Experiencing God

The Bible says, in Romans†3:10-11: "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God". It also tells us: "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him. (John†6:44). These two verses emphasize that God always takes the initiative in forming a relationship with us. Man does not seek out God; God seeks man.

All the wonderful Bible stories we all know and love are not about the people mentioned in them. They are stories about God. They teach us how God works. The focus should always be on God, not man. The essence of sin is shifting the focus from God to self. We must focus our lives on Godís plans and purposes, not our own.

To know and do the will of God, we must focus on God, not our own plans. As we said before, we cannot decide what we are going to do for God, and then ask Him to help us accomplish it; if we do, the focus is then on US, and what WE want, rather than on God, and His will. The pattern shown in Scripture is that we first submit ourselves to God, and then either:

  1. Wait until He shows us what He is about to do; or,
  2. Watch to see what He is already doing, and join Him.

When are we ever going to realize that it is always best to do things Godís way, rather than our own? When we make plans and carry them out, we only get out of them what WE can do. We will never experience the power of God in our lives until we become a part of Godís plan, and let Him do what only He can do. Understanding what God is about to do, or is already doing, is far more important than telling God what I want to do for Him.

When we fail to submit ourselves fully to God, the Bible says He withdraws from us, and leaves us to follow our own self-centered plans, usually with disastrous results! (See Psalm 81:12, and Romans 1:28) We are His servants, and need to adjust our lives to Him, so that He can do what He plans through us. However, it is important that we know what God is about to do. Otherwise, our plans might be totally irrelevant.

When God spoke to the prophets in Scriptures, he had a two-fold message. The first part of the message was always a call to repentance; a call for the people to return to God. If the people failed to respond, there was a second part to the message: a warning that judgment was near. Godís word to the prophets was basically this: "Tell the people what I have done, what I am doing right now, and what I am going to do. Then call them to respond." The people would then respond with either disbelief, or with faith and obedience.

These are the very same choices we have today. Whenever God speaks, we face an immediate crisis of belief, and it requires faith and action. We have to make adjustments so that God can accomplish His purpose through us. If we do not, we are also facing Godís judgment.

We should not give God a list of reasons why He has chosen the wrong person, or why the timing is not right, or why we cannot obey Him. We have to learn to see ourselves through Godís perspective. He knows WE cannot do it. But He wants us to let HIM work through us. Do you see what the problem is, when we think we cannot do the task God has set before us? Once again, our focus is on ourselves, rather than on God. Philipians 2:13 tells us, "It is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose." It is God we need to focus on. He can do what He wants done. You've probably heard the saying: "Don't tell God how big your storm is; tell your storm how big your God is!"

Somehow, we must re-orient our lives to God and His will and His purpose; we must learn to see things from his perspective. We must allow Him to develop His character in us, and let Him reveal His thoughts to us, for His thoughts are vastly different from ours. He tells us that quite clearly in Isaiah 55:8. We need to get our hearts in such a state that we have no will of our own in regard to any choice before us. Then we can earnestly seek Godís will, and not be led astray by our own desires, which are always faulty.

In the Old Testament, God spoke in many different ways. Then He spoke through His Son, Jesus. (Heb. 1:1) Now, he speaks through the Holy Spirit. (John 14:26; John 16:13-14) God has not changed; He still speaks to His people. The Bible tells us if we cannot hear what God says, it is because we do not belong to Him. (John 8:47) If we have trouble hearing God speak, we are in trouble at the very heart of our Christian relationship.

Sometimes we ask God for a sign of some kind, so that we will know that He has spoken. That is often an indication of our own unbelief. Or we want to somehow use the Scriptures for confirmation, like some kind of formula. The key to hearing God speak is not found in some formula or sign; it comes from developing an intimate, loving relationship with Him. God does not want you to rely on any formula or sign; He wants us to rely on Him alone.

When God speaks to us, he has a purpose. We donít have to know all the details in order to obey, and we don't need to understand His reasons; in fact, we cannot always understand His reasons. The Bible says: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD." (Isa.†55:8) We don't need to understand; we can simply rest assured that He has a purpose for speaking to us. It is enough to know that He has spoken.

The moment He speaks is when He wants us to respond. He doesnít want us to think about it for a while, or try to figure out why He would have spoken to us. He doesnít want us to wait until we think we know the reasons, or to wait until we think it is His timing. His timing is when He speaks! Human reasoning will never give us Godís perspective, no matter how long we think about things.

Even though we need to respond immediately when God speaks, it sometimes takes time for us to be ready to fulfill His plan. How long did it take before God had Abram prepared to be a father of a great nation? It was 25 years before Godís purpose was fulfilled in Abramís life. How long was it between the time David was anointed to be king, and the time he finally became King? It takes time for God to prepare us for His purpose and develop His character in us. We live in a very "instant"society. We want what we want, when we want it. We donít want to spend the time to allow God to develop our character.

Is it only for our own sake that God takes time to develop our character? No, it isnít. It is also for those around us. He had to develop Abramís character, because as the father goes, the family will go. He had to develop Davidís character, because as the King goes, the country will go. He has to develop our character for the same reason: to have influence on the lives of those He wants to reach through us.

Often, we say we want to serve God, but in reality, we want to do it our own way, rather than His. We want to tell God what weíre going to do for Him, rather that let Him tell us what He wants to do. We tend to neglect anything that interferes with our own plans. That is often why we cannot hear God speak to us. We donít want to make the necessary adjustments to our lives. We donít hear because we choose not to hear.

God has a right to interrupt our lives and change our plans. When we accepted Him as Lord, we gave Him the right to control our lives, and to help Himself to our time, our thoughts, and our plans. The smaller tasks He gives us are to build our character, so that we will be prepared for the larger tasks. If we cannot be faithful in a few little things, God will never give us a larger assignment.


This page is a summary of some of the teachings in the book "Experiencing God" by Henry T. Blackaby and Claude V. King. The book is available from your local Christian bookstore, or contact Lifeway Press, 127 Ninth Avenue North, Nashville, Tennessee, 37234.

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