What Brings You Close to God?
There are certain things in my life that make me feel closer to God. Do you have those things? I’ve heard some people say it is getting out in nature. The feel of the warm sun on your face, the breeze blowing against your skin, and the beautiful sights and sounds of God’s creation, undiluted by man’s interference – that can definitely make a person feel closer to God. Some have said that it’s music. Whether it is music created specifically to call a child of God to worship or something that is simply powerful and moving, music can stir within us that longing to be close to our Creator. For me, the thing is teaching.
I’ve had amazing experiences where God has brought me to my knees is a wonderful musical worship service - tears down my face, sobs at my lips, awe and wonder at God’s grace, provision, and majesty in my heart kind of physical response to His presence. I’ve sat on the shore of Lake Superior, watching the waves billow in, the sun shining brilliantly in the sky and sparkling off the sand, glistening in the water, and warming my soul. Knowing that God created all of that with a simple word and that He renews it, just like He renews my faith and trust in Him on a daily basis - that definitely elicits a response in my soul. But teaching is where I truly connect, where God takes a mite of knowledge and turns it into a faith moment for me.
That’s one of the reasons I love the little small groups I am in – and I can’t seem to get enough, so I keep joining more! I currently host and teach a small group in my home (studying The Power of God’s Names by Tony Evans – so good!), attend Ladies Sunday School (studying Gideon by Priscilla Shirer), an online study that I sort of accidentally agreed to lead (Just Open the Door by Jen Schmidt), a Wednesday Night group (War Room, based on the movie), and in just a couple weeks, we’ll have a one-day not-so-small-I-hope group of ladies (I’m believing for 80!) Going Beyond Simulcast with Priscilla Shirer. Even though I don’t teach in all of these groups, question-and-answer sessions within the context of the group/class can lead to little mini-teaching opportunities for me.
When the Monday at the McNutt’s small group was over this week, my husband asked me, “So, did you enjoy small group?” That was him giving me the opening I needed to start gushing about the goodness of God, His power, His desire to have a relationship with His people, His covering over us and protection of us. My dear husband just nodded and smiled and asked a couple more questions to let me know he was listening (he’s a really great guy!) and I continued on. And on. And on. By the time I was done, I felt as if God had invited me into His presence and completely filled me up with His grace. Talk about a Relational God! While I like to do these things and enjoy them, just reading about Him doesn’t do it and listening to another teacher doesn’t do it; for me, it is the telling, the sharing, the teaching about Him that brings me into His presence.
Please don’t read into this that I think I have all the answers, because I certainly don’t. There is a real responsibility in being a teacher – God gives us gifts and expects us to use them wisely. Just as those who love music need to remember that His gift of music is to be used for only His glory and those who worship in nature need to remember that we can never worship nature itself, the teacher needs to remember that the wisdom and knowledge that we impart don’t come from inside our heads, but from His Holy Spirit. God’s Word is clear on the responsibility of the teacher; James 3:1-2 says, “Not many should become teachers, my brothers, because you know that we will receive a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is mature, able also to control the whole body.” We can never assume that we have it all together. And can I just say, there is FREEDOM in that knowledge? Recognizing in humility that we can only get wisdom from God is eternally freeing and is the thing that, for me, welcomes me most into His presence.
What most welcomes you into His presence? Where have you felt freedom to be who He created you to be the most? How can you use that to serve the family of Christ that you were placed in? Because God didn’t give you the gift of His presence so you can hold onto it for yourself. What ways can you share His love today, next week, next month, next season? Make that a matter of prayer and trust when He answers you.
P.S. If you want to get involved in any of the groups I mentioned above or others, here’s some great info:
Going Beyond Simulcast with Priscilla Shirer – register soon! Registration ends Saturday, March 23!!
Gideon Ladies Sunday School – Sundays at 9am at Clare Assembly. Or does your church where you live have a ladies group that meets to study the Word? Get there! If you’re a man reading this, check into your men’s Sunday School.
War Room Study – Wednesdays at 6:30pm at Clare Assembly
Just Open the Door – Lifeway Online Bible Study and I’m leading a little, secret Facebook group. If you sign up at Lifeway and want in on the group, send us a Facebook message at m.me/clareaog and I’ll add you in.
The Power of God’s Names – Monday at the McNutt’s small group. This is an amazing study. The group is full at the moment, but check around at your church – there may be another small group meeting that’s perfect for you!