“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.”~Hebrews 12:28-29~ (nkj)
When one has the courage, usually born from desperate hunger, to look Jesus full in the face and lock gazes with Him, He purifies our hearts. When He looks into us with His eyes of liquid flame, the truth of eternity is branded on our hearts. As we consistently behold His face, we begin to take on more of His characteristics, until we soon feel more at home in the fire of His presence than anywhere else.
I can recall times in my own life, steadily expanding seasons, when the Holy Spirit seems to stalk me. Think Calvin and Hobbes, and please forgive any perceived irreverence – me being Calvin and the Lord being Hobbes. Going about my own business, and suddenly being pounced upon by the wonderful manifest presence of the Lord.
Whoever says God will never overpower us and cause us to even feel quite uncomfortable at times by the raw power of His presence…has yet to encounter Him in His glory.
It is in those times, when despite my stated great hunger for Him, I have had to learn how to fight the inclination to ‘wrap things up.’ Like “O.K. Lord, that was great, now I need to get back to normal life.”
This is an ongoing theme and mystery for me. There is both death and life in His gaze. Death to all my preconceptions of who He is and how He feels about me, about us, and again, though many would chime in right now, claiming to want the intimacy of His face at any cost…nothing more, nothing less – the truth is…when He actually shows up…all our tender fleshly ways are instantly exposed – and there is nothing comfortable about that.
Most draw back well before these decisions have to be made. I don’t claim any great spiritual advantage over anybody else. What I do have, though, is an unreserved recklessness; a grace empowered, wild abandonment in my pursuit of His presence. Now don’t get all super spiritual on me and say we don’t need to pursue Him anymore because He is in us, etc…hahaha.
We have to choose, see? Will it be Self preservation or Self obliteration?
I know for a fact that a person will have just as much of Him as they want. The table has been set with a sumptuous spread. Remember…this is all about a PARTY. I mean seriously…who doesn’t want to go to a party? Oh, right…the ones who are so full of self, a party would be excruciatingly uncomfortable. You get that, right? The SELF-CONSCIOUS ones prefer to stay away from the party. Don’t despair if that used to be you. I now dub thee, “Party Animalus Cristos.”
I’ve recognized my initial reflex of trying to get away and get back to things as usual, to be like the last bit of nerves of a dying thing, twitching reflexively. Excuse the grossness of that analogy but it is indeed, the Self fighting valiantly against the inevitable. King Jesus is the One I want and I willingly carry His death around with me that I may daily know the power of His resurrection.
Totally worth it.
He is Daddy, and Papa, and our wonderful, gentle, kind Father…and He is also the Holy and Majestic Terrible One Who reigns over all creation with perfect justice. Lots of my beloved brothers and sisters are stuck on one side of His character or the other, and while this passes for Christianity in most parts of western society, growing up in the Kingdom of our God requires that we willingly, courageously gaze fully upon Him and receive Him for everything and all that He is, irrelevant of our preferences and comfort levels.
He is raising up for Himself a company of lovesick warriors who will joyfully advance His plans, purposes, and will on the earth, who will gladly and unflinchingly express the fullness of His character and love to a lost and dying world, who will flatly refuse to re-interpret Him through the filters of humanism for those insisting upon easier consumption of their god.
“Do you see what we’ve got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God. For God is not an indifferent bystander. He’s actively cleaning house, torching all that needs to burn, and he won’t quit until it’s all cleansed. God himself is Fire!” ~Hebrews 12:28-29~ (msg)