I see many good-intentioned Christians working so hard to have godly behavior.
Is it possible they are eating from their own tree? The tree of good intentions and hard work? Striving to conform their behavior to the Word of God, rather than being transformed?
The other morning as I was worshiping God to some Bethel music, I saw a tree. It was in my mind, before you go thinking it sprouted in the middle of my office. It was leafy with dark, plum-sized fruit, similar to nightshade. And my impression wasn’t positive, though I was trying to work up some enthusiasm since I presumed it was a picture from God.
Something wasn’t settling well with it, so I finally asked God what it was. He said, “It’s a tree of regret.” I asked for more info and He said, “Darkness desires to steal, kill and destroy. It tries to hit you in parenting. Your fault. You’re to blame. But those are lies. Shake them off as Paul shook off the viper that attached to his hand
(Acts 28:5). Deadly, but will not harm you. Stay connected to Me. Walk in Our light of hope and peace and joy. Much good fruit there.”
Parenting has been challenging in this last season and it’s been pretty easy for the enemy to hit me with regret. But as I press into God, the lies get exposed and truth settles into its place. Not easy, not quick, and not without pain. But so freeing when I come through to the other side of the lie.
So how do we eat His fruit? How do we walk in joy and peace and freedom in an experiential way rather than an intellectual one?
What I mean by that is, I see many believers focusing on the truth of God’s word and memorizing scripture but not living in the fullness of it. Knowing the joy of the Lord is our strength, but not experiencing it. Or not experiencing it in lasting and fruitful ways.
It’s like there is some kind of block that keeps people from moving past scripture as a truth, and into an encounter. Once you encounter the person of God, you become hungry for more of His presence. You realize the desert is not a place to build a dwelling, but something to pass through—–and quickly.
You discover Jesus as a Friend. One who adores you and wants to wrap you with love and peace, even as you go through some of the most difficult experiences of your existence.
He’s been there. He went through them before you did (Isaiah 53:4). He wants to bear those burdens for you.
Encounter comes through belief. You won’t have what you don’t believe (Rom. 10:17).
Encountering is simple, but has to be entered into with anticipation. Knowing God is good and wants to meet with you.
If we expect not to hear Him and expect Him not to answer, we will receive what we anticipate. But if we enter His presence with thanksgiving (Psalm 100:4), knowing He’s with us all the time (Deut. 31:6), then we position ourselves for encounter and experience.
Whether He floods us with the warmth of His presence, gives us a picture to start a dialogue with us, or simply recharges our batteries as we sit knowing He’s with us whether we feel Him or not, we’ve started into a relationship and an adventure with the One who adores us and has good things in store.
Jesus, I want to experience Your presence, Your peace, Your emotions. I want to know You in deeper ways. Experiencing all You have for me. Teach me how to trust You, and reveal Yourself to me throughout my day. Thank you. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Thoughts . . .
What do you think it would be like to experience God?