The following column is an opinion piece and reflects the views of only the author and not those of The Georgia Virtue.
By: Dr. William F. Holland Jr., minister, chaplain, and author of the column series ‘Living on Purpose’. You can read more about the Christian life and see other works by Dr. Holland at billyhollandministries.com.
The Bible refers to a joy that is unspeakable and full of glory but what does this mean? I believe one answer would be the contentment of the conscience for those who know God and have decided to live in the awareness of His presence. How can we do this? We can train our minds to think about God the same as we learn and become skilled to do anything else. Repetition and commitment are the building blocks of being proficient and in the Christian faith, self-discipline is the path to spiritual transformation. It’s important to awaken each day with prayers of thanksgiving for having the opportunity to communicate with the one who loves us and created us. We can approach Him boldly in faith, asking and seeking His wisdom and understanding.
Entering into a deeper relationship with Him requires as the Bible mentions in I Thessalonians 5:17 to pray without ceasing. The previous verse encourages us to rejoice always as our human nature finds these demands to be somewhat unrealistic. However, the Lord is saying relationship has everything to do with staying focused on Him. Every moment can plead for spiritual sensitivity as we realize the moment we take our eyes away from the prize, we begin to fall away and become lukewarm. This sense of urgency is a vital component for the mind to be renewed and conformed to the mind of Christ. Many have not taken the opportunity to ask for His divine appointments and His discernment that we might know His thoughts as we comprehend the critical importance of developing a higher level of spiritual sensitivity. Without this passionate craving to be close to God, we will be unable to walk in His Spirit. We must become one with Him for Him to move through us. Without this revelation, our hope for an intimate relationship with Him will not exist. Constantly reminding ourselves to concentrate on Christ is the path which leads to the secret place of the Most High. Within our free will, we must demonstrate a fierce and fervent determination and relentless perseverance to absorb and be possessed by Him. “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that is at work in us” (Ephesians 3:16-20).
We realize this message is not for the casual religious person. It is for those who pant after God like the deer that pants for water. “As the deer pants after the water brooks, so pants my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirst for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?” Psalm 42:1-2. This is the way of holiness for those who have a passion to be purified by the refiner’s fire. Those who have decided to take up their cross no matter what pain and rejection it will bring are the ones who are nauseated with their sin and have turned away from the temptations and love for the world. They have chosen the path of the overcomer and have become a member of a radical and extreme remnant. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2).
So if spiritual joy is available, then why does it seem that very few have it? Because only a small number of individuals have allowed God to be their shepherd. Those who refuse to surrender the control of their decisions cannot enter into the deeper chambers of spiritual intimacy which is the foundation of our covenant relationship with Him. You see, whoever sits on the throne of our heart is the Lord our conscience. May the Lord continue to give you His wisdom and understanding.