What draws you closer to God? I was working on a few chores around my place this past weekend and as I was working, my mind was dwelling on a difficult situation from the past. I had heard a comment earlier that day that reminded me of a very difficult leadership situation that I had dealt with some years ago. It was a great season of learning and faith development and as usual for me, the catalyst for that growth had been fear. As my mind reflected back on this time it dawned on me how often it takes fear to move me closer to the Lord. Frankly, I want something better. How about you?
In 2 Timothy 1:7 we read
…“for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (ESV)
Said more simply, the spirit that God gives us doesn’t make us afraid. Rather, this spirit convinces us of the power that we have in and through him, confirms and demonstrates his love for us, and enables us to control ourselves. His Spirit does not reduce us in any way but rather builds us up.
God’s desire IS that we would be in close relationship with him, and I believe that he WILL allow fear to drive us into him, but that isn’t his best plan, just the one that we leave him with after we’ve been too busy for his kindness, gentleness, and the still small voice that invites us into his presence. It’s as we disassociate with the Holy Spirit’s voice and the Word that our merciful Father, who knows we are ill equipped to face this world without his presence, allows circumstances or thoughts to cause us fear and thereby moves us close to him once again.
Think about how full the churches were immediately following September 11, 2001. People were afraid and turned to God for solace and hope. Wouldn’t it be much better if through devotion and discipline we kept ourselves closely attuned with the Holy Spirit’s voice and in regular times of reverence and worship our faith grew and grew. That love and revelation would be the context of our growth rather than fear.
Today, I’m committed to the pursuit of His presence motivated not by fear, but by a genuine desire to know him more fully and to walk from sunrise to sunset with a profound sense of his presence.