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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Passion for His Presence

One thing I have desired of the Lord, that I will seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.” (Psalm 27:4)
Be still for a moment and examine your heart. What is it that you desire? Where is your treasure? Can you say with confidence that you have an insatiable hunger for intimacy with God? Does your soul follow hard after Him—and Him alone?
It is for this purpose that Christ died—that we might live in intimate communion with the Father. Abundant life deals not with physical riches, but with the richness of personally knowing our Creator and Savior—of beholding His glory and walking within His manifest presence. Physical blessing may accompany this intimacy, but the pursuit of blessing must not supersede intimacy.
Jesus told the story of a son, whom we now know as the Prodigal. This son had the opportunity to have a deep, personal relationship with his father, but he instead chose to pursue the blessings of his inheritance. Ironically, the pursuit of blessing only brought the son further from his father’s heart, until he was left hungry—not only for physical food, but for relationship with his father. It was his hunger that brought him back to the presence of his father.
Israel historically made the same mistake as the Prodigal had originally made: they fixed their eyes on the physical blessings of the Promised Land, not realizing that the Promised Land was truly a place of intimacy with the Source of all Blessings. Their self-centered focus repeatedly led them into captivity.
One author expressed our need for intimacy with God in a way that grips the soul: “Sometimes we use the very blessings that God gives us to finance our journey away from the centrality of Christ. It’s very important that we return back to ground zero, to the ultimate eternal goal of abiding with the Father in intimate communion. We need to stop seeking His benefits. We need to seek brokenness and repentance, and say by our actions as well as our words, ‘God, we want You. We don’t care if You ‘do’ anything for us or not. Let your fire of cleansing fall so we can finally see Your face’” (Tenney, “The God Chasers”). Are you hungry for God’s blessings, or are you hungry for God alone? Only He can satisfy.
~Elizabeth Marks~

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