Looking up to Jesus again

 

“Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am…” – John 17:24

Something has been stirring in my heart these past few days. I’ve been looking at my own spiritual lethargy highlighted somehow by there being so few people in church on Easter Sunday. Rising in my heart has been an ache for more of God and to be with people with the same hunger.

How do we break out of spiritual lethargy when it’s gripped us? That’s the question I’ve been asking. I felt the answer drop in my heart tonight on my way home. We must turn our eyes upwards to see the Lord as He should be seen, to see Him rightly again. We must reevaluate and rediscover the infinite value of the gospel, the infinite worth of Jesus. This, the most important weekend in the Christian calendar, is surely as good a time as any to do this again. So here is my attempt to look up again for myself and to help anyone else who might read do the same. Let these words speak to our hearts, let them speak truth, let them speak of the beauty of Jesus!

Meeting Jesus is the most important thing that ever happened to us. There’s nothing else that will ever come close. Graduating uni – nope. Buying a house – nope. Getting a job or a promotion – not even close. Getting married – not in the ball park. Jesus is the most incredible, precious, life-changing thing that will ever happen to you and me. Here’s the start of why that’s true.

The Lord dwells outside of time, surrounded by blinding, glorious light, rainbows, lightning and beauty unspeakable. He’s surrounded by radiant angelic beings. If we met these creatures in a dream or the flesh we would be totally awestruck, strongly tempted to bow down in worship. These angelic beings are covered in eyes, eyes for the sole purpose of gazing upon the Lord. There’s so much to see – mysteries of the eternal, beauty beyond beauty, power beyond power. They open their eyes for a fraction of a second and are overwhelmed. They fall to the ground and cry out in worship ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’. They must see more though. They open their eyes again. Again they are overwhelmed. They’ve been  overwhelmed for thousands of years. They have been crying out the same worship song for thousands of years (see Isaiah 6 and Revelation 4, 5).  They don’t get bored. They don’t get tired.

This is the God who spoke galaxies into being, who formed microscopic life, who counts the grains of sand on the seashore and yet knows the number of hairs on your head. This is the God who uses His power for love. This glorious, infinite God beyond our imagination wants relationship with us. He doesn’t only want 2 hrs on a Sunday. No, He wants deep intimacy. He wants to know us and share His heart with us, wants to explain eternal secrets to us angels have never understood. He wants an intimacy even deeper than with a spouse (see John 17:3). He desires relationship with us so badly He sent His Son to die to make a way for it to be possible. Jesus’ death was the desire of God made manifest and crying out through the ages of broken human history – ‘I want to be close to my people’ (see John 17:24)!

This God who dwells in unapproachable light, in light that would kill us if we stood before Him in the flesh, loves to hear our prayers. He loves to hear our songs. He loves to hear our hearts poured out to Him. He wants to share His heart with us. He takes notice when we make it to church to worship Him. He takes notice of when we esteem Him and His ways above our own. He is moved by when we let our ‘yes be yes and no be no’. He hears what we say about others. He records the ‘cups of cold’ water we give in service to others. These things I’ve listed are not the way many think of them. They’re not a list of rules with punishment attached for failure. No, they’re an invitation.

Often I notice the heart posture of many is (though not articulated): ‘Where’s the line, what’s the minimum I need to do to get into heaven?’ I’ve been realising this heart posture comes out of fear of punishment and condemnation, feeling like you’re not good enough. But in light of the above reality of who God is, of His amazing grace, Father’s esteem and Bridegroom’s desire it’s not the right question.  The right question is this one – ‘God, how far can I go in obedience and pursuit and love for you? How much grace will you give me to give everything for you?’ This question, this heart posture of pursuit, is the overflow of the truth of the gospel hitting our hearts.

When I don’t make it to church I don’t feel condemnation rather I feel I’ve missed an opportunity, “Oh God, I missed an opportunity to give you the worship you are due today! You are worthy of that!” When I stand before the Lord at the end of my life I will not say, “Oh I just spent too much time going to church, too much time serving, too much time praying and worshipping.” No, rather I will say, “Oh, God, if only I had known who You were I would have given more!” The little things I do for the Lord here out of love are esteemed in heaven. God is watching and listening and longing to reward us. He esteems us that much.

Well I’m going to stop there. It’s just a taste and I’ve already written 1000 words. I haven’t even begun on the many physical blessings that the Lord pours out every day: His perfect leadership, His protection, His endless provision, His healing hand. But just these – the glory of God, His provision for deep relationship, longing for intimacy, esteem and reward of our pursuit and His desire to share secrets – they are enough! Let’s just sit here, let’s just gaze and consider and contemplate here for a while. That’s enough to wake us up.

Holy Spirit, would you come and reveal deeper revelations of Jesus’ heart to us. Come Holy Spirit and fascinate our hearts with God again! What do the angels see as they worship? Would you touch us with Jesus’ love once again?

J. Ratcliffe

Photo by David Dibert

Joel Ratcliffe
Hi! I'm an Aussie, former missionary kid, writer, adventurer, friend, brother, son and follower of Jesus. Glad you found your way here into this adventure of mine!

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