DRAW NEAR TO GOD'S PRESENCE FOR PEACE, JOY AND TRUE SATISFACTION
BY JOYCE MEYER
People search for happiness in a lot of places. They look to things like relationships, money, vacations houses, clothes, and even open doors of opportunity. Yet, while these things can bring a degree of excitement for a period of time, happiness is based on what is happening "in the moment."
I was a Christian for several years before I understood that enjoying true peace and fulfillment is the most important thing in life. It's something that goes far beyond happiness to a deeper joy, regardless of our circumstances. And no matter what we own, where we go, or what we do, only one thing can give us this true satisfaction-God.
Psalms 27:4 has become one of the foundational scriptures of my life. It says, One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek, inquire for, and [insistently] require: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord [in His presence] all the days of my life, to behold and gaze upon the beauty [the sweet attractiveness and the delightful loveliness] of the Lord and to mediate, consider, and inquire in His temple.
Seek is a strong word. It means to crave, pursue, and go after something with all of your might. Many people want a greater relationship with God, but they don't crave and purse Him of lay aside other things in order to have it.
I love Psalm 16:11. It says, You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your hand are pleasures forevermore.
The Lord desires for us to live with His joy-to be permanently, consistently satisfied. This all comes from spending quality time with God... from reading, and studying His word, talking to Him in prayer, or simply sitting quietly in His presence.
The truth is everything we need to live a joyful, successful life is waiting for us in His presence. The choice is up to us...
YOU ARE AS CLOSE TO GOD AS YOU WANT TO BE
It's obvious that some people are closer to God than others. They talk as if they know Him personally and enthusiastically share stories about what He's doing in their lives. Why is this? Does God have favorites? No!
The Bible teachers that we -not God- determine our own level of intimacy with Him. We have all been extended the open invitation to ...fearlessly and throne of grace... (Hebrews 4:16).
At this moment, each one of us is as close to God as we choose to be. Infact, I believe there are levels of intimacy that we can choose to have with Him. For example, look at those who spent time with Jesus...
We know that Jesus appointed at least seventy people to travel ahead of Him to every city He went (see Luke 10:1). From the seventy, Jesus chose twelve disciples to share a deeper level of intimacy with Him, and out of the twelve there were three - Peter, James and John - who accompanied Jesus into special situations the others didn't share. But of these three who were closest to Him, only John felt comfortable enough to rest his head on Jesus' chest as he listened to the Lord teach.
So, Jesus had seventy acquaintances, twelve disciples, three close friends, and one who loved Him like a brother. Jesus loved them all, and they all loved Jesus, but not everyone was willing to make the same level of commitment as those who entered into a more intimate relationship with Him.
When it comes down to it, I believe experiencing intimacy with God is a matter of time. It's easy to use "I'm so busy" as an excuse. But if the Lord is the most important relationship in our lives, then He should also have that place of importance in our schedule.
Not everybody is willing to pay the price it takes to be close to God. However, for those who are willing to invest the time - for those who are willing to treat their relationship with God as a vital necessity - there is a great reward than they ever imagined.
PUTTING FIRST THINGS FIRST
Our commitment to spend time with God is as serious as any commitment we will ever make.
The Lord says in Psalm 27:8, Seek my face [inquire for and require My presence as your vital need]. In Jeremiah 29:L13 He promises, Then you will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me [as a vital necessity] and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
I love these scriptures! They tell us that we should require God as a vital necessity in life...something we can't live without. I'll never forget the example He gave me several years ago:
My uncle, who now home with the Lord, had a pacemaker in his heart that had to be charged on a regular basis.
One Saturday my husband, Dave, and I invited my aunt and uncle out for dinner, but they couldn't go because my uncle had to charge his pacemaker that day.
At first, I didn't understand why they couldn't go. I asked my aunt, "Well, can't he just charge his pacemaker tomorrow?"
She said, "Joyce he won't be here tomorrow if he doesn't charge his pacemaker today."
If my uncle didn't take time to charge his pacemaker, his heart would stop beating. It was a vital necessity for him to keep his appointment.
This is the way we should view our time with God! The quality of our life is greatly affected by the time we spend with Him, and it should have a place of priority on our schedule.
Years ago, I would only seek God when I was "desperate." But one day the Lord spoke to my heart and said, "Joyce, if you would always seek Me like you were desperate, then you wouldn't have so many desperate situations."
Friend, I encourage you to think of your time with God as a vital necessity. Don't just seek Him when it's convenient or when life gets rough, but make this time a regular part of your day. If need be, put it on your calendar and treat it like an appointment you simply can't miss.
As you do, you'll reap a harvest of peace, joy, and true satisfaction...and begin to see changes in your life that will simply amaze you.