It seems to me as if this subject is one of the most important ones in our religion. Piper’s, Owen’s, Edward’s, Tozer’s (and I’m sure a host of other authors’) most famous books are about the subject. It is what the Christian life is all about and we know very little about it.
I can get up in the morning, and go about my day doing everything right. I can love my wife and daughter, get my work done, be loving and helping towards my neighbors, go to church and do a myriad of other right Christian duties and completely miss out on walking with the Lord that day. I think most Christians realize this on some level or another. Then there is another day when I am walking with him and it doesn’t really matter what else I do, because I’m walking with my Lord and knowing Him. I’m content, not because of what I’m doing but because of who I’m with. I end up doing all the same things but I’m doing them as one who is walking with God. Externally, the two days often look very similar, but internally, they feel and are very different. We as Christians need to be striving less after the law and more after God.
If we do this, we will find the law, but if we search for God through the law, both are so often denied us.
For example, one of the secrets of the Christian life is contentment. And we try to put on this contentment like a garment and wear it around as is our duty to do. But this is wrong and does not lead to Godliness. Instead of a self built contentment, put on God. Learn to NOT be content unless you are wearing Him like a robe and then you will find contentment in feast and in famine. Is it not this way with all of our duties? Is there any one Christian duty we can just do on our own? Or is every duty best accomplished by striving after God and beholding Him, and as we do so, we are transformed from one stage of glory to the next.
We sing a line in a song “when strivings cease” and I think it appropriate. The majority of our strivings are wrong. We strive after holiness in the workings of the law, we strive after possessions and security and happiness in them. We strive after respect. We strive with our brothers. We strive against man. We need only strive after God! All other striving is vanity. Furthermore, our striving after God is almost more of a giving up than a striving. The soul striving after God finally says to itself, “enough!” if God will not comfort me, then I will have no comfort. If God will not save me, then I will have no salvation, for there is salvation in no other. There is nothing I can do to recommend myself to God, no service that He has need of that I can perform. In all of my experience, it is in that moment of giving up my soul to God that I unexpectedly find Him.
Now is any of this true? Can it be backed up with Scripture? It can certainly be backed up by great Christian men’s experience but that matters very little compared with God’s word.
1 Cor. 10:31 Phi. 2:12 John 15:5
We are to be grafted into the vine. Unless we our violently and wholly wrought to the vine, the sap will not flow from it to us. And without that sap we can do no good. We can in no way be righteous or holy. Our first duty therefore is to make that connection secure. That is how we work out our salvation is it not? I would like to hear another theory as to how we can work out salvation without this. We have much more hope outside of God and His power than we ought.
Refuse … REFUSE I SAY … to live one moment without the presence of God. Seek him … SEEK HIM. So often I find myself thinking that I don’t feel God’s presence right now, but I will finish my present engagement and then seek him. And before I know it, it is the end of the day and I have lived a day foreign to the presence of God. Oh may I never live such a day again, may I never live one such moment as to be separated in my heart from my Abba Father. What is worse, those days can turn into weeks, months, and years. Many of us know from personal experience what it is to be called back to communion with God after such a prolonged absence. Be afraid of this withdrawal and live so that it may never happen. Be at peace with him all your days by being in communion with his presence always. Let us never say, this one thing is worth a separation from his presence. No sin, no activity, no person, yea such holy activity as reading the Word of God and prayer are not worthy of themselves without this application of His presence in them, by them, and for them. Nothing is worth having without him, nothing is worth doing without him (Psa. 73:25).