Every Christian, every person who has chosen to follow Christ and call himself or herself by His name, comes, in the course of life, to times that demand that they go deep into God. For instance, a time of deep, unmet material needs can force us to seek Him. Perhaps a battle with sickness, either in one's own body or in someone close and important to us, can become an imperative that forces us to go deep into our relationship with the Lord as we seek resolution. Then there are times when we find ourselves attacked by our enemy the devil. When we are under spiritual attack, victory can only be found when we go deep into God. It is unavoidable that such times will come our way. Each and every Christian in this world experiences challenges that force us to seek our Lord. Jesus put it this way: "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world (John 16:33)"
So, how does one "go deep into God"? That phrase brings up images in my mind of medieval monks sequestering themselves in tiny, stone cells, engaging in endless prayers on calloused knees. That sounds really religious to me and we all spend time doing similar religious things thinking they will make us more likely to be heard by God. Unfortunately, most of that kind of religious activity is empty, ineffective, and utterly fails us as we search for God.
Let me ask it again. How does one go deep into God? For that matter, what does that phrase even mean? I recall the first time God challenged me in this way. I was approaching high school graduation, still in my teens, and my habit was to spend time reading my Bible every morning. I was reading the stories about Elisha and had started reading the account, in 2 Kings 6, where the king of Syria had surrounded the Israeli city where Elisha was staying. He wanted to capture Elisha. Elisha's servant saw the army surrounding the city and was fearful. Elisha had no concerns about the situation at all and prayed that God would show his young servant what was really happening. The young man's spiritual eyes were opened and he saw a vast army of God's warrior angels covering the land. You can turn to the reference and read the whole story for yourself, but what impacted me was that Elisha lived his life walking in two worlds. He saw that heavenly army just as clearly as he saw the people walking down the street. He lived his life consciously aware of the spiritual realities around him. At that moment when I saw Elisha's two-world walk, when I realized that such a walk was possible for any of His children, including myself, the Holy Spirit put His hand on me and called me to lose myself in Him. He wanted me to go deeper. He was calling me to "lose my life" and by doing so "find it". Here's a full quote of those words that Jesus spoke when He was calling his disciples to make that same choice: "For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will find it (Matthew 16:25)." When we come to times of crisis, the real solution is to lose ourselves in Him. The real solution is to "go deeper". When we do that, as the old hymn says,
...the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
in the light of His glory and grace.
The Lord has given us tools to aid us as we seek Him so keep your eyes open for my next post.