The year was — oh, decades and decades ago, in those faraway days when I was a young teenager. I sat in the sweltering church balcony and listened to the evangelist talk about the wrath of God and punishment in hell. His text was based on one of the Beatitudes, the pure in heart shall see God. And that night, I “accepted Christ” because when I died, I wanted to see God instead of burning in hell, thank you.
And for many years after, I thought the reason I came to Jesus was because I was afraid of hell. But now I look back and see that the Spirit had much more planned for me.
Oh, yes, Jesus certainly did rescue me from the punishment I deserve for all the nasty stuff I’ve done. (Thank you, Lord!) But eventually the time came when I ran to Christ. I ran, because I wanted the promise in that verse preached on that long ago night. Now, my motivation is not so much to escape the fires of hell, but — I want to see God.
Years ago, my mom had a scrap of paper on her bulletin board with this verse, printed in her unique style:
One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.
I had little comprehension, as a young woman, of what that note meant to my mom. Now, decades later, I think I know.
Because I, too, want to see God and to live in his house all the days of my life. Not in my future life, but all the days of my life on this earth. Here. Now.
I need to know my Father.
Jesus came to earth to show us God the Father. When the old man named Simeon first held the baby Jesus, he said, “He is a light to reveal God to the nations.” The word translated as “reveal” means to show something that has previously been hidden or secret. Jesus himself said, time and again, “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen God. If you trust me, you are trusting God. I am the way to the Father.”
I want to know God. And Christ is the One who reveals the Father. He opened the way to God. He is the only way. “No one can come to the Father,” he said, “except through me.”
It’s interesting that Jesus also said, “For no one can come to me unless the Father draws them to me…” That may seem contradictory unless you can have faith that Jesus and God and the Spirit are one. God draws us to himself through the Spirit, and Jesus opens the way for us to come into God’s presence, unhindered by guilt and sin.
Many of us were “scared into the kingdom,” becoming Christians because we were afraid of the wrath of God and punishment in hell. But now, the thing that holds me, the reason I cling to Christ, the Spirit, and God’s Word is because I want to know God.
Did you do your assignment this week? Have you been thinking about Jesus supplying everything you need? This is at the top of my list: Jesus flung open the door and cleared the way for me to come to my Father, so that I can dwell in his house all the days of my life.
Search for the LORD and for his strength; continually seek him.
May all who search for you be filled with joy and gladness in you.
May those who love your salvation repeatedly shout, “God is great!”
Scripture: Psalm 27:4 (NIV), Luke 2:32, John 14:6, John 6:44, Psalm 105:4, Psalm 70:4 (all NLT)