Ascending and Abiding

Recently there are two verses that have been stuck in my head:

Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?
    And who shall stand in his holy place?
Psalm 24:3

O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent?
    Who shall dwell on your holy hill?
Psalm 15:1

Both of these verses talk about the hill of the Lord, the place of His holiness and glory. But one talks about ‘ascending’ the hill, and the other talks about ‘dwelling’ or, in other versions, ‘abiding’ on His hill.

It’s one thing to ascend the hill of the Lord, it’s another to abide.

What is it that we are to abide in? Well I’m still learning myself as I journey into this intimate relationship with God and particularly in pursuing the person of the Holy Spirit. Before God did a miracle in me and gave me this revelation of what an intimate relationship with God looks like, I would say my experiences of God’s presence were mainly confined within the four walls of the church building. I hungered after conferences and extended times of worship so I could connect with God and encounter His presence in a deep, tangible way. That hunger kept me going to a certain extent, but it was momentary satisfaction and the moment I left I craved the next time I could be in His presence.
You know what… you’re made to crave His presence. You’re made to be satisfied fully only by Him!
But what I was doing wasn’t being satisfied to the full because when I left that place, I left the presence of God there and went back to living life in my own strength. Of course I had glimpses of His presence on occasions when reading a Christian book or maybe listening to some worship music, but it was weak in comparison to the thickness of His presence when I was in a meeting.

How many of us ascend the hill of the Lord, but then come back down?

The Bible clearly shows us that we are called into a life of abiding in His presence. John 15 is the most obvious that comes to mind:

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the wine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me
John 15:4

What happened to me almost exactly one year ago was like a threshold moment. I perceived a door in front of me, and I could either walk through it or back off. I remember writing in my journal that I could see a fork in the road. One road would take me along pretty much the same kind of way I was currently living, keep plodding along, keep loving God but ultimately keep living in my own strength. The other road I could see was one of going up higher. It was one where I could fully take hold of everything God has said and promised, and where I live a life abandoned to Him. And that meant letting go, total surrender. Well… I chose the higher path – there was no way I was going to stay as I was.
Many people have asked me how I passed through that threshold point – how did I get from that point hunger and of saying I’m taking the higher road to actually living in what I was asking God for (I don’t even know how to put in words what happened!). All I can say is that if you are hungry, wanting more of God, and wanting to live life totally abandoned to Him, He wants the same and will make it happen.
For me it was an encounter where I tasted of His manifest presence outside of those well-known 4 walls and became captivated by love. It was like a first love experience where your heart throbs for Him and you pursue and savour every moment with Him.
“With Jesus the more you get the more you want. Not only that, but the more you get the more you need.”  – Bobby Conner

A little while back I was pondering about having a relationship with God with some of my friends. We were talking about how we separate our faith from other connotations of being named a ‘Christian’ by saying we have a relationship with God. But something hit me hard, and it’s quite profound. How much has that become just another statement, or figure of speech? How much do we really understand that statement or live it out – how many of us can really say we have a relationship with God – there are so many who appear to have more of an acquaintance with God. Some may say they are friends – but how friendly are they?

This is the time to find Him if you seek for Him!
God wants more than a casual friendship with you – he wants a passionate love relationship with you – don’t settle for anything less than that!! The whole Bible from beginning to end is a story of romance. His purpose in creating the world was love- He made the world because He wanted a love relationship with you – he wants to romance you!

It’s about habitation not visitation! 

God is raising up an army of people who place their priority in loving God! Not in any other thing – not even good things that God has told us to do because they too can become idols when placed above coming simply into God’s presence to love Him. When we get loving God in the right place, everything else falls into place!
How often do we come into His presence asking for things.. which again is good. But is your first thought just loving Him?
How many of us have missed this… how many of us have turned God into a vending machine. We’ve replaced the love of God for things. How horrific is that?! We need to know this – we need to get this right. It’s all about loving Him!!

There’s an adventure for you, of discovering His love and a new way of living, where you abide on His holy hill.
Don’t miss out – let this be your threshold moment.

 

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