Thursday, November 5, 2009

Friendship with God

Becoming the Friend of God

Marc A. Dupont

“The gravest question before us is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like.” A.W. Tozer

"Friendship is like a precious jewel, so hard to find, and so easily lost" Wayne Teasdale

For many decades now scientists, doctors, sociologists, and futurists, have been predicting about how the quality of life will be vastly changed as man becomes proficient in understanding and working with our human DNA codes. Reciprocally, I believe, the life and impact of the church will be radically changed if we could begin to move into our spiritual D & E call. That is to say, if we could learn to 'detain and entertain' the Presence of God.

All of Judaism and Christianity can trace its roots back to one who is known as 'father Abraham'. The story, however, of Abraham being a father to the nations is rather amazing. Especially when we consider that by the time Abraham and Sarah had a child, Sarah had been barren many years due to old age. Despite the promise of God that their descendants would be as numerous as the stars, they had ended up well past the age of childbearing without even a single child from their marriage.

I believe this is an appropriate picture of many Christians and church leaders today. We are a people who have heard the prophetic word of a great harvest to touch our cities. Yet, despite those promises and our best efforts we seem to be further than ever from great breakthroughs that will deeply impact our cities and nations. And here, is one of the great truths of God that needs to be rediscovered by the contemporary church- what often seems an extravagant, completely non-productive waste of time to the church is often the most effective thing we can do. To take our best time, energy, and resources and waste it on worship instead of the evangelism, teaching, and preaching is greatly at odds with our utilitarian views of God and His kingdom. For Abraham and Sarah, however, what turned out to be a costly and extravagant use of time and resources turned out to be the open door into the great promise of God in their life. 

Hanging Out with God!

Genesis chapter 18 tells us that Abraham looked up from a place of rest in his tent and beheld the Lord passing by. One of the dangerous side effects of the ‘busier is better’ mind sets of the contemporary church is there is precious little time for 'looking up' and beholding the Person of God. In the age of instant gratification we want microwave revivals and fast food church services. In the so-called information age we have all but lost the art of relationship. We find it too easy to substitute knowledge for experience and precepts for practices. And because we are so often governed by the tyranny of the urgent we’ve failed to realize that truth in our heads is not always the same as truth in the innermost being, Psalm 51.6 NASV . In an, age where everyone gets their fifteen minutes of fame, it’s one thing to know of someone, but it’s another thing altogether to be that person’s friend. It's the friends of God that He reveals His plans and intentions to. And it's the people who know how to spend time with God because they enjoy Him that become the friends of God.

If you want to know what's going on at church read the bulletins and listen to the announcements. But, if you want to know what's going on in the kingdom of God, spend time hanging out with Jesus.

Let us consider two of the greatest prophetic voices ever known- Samuel, the prophet, and the Apostle John- the revelator, and their foundations of intimacy with God. Samuel began to break into the realm of revelation when as a young boy he would sleep in the temple, near where the Ark of God's glory was. It was in that posture that he first heard the voice of God call him by his first name (1st Sam. 3.3 & 4). If we want to get on a first name basis with God, so to speak, we must learn to spend time relaxing with Him. Otherwise, we tend to merely be part of the program. Likewise, John would often lean his head on Jesus breast while Jesus and the disciples were relaxing. Perhaps, for many, especially men, this is a picture of intimacy that is a bit hard to relate to. But, of all the of the 12 disciples who went on to become the Apostolic fathers of the early church, it was John who experienced the most revelation. It was out of this posture of intimacy that he experienced the tremendous revelation of the majesty of Christ that we refer to as the book of revelation. John was the one that Peter would sometimes ask Jesus what was going on (John 13.24). If you want to know what's going on at church read the bulletins and listen to the announcements. But, if you want to know what's going on in the kingdom of God, spend time hanging out with Jesus.

From his posture of rest, Abraham ‘looked up’ and saw the Lord passing by in the form of three men. When we are consumed with the tyranny of the urgent, there is no time for looking anywhere other than what’s right in front of our eyes. We tend to bee consumed and preoccupied with the job always at hand. But, as the saying goes, ‘if we want to see something we’ve never seen before than we’ve got to do something we’ve never done before’. And, most of the time, before we can do something we’ve never done before we’ve got to see it in our spirits, or in our minds eye. On more than one occasion when God was trying to impart vision to Abraham He instructed Abraham to fix his gaze on the stars- something timeless, way outside the business of our momentary concerns. Albert Einstein, perhaps the greatest mind of the 20th century stated the following concerning the process of discovery; ‘imagination is more important than knowledge’! He also said "The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them”.

For the Christian who is longing for break throughs of the Kingdom of God in his, or her, life, city, and culture we need to take time to hear and see with the ears and eyes of our hearts. Merely by doing what we have been doing, or seeing what we have been seeing will not bring about greater fruitfulness, no matter how much of a workaholic we become. If we truly desire to live a lifestyle based on the lifestyle that Jesus led than we must begin to experience ‘transrational’ information. Transrational information, Biblically speaking, is simply to experience the leading of the Holy Spirit. It is to employ what I call the imagination of the spirit. The key difference between the imagination of the soul and the spirit is that we do the creative work in the natural with the former, while the latter is done by the Holy Spirit. In fact, two words commonly used in the old Testament for prophets were “naba” and “zyid”. “Naba” was used for a true prophet of God, it means for things to “spring up”. While the word “zyid”, used for false prophets, meant to “cook things up”. Naba prophets received things from the Holy

Spirit on the canvass of their spirits, while Zyid prophets merely spoke out their imaginations.

Marc A Dupont
Mantle of Praise Ministries, Inc. 

Excerpted from Marc A Dupont's new book 'Becoming the Friend of God' Note from Marc: "Of all the books I have written this is the one I would most love to get in the hands of as many people possible. It has been a passion of mine for some 15 year to see Christian develop true friendship with the person of God."

No comments: