If I shut my eyes for just a moment, I can see myself back at that one moment 25 years ago. It was the fall of 1996, my freshman year of college. I was sitting at a small desk in my dorm room. The previous evening, the whole trajectory of my life had changed. I had chosen to submit my life entirely to Jesus Christ. In that moment of submission, I knew I was called to preach the gospel to the nations, bringing a message of revival and reformation.
I had submitted my life to God, but what was the next step? I wanted to know God! I did not just want to know about God or what others had said about God; I wanted to know God intimately! That began the greatest journey of my life. It was and is the journey to knowing God.
The Godhead designed humanity for eternal fellowship. A life lived outside of deep ongoing fellowship with God is fundamentally dysfunctional. Here are four simple keys that give some basic understanding to the dynamic eternal relationship God created humanity to experience!
1. God gives all of humanity the power to know Him. Everything God requires of humanity, He has first given to us as a gift. God has empowered all of humanity with the ability to not only surrender to Him for entrance into the kingdom but with the power to seek with all our heart, soul and mind. We have been empowered to know God, and the ability to choose this eternal relationship originates with God (see Mark 11: 22, John 3:27, Rom. 11:36).
2. Humanity has been given the power to choose. Perhaps one of the most remarkable powers on the earth today is the power of choice God has given to humanity. The Godhead is so committed to the power of choice He has given humanity that He has allowed the world to be defined by Adam and Eve's choices. We have been given the ability to surrender to God to enter the kingdom. Once we are born-again, we have the power daily to choose fellowship with God. God is not a respecter of persons. However, He is a respecter of choice and faith. We have the divine privilege of actually choosing the extent to which we will fellowship with God (see Deut. 30:19-20, Prov. 18:21, John 1:12).
3. God has promised to respond to those who seek Him. We have been given a guarantee that when we choose to draw near to God, He will draw near to us. We see this guarantee James expressed in the life of Moses in Exodus 3. Moses chooses to observe intently the bush that was burning but not consumed. When Moses decides to turn to see the bush, God decides to speak to him.
How do we choose to seek God? It's quite simple. We make a quality decision to have intentional time pursuing God each day through worship, Bible reading, journaling or simple, quiet meditation. However, our life of fellowship can be much more than that. We can pray in the Spirit as we drive in our cars or meditate on the Word of God as we wait for a child's school to be dismissed. Each of us is uniquely different. While each of us has been created for fellowship with God, we all relate to God differently. What is essential is each of us develop our life of fellowship with God (see Ex. 3, John 4:23-34, James 4:8).
4. Our choice to hunger for God gives us an understanding of the kingdom of God. Our understanding of the kingdom of God is not defined simply by being born-again. It is our desire to know God and God's ways that give us insight and allow us to grow in knowledge. While prayer and fellowship with God are vital aspects of our relationship with God, it is not until the disciples ask Jesus for instruction on the subject that He gives them understanding. When we choose a lifestyle of fellowship, we grow in the knowledge of God, bear fruit in God and mature as God intends (see Luke 11:1-4, Matt. 5:6, Matt. 13:11).
In this season, God is defining His purposes through His friends. His friends are those who choose friendship with Him as the highest priority of their lives. My prayer is that in your life you would choose to live as a friend of God and come to know Him as never before.