In my last post, I wrote about the power of wonder. But how do we keep the wonder alive? If it has departed, what can we do to bring it back? What is the cure for the “fat heart” that I mentioned in my last post? I truly believe that, if the enemy of our souls cannot bring us to forsake Him, he will at least attempt to dull the reality of Who He is, what He has done, and what He wants to do in our lives.
The first thing we need to understand is that wonder is not something we work up. It is not a commodity we can produce or hoard, nor is it only a feeling we get when we listen to wonderful worship music or are blessed with material or spiritual blessings.
Wonder is the natural result of meeting God. Period.
In the Bible when someone met God – whether on a mountain or a valley, in prosperity or in wealth, in comfort or in pain – they were usually overcome with wonder. John the beloved, Daniel, Saul-soon-to-become-Paul, and Isaiah were all men who knew what it was to be rammed with the wonder of meeting God (Revelation 1:17; Daniel 10:7-10; Acts 9:1-9; Isaiah 6:1-5). There is a good chance that most of us will not meet God quite like these men did, but the “Wow Factor” in our walk with God is directly correlated with the depth and the frequency with which we really meet with our Creator.
The second thing we need to know is that meeting God is not a mystical experience. It does not happen through rituals, incantations, or special objects of veneration. Although God may speak through visions and dreams, most of us will not meet Him through those mediums. The way we can meet God is through the way that He has chosen to reveal Himself – through His word.
His word, the Bible, otherwise known as the Scriptures are not just words on pieces of paper. They are alive and powerful. They are sharp and two-edged. They can instantaneously cut through all the other “stuff” in our lives and pierce into the innermost part of our being. The Scriptures are likened to bread (that nourishes), a hammer (that breaks) and a fire (that consumes and cleanses) because of the effect they can have on our psyches. The Word of God is the sword that the Holy Spirit uses to do His transforming work in our lives. This is why the Word – reading it, hearing it, memorizing it, and studying it (all combined with thinking deeply on it) – should occupy the central place in the day of every follower of Jesus.
Yet, even this is not all that we need to maintain the “Wow Factor” in our Christian walk.
We must also obey Him. We must follow His leading. We need to walk in His ways. We must always remember that the Christian life starts with an event but it continues as a walk. It begins with a re-birth but it does not grow on its own. It grows only as we follow. In John 12, Jesus says the following to His disciples:
But Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor. John 12:23-26 (NKJV)
There are 3 important principles here. First, the fruit He wants to produce in our lives (and there is a LOT He wants to produce) comes only as we die to ourselves. The greatest hindrance to our fruitfulness is our own desires – as noble as they may seem at times. Second, the way we serve the Lord is by following Him. The Christian life is not static, it is dynamic. It is a continual process of leaving our comfort zones and following Him – whether that means a habit forsaken, a possession given, a relationship broken, or even a location changed.
Third, it is only as we follow Him that our fellowship with Him remains fresh and real. I think the reason we lose the wonder in our walk with God is not because we left Him, but because He has, in a sense, left us. He has moved on to where He wants us to be and we have stayed where we were! Jesus says here that if we follow Him, then we will be where He is. Most importantly, if we serve Him – His Father will honor us. He will treasure us, He will value us.
There are times when the wonder will wane. Sometimes it is an opportunity to stand on His word. Sometimes it is a wakeup call to follow closer. One thing is certain, as we seek Him in His word and we apply what He shows us we will stay by His side. We will see Him work in our lives and the lives of those around us. As He works, the wonder will stay alive. The hymn writer expresses it perfectly:
But we never can prove the delights of His love,
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows and the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.