Is your Jesus the Jesus of the Bible?
Truly, you are a God who hides himself, O God of Israel, the Savior. Isa 45:15
One difference I see between the God of modern Christianity and the God that I see revealed in scripture is that the God of the scripture will sometimes (if not often) hide himself. Finding God requires seeking God. The seeking is essential to what it is to being a “follower” of Christ.
For thus says the LORD to the house of Israel: Seek me and live Amos 5:4
Furthermore, one difference I see between the followers of modern Christianity and the men of old is that the men of old were so often failing in their quest to find the presence of God. Look at David, or Jacob, or Isaiah, or Paul, or Spurgeon, or Brainerd. Look at any of the reformers or any of the puritans. Their religion is a strenuous religion. Specifically, if you look at the Christianity reflected in the Psalms, it rings out with the cry of “why have you hidden your face from me.”
Why, LORD, do you stand far off? Psa 10:1
Why do you hide your face Psa 44:24
Why, LORD, do you reject me Psa 88:14
How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever? Psa 13:1
Why is this cry so strangely absent?
There is no one who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities.
When I meet someone who does not cry out the same prayer from time to time, I think that this person does not know what the smiling face of God is like. Either this person walks closer with God than did King David or Charles Spurgeon; or this person does not know the presence of God. In other words, a rock-solid Christian is probably a dead Christian. Our God promises to remove our hearts of stone and give us hearts of flesh. Do you have one?
Show me men that plead, and fall, and fail, and cry out, and seek, and get beat down by a world that is opposed to them, only to further get beat down by a God who chastises those whom he loves. These are the kind of men I’m looking to walk with. Christianity is hard, and if you aren’t an almost complete failure at it, then I do not understand how it is that you are attempting to walk on what is described as the hard and narrow road that few find. Yet it is the only road that leads to salvation.
God says that when you seek him with all of your heart you will find him.
However, he does require your all, your everything.
That religion which God requires, and will accept, does not consist in weak, dull, and lifeless wishes, raising us but a little above a state of indifference: God, in his word, greatly insists upon it, that we be good in earnest, “fervent in spirit,” and our hearts vigorously engaged in religion. –Jonathan Edwards
If you are giving him your half, or your almost, the leftovers of your time and energy after you have done that which you really want to do or find important. Then he will hide himself from you (2Ch 15:2, Jer 29:13). From this state, you can either turn and repent, or you can make for yourself a new Jesus–one that beams his smiling face on your actions no matter how half-hearted they be.
This scares me for our time. Have we made for ourselves a new religion. For it appears so very different from the Christianity of old.