Thursday, April 24, 2008

Experiental Bliss

I am not here to see a phenomenon
I am not here for experiential bliss
I simply come to the feet of the God I love
The one that I adore

Some people have been critics of the Pentecostal or Charismatic movements and brush them off as just experiential, emotional fanaticism. But I grew up in these movements. I know what they are. There have been very few times in my life when I've not been in a church that many would classify as "holy roller." I'm very thankful that I've been fortunate enough to be in on these movements. I wouldn't trade my encounters with God for anything in this world. Having said that though, I'll be the first to admit that simply having outrageous experiences is not what makes me a Christian. I am a follower of Christ because of His great love, mercy, and grace. I am a follower of Christ because I believe that He is the Son of God. I have had quite a few years where I have had little to none of these type of experiences. Yes, we walk a walk of faith. I know, by faith in the Word, that God loves me.

Sometimes in these seasons of drought, just when I think that they must be the way true Christianity is walked out, the Holy Spirit taps me on the shoulder surprises me with His tangible presence. My experiences have indeed changed. I am no longer living from experience to experience to be certain that He loves me. I simply know He does. I don't have to be in a gully washer of a service to feel He's walking with me. I know He's with me by the strength He gives to meet each day. I know He's with me by the way He provides so effortlessly for me. I now experience Him in a different way. That does not make those times of experience less valid. No. Think about it. Isn't wonderful to feel that you are loved, rather than just hearing it or thinking it? Which is better, to read about a loving embrace or to actually experience one?

I stepped out of a level of His presence a few years ago. I was walking in a place with Him that I heard Him speak to me all throughout the day. I was walking in His tangible warm honey-like presence. I had dreams in the day and in the night. I felt His heartbeat. It was wonderful. I was so hungry for Him. When we walk this close to Him though, I think (and this is just my opinion) it rattles hell a little bit. It's almost like everything else around me went ruins. Now, what was important was how I handled it. I really think God allowed it to come, to show me what really still was in my heart. When adversity came, when a temptation came, when an opportunity to live and love as Christ came...I failed. I allowed myself to step right out of His glory and right in to a place of 'flesh.' I fumed, I steamed, I replied back in anger. Then, as if reacting so badly wasn't enough, I allowed myself to feel justified in doing so. Guess what happened? That level of 'anointing' God was allowing my to walk in disappeared. I have not yet been permitted to walk there again. But God knew me so well. He has used these past 3 years as time to teach me. To show me. He's still with me. He still walks with me. He has shown me the content of my heart. He has taught me so many valuable lessons. I do not need His heavy weight of glory to know He is with me. I know He never leaves me, nor forsakes me. What a valuable, valuable lesson I have learned. I am thankful that he allowed me to go on that little flesh binge. I want to be a pure stream, a clean vessel that He can pour through.

BTW, in case you're wondering, I don't consider myself a Pentecostal, Charismatic, BIC, Baptist, or even Methodist. I am simply a follower of Christ and a believer in His Word.

I am not here for the sake of a miracle
I am not here just to see the dead raised
Yes I believe in power supernatural
But that's not why I am saved

I want to fly away to His chambers
I want to be in the presence of the Lord
I am in need of His mercy and favor
Forever more

I give my heart to this one they call Jesus
Seeking out first the very kingdom of God
You are the way and the truth I believe it
You are my Phenomenon
-Rita Springer