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The Encounter with God That Shook Me to the Core of My Being
Here’s why I really stopped shaking my fist in God’s face.
Not a week goes by that I don’t hear from more than one person who’s at the end of their rope. I suppose the reason they get in touch with me is since I’m pretty bold about preaching the name of Jesus, they figure I have some insight about how to get their lives on track.
Truthfully, all I have is what God revealed to me in the Bible, plus a little wisdom he’s allowed me to pick up along the way. But at the end of the day, it’s just God’s Word I have to offer people.
So let me give you the Reader’s Digest version of how to find a way around the obstacles that stand between you and God.
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One place we can uncover the answer is in Psalm 66.
Fear God and Testify
Come and hear, all you who fear God;
let me tell you what he has done for me.
There is no eternal hope for a man who has no fear of God. That’s because, if we are going to find cleansing in him, we must first come to terms with our own limitations. We are finite, with an expiration date. God is not. He is eternal. His infinite and all-powerful nature strikes terror in the hearts of anyone who encounters him. If you do not fear God, you just haven’t met him yet.
But he is also good. Good in ways that we can’t comprehend because we can’t comprehend his majesty and glory. The best we can do is look at the good things he’s done for us and testify to it. And nothing is more good than the good he did when he gave his Son to bear our sins on the cross.
I cried out to him with my mouth;
his praise was on my tongue.
Who cries out to a Heavenly Father for relief when they already feel satisfied and full? Only the hungry need food. Only the thirsty need water. Only the spiritually bankrupt need a Savior.
When we become aware of our broken and sinful spirits, that’s when we are driven to cry out to him for him to come live inside of us and allow us to live with him. Rebelling against the wisdom and authority of this infinite God should shock us to the core of our souls. It is the only thing that will drive us to our knees and cry out to him for mercy. Who needs mercy when they don’t understand that they have a death sentence hanging over their head?
And once we cry out, desperately begging for relief, he washes our wounds and lays his healing hands on our broken spirits. In other words, when we are desperate for him, we’re ready for what he is more than willing to do. He changes us and conforms us to the image of his Son.
It is then that we’re able to praise him. In fact, I’d say that a healed and saved man can’t help but offer up praise for what God has done for him because he realizes that, without the intervention of the Almighty, he would have been doomed.
When Having God’s Ear Is More Important Than Our Sin
If I had cherished sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened;
but God has surely listened
and has heard my prayer.
Mankind cannot enjoy, or even desire, the presence of God if he has sin in his heart that he cherishes more than he does God’s fellowship. When people come to me for guidance, I point them to this truth. I tell them, “You must desire God more than you do your sin.”
The Pathway to God
It is true that no one can pull themselves up by their bootstraps and stop their sinful ways. Only a person who has God’s Holy Spirit living inside them can conquer sin’s control over them.
But if we’re going to enjoy communion with God, it must begin with the truth of this passage of scripture. Gaze at God’s glory, allow yourself to be overwhelmed by him, cry out to him for his presence, and testify to his glory.
Once you begin the process of doing this, you are ready to denounce sin as your master. No one can accurately gaze upon the glory and majesty of God and still desire sin more than they do God. In fact, the more we see him for who he is, the uglier sin becomes to us.
Based on my experience, I never got anything good from shaking my fist in God’s face. But I can promise you this: Once I realized who it was I was in rebellion against, it shook me to to the core of my being, and I fell on the ground begging for mercy.
Do I regret it? Did I give up anything important in this process? Ha! All I lost was an immeasurable load of guilt and shame. Other than that, I lost nothing. In fact, I gained immortality in the trade.
I think I made a pretty good deal.