Desire is at the Heart of Encounter. What is the difference between the Christian who seems to continuously experience God and the one who only talks about Him? The difference is desire. Desire is at the heart of almost every encounter with God. Without desire, rarely will somebody experience God and the power of His Spirit and go deeper in understanding of Him. For those who want to go from “glory to glory” will only do so by experiencing Him through the Holy Spirit (2Cor 3:18). Such experiences come through pressing into the Spirit of God who is in us.
We were created to have an ongoing encounter with our God – to hear His voice (Jn 10:27) and to experience Him daily (Jn 17:3, know = know by experience in the Greek term gnosko), and to see His miraculous movement in this world. Do not buy into the lie that you cannot experience God now. You cannot have a relationship with somebody you have never experienced, so why would we say we can have one with God and not experience Him? There are 134 passages in the Old Testament that show how somebody comes to “know” God. In all but one passage we learn that one comes to know God through experiencing His powerful move by the Spirit via miracles, signs, and wonders. So, the Israelites came to know God and trust Him through His actions accomplished by His Spirit. The same is for the New Testament Christian – we are to know and experience Him via the Holy Spirit in our lives. As the scripture says, “the Lord is the Spirit” (2Cor 3:17). To have a head full of facts is way different than having the facts and experiencing their truth in a literal way. So how can that come about? The key is desire!
Now each of us will experience God in different ways. Some may have extravagant experiences while the experience of God in others may be very quiet and contained. Paul wrote in 2Cor 12:6, “there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.” Activities is the Greek word “phoneros” which means “what is perceived by the senses.” Thus, there are a variety of “what can be perceived by the senses” via the Spirit but the same God empowers them all in everyone. So, your experience will be different than others so don’t seek their experience, seek yours! One may recognize the Spirit’s presence more as He reveals Himself in scripture, while others may recognize the Spirit’s presence more in worship. Some may have drastic encounters and fall into trances, while others may have dreams. God will show Himself differently in each person’s life so I say again, seek your experience, not the experience of others.
I will leave this blog with one last thought. Check out what Jesus said:
“And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” – Luke 11:9-13.
Every wonder why Jesus mentioned that the Father would give the Spirit to those who ask? He is letting us know that if we want to experience God, we need only ask. Asking comes from desire. One of the key understandings we get from reading the New Testament is that the Holy Spirit is how we know and experience God today and right now. Jesus, trying to point the people to God, said “if you do not believe me, believe the works” because they point to the Father (Jn 10:38). The works of God were brought through the Spirit of God and they pointed to God. Thus, Jesus was essentially saying “the miracles are revealing God to you!”
We are all to have our own experience with God and that is why Jesus said it was better for Him to go to heaven so that He could send the Spirit. God, via the Holy Spirit, lives in us and reveals God to us. So, when we experience the Holy Spirit, we are experiencing God who is unveiling the mystery of God to us. The New Covenant promise was to “put my spirit within you” and “they shall all know me, from the least of the them to the greatest” (Ezek 36:26, Jere 31:33-34). Therefore, as New Covenant believers our greatest privilege is to know God personally, intimately, and continuously through the Holy Spirit. In the above verses Jesus said if we ask we will receive. If we knock it will be opened. If we seek we will find. The key to experiencing God is desire that is activated upon. If you want to experience God powerfully, you must ask, seek, knock and seek out experiences with Him. I fear too many Christians are idle in their walks when instead they should be at full throttle pursing God with all they have. Remember, if you seek Him and ask for more of Him to be revealed to you, your Heavenly Father will not give you something bad, instead He will give you the Spirit, which is His presence.
In Christ’s Love, Pastor Bill