Personal and Conscious
Let him who boasts in this, that he understands and knows me. (Jeremiah 9:24)
God is a Person, and in the deep of His mighty nature He thinks, wills, enjoys, feels, loves, desires, and suffers as any other person may. In making Himself known to us He stays by the familiar pattern of personality, He communicates with us through the avenues of our minds, our wills, and our emotions. The continuous and unembarrassed interchange of love and thought between God and the soul of the redeemed man is the throbbing heart of New Testament religion.
This intercourse between God and the soul os know to us in conscious personal awareness. It is personal: that is it does not come through the body of believers, as such, but is known to the individual, and to the body through the individuals who compose it. And it is conscious; that is, it does nor stay belie the threshold of consciousness and work there unknown to the soul (as, for instance, infant baptism is thought by some to do), but comes within the field of awareness where man can “know” it as he knows any other fact of experience.
You and I are in little(our sins excepted) what God is in large. Being made in His image we have within us the capacity to know Him. In our sins we lack only power. The moment the Spirit has quickened us to life in regeneration our whole being senses it’s kinship to God and leaps up in joyous recognition. That is the heavenly birth without which we cannot see the kingdom of God. It is, however, not an end but an inception, for now begins the glorious pursuit, the heart’s happy exploration of the infinite riches of the Godhead.
That is where we begin, I say, but where we stop no man has yet discovered, for there is in the awe full and mysterious depths of the Trinity neither limit nor end.
I’ve often wondered what would bring a person to boring relationship with a God. Yet, I find that many who start the journey with joy eventually lose that delight and passion. I’ve seen individuals have a moving experience with God and in a matter of time appear to have forgotten that encounter and drift into going through the motions. During my work as a chaplain, I met many who had attended and even worked in the church for years, but when that ability ceased, their walk with God ceased. I must confess that in my 46 years as a Christian, I am pursuing a deeper relationship and a closer walk with God more than ever before. I have been often disappointed with churches and Christians but those disappointments have not affected my relationship with God. Perhaps with me, I’m still amazed that the Sovereign God of the Universe would come down and walk with, love and accept a messed up long haired country boy that I can’t get over Him. The more I see God, the more I feel His presence, the more experiences I have with Him, the more I love and passionately pursue Him. For me, it’s never been about church, although I deeply appreciate the church. It’s never been about service, although I totally enjoy serving a God. It’s never been about answered prayer although I’ve seen amazing, miraculous answered prayer. It’s never been about experiences even though God has graciously made many occur in my life. I just met Jesus and found that He’s more than enough to satisfy me. As a matter of fact, I’ve never been able to fully know Him, but the more I know Him the deeper my love for Him grows. O how I wish every believer could know this way. How I wish every prodigal could know the Father’s love and embrace. How I wish that every church attendee could burn with passion for this Savior. Paul the Apostle sums up what I’m trying to proclaim. I don’t know many who has has the experiences and accomplished the work of God as powerful as he. Paul has a unique and powerful conversion. On the way to persecute the Christians, Christ appears to Him in a blinding light and makes Himself known to him. Blinded by that light, his sight is restored through the laying on of hands and then Paul goes to Arabia for a time in the school of Christ. In Corinthians he says, “For I received of the Lord….” In his letters, he tells of being caught up to heaven and given revelations that he can’t even tell. Read his bio in 1 Corinthians 11:16-33 and 12: 1-12. Yet as he pens his last letter, Philippians, he writes these words:
But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
John the Apostle on the Isle of Patmos records these words:
Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.
My prayer for you is that you will know Him more and that we as His people will be consumed with Him.
Dr. John Thompson