With the launch of a new site, working on a few album projects, doing worship and student life at Ellerslie, and still leading worship and speaking all around the country it has caused me to realize the necessity of what heroes of the faith have called: the abiding life.
We all to often read God’s word with the intent to figure out the 12 things we are supposed to do in order to go to heaven. We do these with dutiful drudgery. All the while slighting the very purchase of the cross, being made acceptable in the eyes of God and therefore being brought into His “banqueting house.”
I refuse to live a dutiful religion. I want a religion ruled by a deep reality of the intimacy found within the boundless ocean of God’s infinite presence. Scripture tells me that in His presence is fullness of joy. Meaning, knowing is not the path to joy. Knowing statistics about a person does not make you his or her lover. However, delighting in his or her presence does a wondrous work of deepening the bond of love.
I am a voracious reader of old books. I can’t stomach a lot of what passes as Christian literature. Modern Christian literature doesn’t speak to the soul, it speaks to our American spiritual sensibilities! In my devouring of old books I ran across a book that floored me and left me wordless and awestruck. It was written by a 26 year old professor of Divinity at Aberdeen University in the late 1600s. It revolutionized my understanding of Christianity and religion. It is called “The Life of God in the Soul of Man.” In it he states this:
The severities of a holy life, and that constant watch we are obliged to keep over our hearts and ways, are very troublesome to those who are only ruled and acted by an external law, and have no law in their minds inclining them to the performance of their duty; but where divine love possesseth the soul, it stands as sentinel to keep out everything that may offend the beloved, and doth disdainfully repulse those temptations which assault it; it complieth cheerfully, not only with explicit commands, but with the most secret notices of the Beloved’s pleasure, and is ingenious in discovering what will be most grateful and acceptable unto Him; it makes mortification and self-denial change their harsh and dreadful names and become easy, sweet and delightful things.
Henry Scougal, The Life of God in the Soul of Man, pg. 78
So my question is, have you so acquainted yourself with the presence of God that you can cheerfully comply not just with explicit commands, but that you have a depth of intimacy that gives you insight into the deepest desires of your Hallowed Father. I want to know the most secret notices of my Beloved’s pleasure. I want to fellowship and commune with Him more deeply than anyone else in my generation. And…I invite you to challenge me in that pursuit!