4/18/21 The Only Way to Know God.
We know that the Lord Jesus will come for us, His true Church, at any moment but when you suddenly stand before Him... will you know Him intimately or will He be somewhat a stranger to you? To Jeremiah, God said: 'Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the Lord,' Jeremiah 29:12 He would only be found by the one who sought Him with all their heart.
What does that even mean, to seek God with your whole heart? Most obviously, it means that we are not covering over sin in our heart, holding on to some sin that so easily entangles us:
'Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.' Isaiah 59:1
But it means something even deeper: anything that we cherish and hold in our hearts that is more precious to us than having intimacy with God... something that pulls our attention away from God: some favorite idolatry... perhaps a secret attraction to some cherished sin or other... a thing that draws our thoughts and intentions away from God and 'things above.' Maybe it's a certain kind of book or movie or TV or medication or wicked websites or things we did before we were saved: lying, gambling, cursing, cheating... but every sin, eventually, has a way of bubbling up to the surface and displaying itself for what it, and we, really are:
'...you have sinned against the Lord; and be sure your sin will find you out.' Numbers 32:23
'... You have set our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your countenance.' Psalm 90:8
Inside our hearts are many little rooms and cubby holes into which we insert the many different things we hold dear. When we come to God in prayer, we can only seek Him and find Him when we come with all the many doors of those rooms and cubby holes wide open to the light of His inspection. If we keep any door, at all, closed and reserved only for our engagement, He will hide His face from us, He will not fellowship with sin, deception or darkness. 'But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.'
When we hold back those secret places in our hearts, they act as a black light, a search light shining out rays of darkness which every demon anywhere near us can clearly see and it acts as an invitation to them to come to us, to come to our homes, to come to those we love... they act as 'demon bait,' smelly, sticky demon bait.
Only when we rid ourselves of those things can we know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death... only when we crucify our own flesh and die to those things... being conformed to His death. (Philippians 3)
See this picture: every unsaved person, as he is trudging along on his race from birth to physical death, or the Rapture, is a shadow of darkness living within a heavy layer of skin that is so cumbersome, even his skin weighs him down. His feet are covered with weighty boots of his favorite sin, pornography. His trousers, which feel like 50 pounds are the result of another favored sin, alcohol. His belt, which is far too tight, causes him to feel as if he is being cut in two, the result of sorcery, drugs. He wears a shirt which feels like it was woven from lead thread by another beloved sin, anger. His tunic and vest are both so heavy that he never removes them so that he will never have to re-lift them, also from more cherished sins, enmity and strife. He wears a great coat that is so heavy, he can barely move, rebelliousness, and yet he trudges on toward his death. On his head he wears a hat that is so heavy, it droops to below his shoulders: another sin he believes is hidden, hatred and unforgiveness. On his hands, his heavy gloves completely impair any dexterity in his hands, some of his most difficult sins, jealousy and envy.
This is the man who wanders through darkness, believing he is headed toward some goal when, in fact, he is simply plodding along from one opportunity to sin to the next, always planning his next recreation in sin; that is his entire life story.
One day, God reveals Himself to the man and calls him to Himself. The man falls to his knees in repentance and faith and is suddenly born again. Now, instead of a darkened shadow, he has become a child of light; his inner man glows with the Glory of God. Now he recognizes a goal that has been set before him; now, his deepest desire is to know the One Who so graciously transformed him from darkness to light but he still wears all the heavy, heavy outer wear of his life of sin. God never promised to remove those things from him but, rather, commanded him to remove them, himself: 'Walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you've been called; Walk worthy of the Lord; Set your mind on things above, not on things of the Earth!'
As he begins his new journey he begins to understand, instinctively, that the only real satisfaction in this life that he could ever know is to, in fact, learn to know God intimately but to do so, he must seek Him Who promised to be found by him if he would seek Him with all his heart if he would bring his whole heart to God.
He begins his journey, weighed down with all his sin but now, at least, he has God's Holy Spirit living within him to strengthen and enable him to extricate himself from those sins, one by one. He begins to recognize the weight of his various garments how they are all making it impossible to know God, to come to God with his whole heart because it is his heart that is weighed down with all these dark, ugly things.
He sees that the first things he must discard are his jealousy and envy; they have kept him ensnared for all his life. Only when he removes them will his hands be free to begin removing so many other sins. As he just begins to be able to move more freely, he sees that he can remove his heavy hat of hatred and unforgiveness that so fills his mind. Now, as he begins to think more clearly, he understands that the next, most difficult, sin to abandon will be his overcoat of rebelliousness which is now, to him, so obviously the fruit of his envy, jealousy and hatred. As he picks up speed, he's never known such freedom and yet, he recognizes that there are still great weights encumbering him. 'Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith...' Hebrews 12:1
With his rebelliousness confessed and forsaken, he can now remove his tunic and vest of enmity and strife; as he runs faster, with the wind in his hair, he is able to begin to throw off his heavy shirt of anger. Compared to what his life used to feel like, he feels lighter than air but now, God is able to dig deeply into his soul and encourage him to leave the things which really have bound him from his youth: his belt and his trousers of alcohol and sorcery, which is drugs, and finally God is able to dig to the deepest reaches of his heart and reveal the stain of his heavy, heavy boots of pornography. All of those different sins had been kept in the different little closed compartments of his heart.
Now he is able to come to God with his whole heart, opened and laid bare, for which God has waited so long and, as promised, God is revealing Himself to the man; now, instead of sinful things, the man's deepest longing is to know God more deeply and intimately as he daily watches and waits for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, in the Rapture, when the man will finally know as he has been known, to finally be forever in the presence of His Savior Who died and gave Himself for him, Who had always loved him, even while he was a sinner in darkness.
'...that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me:' the thing Paul longs to lay hold of, that for which Jesus Christ laid hold of him, is the Rapture, or death, the moment when Paul's physical body would finally be transformed into a glorious, eternal body, to finally be forever with his Lord.
Do you want to know God? The only way to know God is to come to Him with your whole heart, keeping nothing back from Him. He will come soon; better to know Him intimately now.
'For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.' 2 Chronicles 16:9