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in our inner man; desires for love, fascination, and significance or purpose. We have an aching need for the transcendent, that which is holy, that which is divine. This empty vacuum in our souls is a void that we cannot rid ourselves of. It is a part the way in which we were fashioned, and it causes us pain, discomfort, and discontentment with life as we know it. This void is an inherent need for communion with our creator, and nothing else can satisfy our souls but this; without an experiential, relational knowledge of the Lord, we cannot ever be satisfied or complete. How does this yearning manifest itself in the lives of unbelievers? It may be in human relationships, although these are never enough to satisfy this inner ache, hence there is rampant divorce, adultery, and discontentment as people move from one partner to another; always hoping for, but never reaching a true lasting joy and satisfaction. Some seek fulfillment in music and art, yet songs that were once exhilarating and captivating fade into dryness when overplayed and the ache persists. We turn to entertainment, movies, and videogames, but as the picture fades to black we left with awakened desires and realize that our own story lacks the substance of what we see in the movies. The 3D HD experience thrills our senses and speak to our internal yearnings for a time, but leaves us with discontentment and lack. Stories thrill us as we see people give themselves wholeheartedly to a noble cause. Men continue to seek after an ever greater power, wealth, and fame, yet even the celebrities, the richest, and the most
powerful testify to the fact that it is all vanity. All of the above can only temporarily distract and dull us from the pain of the inner void but cannot satisfy us in any lasting way. This persistent ache is so evidentially powerful that many turn such debased things as drugs, alcohol, gross sexual immorality, child pornography, murder/ genocide, child or spouse abuse, exploitation of the weak, false religions, and idolatry. People exploit others in the most vile and horrifying ways to gratify their own cravings; and now the human slave trade is facilitating the rape of millions around the earth day after day and abortion has killed a fourth of our generation because caring for and loving children is inconvenient. One may clearly see how western culture, advertizing, and media awaken the innate desires of the heart, then fill those desires with trash and leave the soul to suffer in the boredom, and futility of life apart from God. The everwidening gap between what people want and what people have will eventually produce masses of people who are raging, lawless, despairing, and utterly depraved. Unfortunately, much of the Church is facing this same fundamental crisis, though it is often expressed differently. Much of the Church is dealing with this same fundamental problem of dissatisfaction as the fundamental longings of the human heart remain unmet and unaddressed. More and more churches are tolerating or even promoting licentiousness and carnality under a banner of relevance and a false view of the grace of God. These concessions with the spirit of the age shows that the western Church does not seem to have an alternative to offer but more of the same bankrupt pleasures that secular society is inundated with. Some have noted the insufficiency of the average Western Christian s experience and offered remedies in new methodologies,
organizational models, and greater tolerance for/ embrace of the pleasures of this age, yet in time we find ourselves faced once again with the insufficiency and lack of true fulfillment, as well as a place of vulnerability to sin and apostasy. All the programs, facilities, technology, and services are without any reality of substance or ability to hold people in wholehearted love for God and satisfaction in Him. This yearning for the infinite will never leave, and without the fulfillment of true relationship with Jesus, most will yield to sin and compromise, filling that void with inferior pursuits and pleasures and defiling themselves. Others try to suppress these desires till they cause the heart to resign in bitterness, or live in un-fulfillment till frustration and rage dominate their inner life. Most through history have ended up in one of those realities, yet there is another option that has been set before us. It is the way that few have found; it is long and hard, yet fulfilling beyond measure. It is glorious loss of our illusion of autonomy, complete abandonment and surrender to a will other than our own, and a complete detachment from the things of the world. The yoke is easy and the burden is light, but getting in that yoke will cost us everything. This path of abandonment and pursuit of Communion with God is what we have been invited into. We have drunk of the spirit of the age and know that it cannot satisfy; we have tried Westernized Christianity and found that we are left wanting. Let us take the path of wisdom and throw ourselves into a journey of communion and living relationship with a transcendent God who is more committed to satisfying our longings than we are, though it is everything that we crave for so deeply. We can enter into the purpose for which we were created; communion with God. While it is important to recognize that deep communion with God is initiated by God and not by us, it is just as critical to understand that we must
posture or position ourselves to receive the gift that is freely given to us. We must come before God on His terms, not our own. This begs the question, how has God defined the means by which we may enter into communion with Him? This question is the focus of the following paragraphs. First, God has defined the fasted (Sermon on the Mount) lifestyle of wholehearted consecration as critical to entering into wholehearted love for Jesus and deep communion with Him. This involves freedom from all pleasures that compete with the pleasure of knowing God, whether sinful or permissible (yet not beneficial). Some may call this an unbalanced lifestyle of asceticism or simplicity, but it truly draws us into the place of experiencing the true joy, pleasure, and comfort of God, rather than a counterfeit which is without any enduring value. It is not that stumbling in certain areas will crush all communion with God, but apart from intentional seeking to obey the word of God and love Jesus to the exclusion of all other loves, deep communion with Jesus will be greatly hindered. If we want to experience more of God, we must set our hearts to give Him more of ourselves (and thus let go of all else that we cling to). He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him. Jn. 14:21 Another way to posture ourselves to experience communion is through contemplation or meditation, which is simply a reflective listening prayer which behold God, His Word, or His works. One may wish to ponder the glory of Father as revealed in a theophany (Rev. 4, Ez. 1), one may wish to gaze into the life of Jesus as revealed in the gospels, or one may behold the mystery of the indwelling Holy Spirit, as He brings union with deity closer than our own skin. This, of course is simply a small introduction to the inexhaustible vastness of the beauty, glory,
character, and attributes of God, which is magnified further still through meditation upon the works of His hands (creation) and his deeds (past, present and future. As we come before God in a posture of prayerful listening, beholding, and gazing, God will begin to reveal Himself to us, and in time we will start to become conformed to the One we behold in an increasingly greater measure. We are made to know God, we were created to love God with all of our heart soul mind and strength, and anything less cannot ever satisfy our souls intrinsic need for the transcendent. A our hearts may be inflamed and exhilarated in the giving and receiving love in the divine romance, we may gaze on beauty that fascinates and thrills our senses beyond the capabilities anything modern entertainment has to offer, we can enter into a destiny of greatness, significance, and eternal impact as we enter into the story of the ages; the redemption of man through the sacrificial love of One who died to win our hearts. In turn, we may give ourselves in total unreserved abandonment to the love of our beautiful King as we partner with Him to bring about his purposes on the earth. How could one ask for anything more? How can one settle for less when the invitation is for all? I implore you, give yourself to the narrow path towards real experiential relationship with your creator, for His love is more delightful than all the pleasures of this age and great will be your reward.
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