Friday, February 17, 2012

Building an Inner Relationship With God - Part 2

Let's continue with exploring facets of our devotional life suggested by the Temple's construction and the activity surrounding it's operation.

  1. The Role of Sanctification - At its most basic, the word "sanctification" means to be set apart from all else and dedicated wholly to God. That level of dedication is missing in our Christianity today. We have many fickle Christians that bounce from church to church, book to book, and teacher to teacher with no real sense that they are supposed to be building line upon line and precept upon precept. Commitment is key. The Temple was set apart for God, the Levites were dedicated to the service of God. If you are going to be successful in your inner relationship with God, you are going to have to be committed to God.
  2. The Role of Centrality - The Tabernacle was set in the middle of the Jewish encampment. It was central to their lives. The question then is whether or not your relationship is central to your life or a convenient addition. Is your relationship only that fifteen minutes in the morning, or do you have an ongoing conversation with Him throughout the day? Is He central?
  3. The Role of the Supremacy of the Cross of Jesus - The tabernacle and the temple were completely soaked through with symbols Jesus and His work on the Cross. Be careful in your devotional life that you don't become the focus. With quiet time it is easy to become introspective instead of "looking unto Jesus" as the Scriptures command.
  4. The Role of Repetition - Now here is where we have to hit a balance. The activity of the Temple was very much an activity of repetition. We like repetition, especially as we get older. However, don't get so ingrained with your repetition that it becomes empty tradition. We must follow the Holy Spirit in our quiet time. Sometimes He will allow us to be comfortable in repetition, at other times His quiet voice urges us to change up our routine.
  5. The Role of Beauty - This is a lesser detail, but it's truth cannot be denied. The tabernacle and temple had aspects of great beauty. Let's make two applications. First, sometimes it is helpful and healthy to talk with God in places of beauty like a summer field or a park bench along the seashore. Second, we must view our relationship with God as a thing of beauty that both we and God are working on together.
  6. The Role of Death - When we view the Tabernacle, we cannot get away from the fact of death. Of course the death of bulls and goats pictured the coming death of Jesus, our final sacrifice. Let us not forget, however, that the Bible says that when Jesus died, we died with Him and rose as new creatures in Christ. If we accept as fact our death to sin, and our resurrection to love and serve God it will put us in the right frame of mind for our walk with God.
  7. The Role of Praise - David talked about entering "his courts with praise". Let's not be selfish worshippers, coming to God with our list like He is some kind of cosmic genie. We need to praise the King of the Universe, not because we get anything, but because He is, who He is.
I'm sure there are other parallels that we could draw to the Tabernacle and Temple, but that will suffice for now. Below are some random thoughts in regard to building our inner relationship.
  • Be faithful during the dry spells. The inner life is not always exhilarating. God does not allow us to stay permanently on the top of the mountain. Dry spells, teach us determination and surrender.
  • Guard your time with God.
  • Seek to understand the depth of God's love for you and rest in it.
  • Seek God...not the gifts that He gives.
  • Reject thoughts that distract or undermine your faith.
  • Paul said...'that I may know Him'
  • Renounce whatever does not lead you closer to God.
  • Understand that we come to God upon the basis of the merits of Christ. It has nothing to do with our own goodness or works. We can only do good because of Christ in us.
  • Prayer consists totally and simply of God's presence; of a soul resting in God.
  • Our motivation needs to come from the love of God for us and the will of God for us. We cannot be motivated by gaining comfort for our own problems from God.
  • God won't allow a searching soul to be comforted anywhere but with Him.
  • To be with Him we must cultivate the habit of thinking of Him often. - God is there. It is rude to leave a visiting friend alone.
  • Give God control of your 'stuff'. Scripture says, "where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
  • Accept His forgiveness, cleansing, and unqualified love for you.
  • See yourself as God sees you...not as a criminal to be judged, but as a son to be loved, trained, and corrected.
  • God never leaves us, but sometimes He hides His face from us. It is at this time that He shows us our need of Him and tests our commitment to Him.

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