicates the importance of our approach to God’s Word, which should always be to know Him better, to learn His character and draw near to His heart.
The last point I want to address, is how to get more out of God’s word and really encounter the power and transformation that it holds. The way I believe we can do this best, is understanding that there is absolutely no separation between God’s word and His presence. We also have to understand that the presence of God is not a touchy feeling thing, it is the power of God and promised gift, the Holy Spirit, in which we are transformed and renewed.
I have heard conversations and debates about the balance between the Word of God and the presence of God. But to me, the topic is weird and I believe it misses the point, because the Word of God ushers in God’s presence. We see this in the beginning of creation, when the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters (Genesis 1:2). One of my all time favorite evangelist once asked, what was the Spirit doing in Genesis 1? Why was He just hovering there? What was He waiting on? The answer to this question is found in the next verse, “And God said, let there be light. . .”
The purpose of the Holy Spirit is to fulfill the Word of God. He is always at work, searching for an opportunity to fulfill the Father’s purpose, which is that all men be saved and know Him (1 Timothy 2:4).
So, my challenge to you is as we start this new year, if you feel distant from God, or maybe like you do not know Him at all, spend time with Him! Acknowledge that His Word is not just a book, but that it is the power of God.
We spend so much time sowing into earthly friendships, why would our relationship with God be any different?