Pursuing Intimacy with God: Lifes #1 Priority Randy Madison

ISBN: 9781936417070

Published: December 14th 2010

Paperback

239 pages


Description

Pursuing Intimacy with God: Lifes #1 Priority  by  Randy Madison

Pursuing Intimacy with God: Lifes #1 Priority by Randy Madison
December 14th 2010 | Paperback | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, AUDIO, mp3, ZIP | 239 pages | ISBN: 9781936417070 | 8.65 Mb

This book is about pursuing life?s priorities. It is the thesis of the book that life?s first and fundamental priority is the ardent pursuit of a personal intimate vital relationship with God. Often we pursue relationships, things and experiences in life that cannot satisfy the soul because the human soul was designed to find its ultimate satisfaction in the Creator not the things that He created.

Friar and author Simon Tugwell, in his book The Beatitudes, observed, It is the desire for God which is the most fundamental appetite of all, and it is an appetite we can never eliminate. We may seek to disown it, but it will not go away.

If we deny that it is there, we shall in fact only divert it to some other object or range of objects. And that will mean that we invest some creature or creatures with the full burden of our need for God, a burden which no creature can carry. In the words of Augustine, Thou hast created us for Thyself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee. There is a God shaped vacuum in every human soul that only God can fully satisfy. Before we begin, it is important to make perfectly clear that no one can pursue God and develop a relationship with Him unless God has first pursued them.

We do not find God, He finds us! We do not and cannot acquire a relationship with the Creator by the magnitude of our efforts or the passion of our pursuit. The Scripture makes it clear that we do not and did not first love God. He first loved us. In 1 John 4:10, the Apostle John tells us, In this is love, not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. The central message of the Scripture is that the fallen human race is in bondage to sin and in rebellion in our relationship with God.

The history of the human experience is one of running from God, rather than pursuing a relationship with our Creator. Romans 5:8 says, But God shows (demonstrates) His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. God?s pursuit of us, by sending His Son to die for our sin, is what enables us to return to God and establish a new personal relationship with Him.

It is only when we establish this new relationship by the acceptance of His free gift of salvation that we can truly begin to pursue intimacy with the One who made us. This gift of reconciliation and salvation is given by grace alone and received by faith alone (2 Corinthians 5:17-21- Ephesians 2:8, 9).

Salvation is the story of God drawing and calling us to Himself by grace. Sanctification is the story of God calling and drawing us into a deeper relationship with Himself by grace. The pursuit of God is a life-long process enabled only by His grace. Grace is the story of Goddoing for us, in Christ, what we could not and cannot do for ourselves.

Left to ourselves we do not and will not pursue God despite our need for Him. His prevenient grace and the operation of His Spirit bring us to Christ and open the door for the pursuit of intimacy with the One that we so desperately need. John 6:44 says, No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. Therefore, the pursuit of God is only made possible by God?s pursuit of us.

Pursuing intimacy with God is an enterprise under-girded by grace. It is the incredible story of the pursued becoming the pursuers of the One who loved them and died for them! A. W. Tozer described this process of being pursued and pursuing far better than I can in the first chapter of his classic book, The Pursuit Of God: Before a sinful man can think a right thought of God, there must be a work of enlightenment done within him- imperfect it may be, but a true work nonetheless, and the secret of all desiring and seeking and praying which may follow.

We pursue God because, and only because, He has first put an urge within us that spurs us to the pursuit . . . it is by this prevenient drawing (John 6:44) that God takes from us every vestige of credit for the act of coming. The impulse to pursue God originates with God, but the outworking of that impulse is our following hard after Him- and all the time we are pursuing Him we are already in His hand: Thy right hand upholdeth me.

In this divine upholding and human following there is no contradiction. All is of God, for as von Hugel teaches, God is always previous. In practice, however, (that is where God?s previous work meets man?s response) man must pursue God. On our part there must be positive reciprocation if this secret drawing of God is to eventuate in identifiable experience of the Divine. In the warm language of personal feeling this is stated in the Forty-second Psalm: As the hart panteth after the waterbrooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God.

My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God This is deep calling unto deep, and the longing heart will understand it. C. S. Lewis aptly stated, Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water.

If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably, earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. Lewis was speaking specifically of a longing for eternity or heaven with this thought. However, a longing for the eternal certainly embraces a longing for the Eternal One.

Life is a made up of a series of experiences, which God often uses to wean us from our attachment to the things of this life and draw us to Himself, both before and after we come to Christ. The tools He uses- His means and methods of ridding us of the desire for things that substitute for God are as varied as the seasons of life. The journey God takes on to rid us of our desire for other things so that we desire the One thing that truly satisfies is a life long process.

It is the study of this journey and process that is the focus of the pages before you. As you read and study the pages of this book, my prayer is, in the words of Tozer, that God by His supernatural grace, will put an urge within you that spurs you to the pursuit of Him. May God, by the use of these words and this study, forever change you. I pray that you will passionately desire to know Him more deeply- the One who pursued you and saved you so that you would pursue Him. May the pursuit begin! And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father [have personal knowledge of Him, be acquainted with, and understand Him- appreciate, heed, and cherish Him] and serve Him with a blameless heart and a willing mind.

For the Lord searches all hearts and minds and understands all the wanderings of the thoughts. If you seek Him [inquiring for and of Him and requiring Him as your first and vital necessity] you will find Him (1 Chronicles 28:9, Amplified Bible)



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