Recently God showed me a glimpse into His wounded heart. While in prayer for the church, a picture of His bloodied Son nailed to the cross filled my mind. Then I saw the curtain torn that had separated man from God’s presence.
And I began to weep, because I realized how few actually enter in.
Beloved, Jesus endured incredible suffering for one singular purpose: to allow us the privilege of drawing near to the Father. Yet when He invites those of us who bear His Name to meet with Him in secret, we recoil. We act as though it’s a great hardship—a sacrifice—to give Him the time.
I felt the pain in His heart, dear one.
Our heavenly Father has only ever wanted us close. Yet time after time, we choose distance. We call it relationship, but it isn’t one. We hardly know Him. And yet this primary desire burns within God’s heart. He longs to be known.
For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. Hosea 6:6
Today I’d like to share an excerpt from a recent article by Francis Chan. May it stir your heart to enter the only place you’ll find true heavenly power.
The Greatest Thing You Could Do Today
Imagine walking up a mountain alone. But it’s no ordinary mountain. The ground beneath you is shaking, and the entire mountain is covered in smoke. At its peak is a thick cloud with lightning and thunder. God descends onto the mountain in fire, and each time you speak to him, he responds in thunder. This is what Moses experienced in Exodus 19.
Now compare that experience to your last time in prayer.
Distracted, obligatory, ordinary — I doubt any such words came across Moses’s mind as he ascended the mountain. But some three thousand years later, we rarely marvel that God permits imperfect humans into his presence.
How did the shocking become so ordinary to us? Is it even possible for our experiences with God to be that fascinating?
Going Up the Mountain
A mentor of mine lives in India. Last year, he called me on the phone crying, distraught over the state of the church in America. “It seems like the people in America would be content to take a selfie with Moses. Don’t they know they can go up the mountain themselves? Why don’t they want to go up the mountain?”
When was the last time you enjoyed meaningful time alone with God? Time so good that you didn’t want to leave. It was just you, reading God’s words, in his holy presence…Has relying on books and sermons about Jesus actually kept people from interacting with him directly? Click To Tweet
We often spend a lot of time and effort gathering believers together. We’ve become experts at gathering Christians around great bands, speakers, and events. Where we have failed is in teaching believers how to be alone with God. When is the last time you heard someone rave about their time alone with Jesus in his word? Gathering believers who don’t spend time alone with God can be a dangerous thing.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes in Life Together:
Whoever cannot be alone should beware of community. Such people will only do harm to themselves and to the community. Alone you stood before God when God called you. Alone you had to obey God’s voice. Alone you had to take up your cross, struggle, and pray, and alone you will die and give an account to God. You cannot avoid yourself, for it is precisely God who has called you out. If you do not want to be alone, you are rejecting Christ’s call to you, and you can have no part in the community of those who are called.
The word community is thrown around quite a bit in Christian circles today. But our gatherings can be toxic if we do not spend time alone with God. I’ve been in many groups where people share their insights. The problem is not only that our insights are not as profound as we think they are, but that we’re so eager to share thoughts originating in our own minds, when we have a God who says,
My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8–9)
I want to know the thoughts of God. I want to gather with people who have been reading God’s words, people who have prayed and interacted with him. I want to fellowship with those who fellowship with God. I couldn’t care less if you have a doctorate in theology or sixty years of life experience. I would rather talk with a fifteen-year-old who has been in the presence of God.
To read this article in its entirety visit DesiringGod.org.