In his book Surrender to Love: Discovering the Heart of Christian Spirituality, David Benner says:
Ask Christians what they believe about God, and most will have a good deal to say. However, ask those same people what they know about God from direct personal experience, and most will have much less to say.
Many will speak of knowing that their sins have been forgiven. Some will speak of answers to prayer or a sense of God’s presence. But many will fall strangely silent. Many – even evangelicals, who talk the most about a personal relationship with God – will not have much to say about how they actually experience God in that relationship.
A.W. Tozer notes that most of us who call ourselves Christians do so on the basis of belief more than experience. We have, he argues, “substituted theological ideas for an arresting encounter; we are full of religious notions, but our great weakness is that for our hearts there is no one there.”
Why is it easier to perform for God? To know about God but not actually know God and experience God? Why is it easier to know that God loves you but not experience God’s love for you?
It’s easier to keep score than to actually live in God’s love. It’s easier to grade ourselves on church attendance, Bible reading, memorizing scripture, serving, and giving. Those are easier. Yet we can do all those things and still miss God. (Matthew 7:21 – 23)
If you, like me, struggle to live in God’s love, to know and experience God’s love and for God’s love for you to be the basis of your Christian life, let me give you a challenge.
This week, take some time to sit in silence and meditate on the following passages. Now if you are like me, you will read the Bible with an eye on “getting something out of it.” Who has time for feelings of love and silence?! I know I’m much more comfortable talking about God, debating theology and beliefs, than experiencing God. My hunch is you might be, too. The reason isn’t only because it’s easier to keep score, but also moving closer to God’s love for you will cause you to ask, “What does God think of me when I come to his mind?”
Stop a moment and answer that question: What does God think of you when you come to his mind?
Many will answer that question with disappointment or anger. But is God disappointed or angry with you? Does God feel indifferent towards you? The answer to those questions is no.
So, while you are sitting in silence, read the following passages. Now, don’t read them to learn something. Don’t read them to get some nugget of truth. Read them to let the truth of God’s love for you sink in.
Here they are:
- Psalm 23, 91, 131
- Isaiah 43:1 – 4, 49:14 – 16
- Hosea 11:1 – 4
- Matthew 10:29 – 31
- Romans 8:31 – 39
As you do, remember the question: What does God think of you when you come to his mind? What do these verses tell you?