Drawing Close to God
The ultimate choice we have to make is between following God and following self. Following God leads to eternal life and following self leads to death. To be in unity with God, we have to turn from our self-will (true repentance) and follow God’s will. In following God we seek to do only His will, just as Jesus did. John 5:30 But we don’t know God’s will unless we seek to know – thus why God tells us to seek and live. Amos 5:4 When following self we do what we think is good and right – whatever it is.
To learn about God through the Bible a similar approach must be taken in order to draw near to God in truth and spirit – we have to deny self.
God tells us to believe in Him. The Bible with the instruction of the Holy Spirit is a gateway to deeply knowing God so we can believe in Him as He is. This venue isn’t everyone’s; for we are all unique. But it is a part of my journey, and for you who feel called to this thought-provoking venue will resonate with my journey.
Reading the Bible isn’t about learning “techniques of good living” to then fulfill our own purposes and desires. We have to let go of all our self-will in coming to God in order to really know God and for Him to be our Lord.
There are three areas of denying our self-will when abiding in the Bible in order to learn about God, thus draw near in truth and Spirit.
The first area is in regards to making time to seek God. It’s putting abiding in the Bible to be taught by the Holy Spirit as the priority. Consider all the times you’ve put something above spending time with God, when God has told you to seek Him first. Matthew 6:33 Times you choose to sleep in, attend to another person, do a task, or get consumed in work. At those times, YOU are deciding what is more important versus doing what GOD has told you to do – love Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, to put Him first, and to diligently seek Him. This choice to do what you want is following your self-will. When you continue this pattern, deep down you think you know better, otherwise you would do what God says. So who’s will is dominating in you?
The second area is who you focus on when you do abide in the Bible. To get to know God through the Bible, you have to set your needs, wants, and expectations aside and focus on God. If you read the Bible with the mindset and motive that is focused on you, then you aren’t denying self, you are putting self first. You are putting your self-will and what you think the time in the Bible should be about above seeking to know God. Instead of saying, God, what do you want to teach me? What do you want me to know about you? It’s always about fixing you, searching for a certain answer, or preparing for a Bible study. Whose will is in control at this point?
If your interactions with your spouse were always about you, you would learn very little about her/him. There would be no true intimacy or bond. You would do what you thought that person wanted, but you really wouldn’t have a clue. You haven’t sought to know him/her intimately because every interaction has been about you. Therefore you wouldn’t have a real relationship, certainly not a healthy one. With God it’s the same. We have to realize we don’t know God unless we individually seek to know Him. Until we do we have a false image of Him, which means we have a false relationship. It’s necessary to seek Him while putting ourselves aside to know Him as He is. Then we’ll start to develop a real relationship.
The third area has to do with conforming the Bible to your beliefs versus the Bible molding your beliefs. It’s realizing that you have filters and ways of viewing God and the Bible that are wrong. That you hold ideas that you think are “truth” but aren’t. When you come to learn of God, you have come with a humble heart which is willing to receive and hear anything God may teach you instead of trying to fit the Bible to your paradigms. If you think you already know, you don’t really seek. You conform what you read and hear to what you already believe. If you think you already know then who are you following when you abide in the Bible?
In order to know God through the Bible, there is a choice to make, God or self. It’s a prelude to the ultimate choice of choosing Him in everyway over our self-will.
The way to life is choosing God. The only way for the Bible to be unsealed to you so you can draw near to God in truth and spirit is to choose God in these areas. If you don’t deny self when coming to the Bible to be taught by the Holy Spirit, then you are reading for your own purposes and goals based on what you think is good. Your will is in control. This is how the Pharisees could know the scriptures, but be totally off. They used them to fulfill what they determined was right and good.
God has to be first. He is Lord. He can’t be second.
One side note, letting go of self-will isn’t about losing your identity. It’s coming to the understanding that God’s will is good and leads to true life and therefore that is what you want to do. If you were walking through a dense forest and you had a guide with you who knew the best and safest way to get through it, what would you do? You would follow him. Same with God. God knows the path to life. We walk with Him when our will is submitted to Him because then we are walking in His footsteps. The journey leads us to what we’ve always truly and deeply desired, because God is that good.
Tomorrow when you sit down to learn about God through the Bible consider these three areas. Ask the Spirit to examine your heart; are you really making this about God and seeking Him or about you?