This blog entry has been a week in the making. Last Wednesday as I got my laptop out and set up stuff for the evening’s cell group session I reflected on the text I’d sent to Authrine. I told her that we needed to get some smelling stuff for the front room and our bedroom. The thought suddenly occurred to me that in seeking God, He expects us to use all of our senses – smell, see, taste, hear and feel. Searching for Him is not something that can be done by one sense alone, but a combination of all of them. He can be experienced through all of them.
Now I know that there is the thing about being careful not depend n our natural senses. We live in a material world where one of the great deceptions is to get people to depend only on what they can see with the natural and what they can physically attain. That’s the great deception that suckered the first couple and it’s the great deception that Jesus snookered by giving the Word’s supremacy in all things.
Acknowledging this, however, the point about seeking God with all the senses is about recognising God uses these to make Himself known. We look at some of the more immediate examples of this like being in a beautiful natural setting where the senses are bombarded with the beautiful diversity of creation in whatever aspect. The nostrils are tickled with a distinct soul-pleasing scent, the hands and feet are caressed with the soft grass, the eardrums reverberate to the noise of the animal kingdom in all its pomp and majesty, even the taste-buds take in some pleasures available. Of course the sight we behold in itself is breathtaking and led one songwriter to put it all down and say that on reflection when he considers it all he mentioned to the Almighty How Great Thou Art.
So faith-awakened physical senses are capable of receiving evidences of grace and go on to prick the conscience about the Living God. What I am contending further, however, is that for those who have come in contact with God and are privileged to be doing life in search of Him, those self-same sense can be key aids in interacting and engaging with Him. The whole concept of seeking God reminds me of a detective story especially Columbo. That brother is a pest, he is a dog that cannot be put down, he has the sniff in his nose and he pesters and digs and peeks and feels and prods knowing what we all know, that is the identity of the culprit. He knows it, we know it, but we need to seek out the clues that will bring us to the conclusion.
I confess I’m not that diligent in searching for God. As an audio and visual kinda guy unless I read it or see it then I’ll miss it. Even then to apply myself to that Columbo-like pursuit is not always the case for me. Yet in line with the Fast and the Curious series I recognise the great need for such diligence. Not only is it diligence, but it is diligence with delight. Fully engaging the senses in pursuit of God is not in search of a criminal, it is in search of the Creator, the Father, the Giver of good gifts. Using a waft from a nearby kebab house can even get you twitching to think about food that lasts forever rather than for a second. Feeling some sharp object pierce our flesh can remind us of the nails that tore into the flesh of the Saviour. This is not specious connecting for the sake of it, but it is alerting the senses and the heart to seeking God through the senses.
I write this blog on the seventh floor of a hostel in Glasgow where outside, even at this time of night, there is the noise of traffic and a near train track with the trains going from place to place. Hearing these sounds reminds me of the busyness of life and rushing to and fro for noble or ignoble purposes. It reminds me of the call of God to find His still small voice in the busyness, not to be caught up in the hustle and bustle but be driven by another sound, another rhythm, another beat. It reminds me of how easy it is to be distracted by noble or ignoble purposes, but for my heart to find peace I am to practice even in the middle of a hectic life the ability to be still and know God for who He is. I am aware He is not impressed by my busyness or my work outputs for the day. I am aware that it is not in the noise of my activity that I’ll necessarily find His blessing even if it produces the acclaim of those that look on and material benefits. I am aware that fruitfulness comes through dedicated and consistent, diligent and dogged abiding in Christ. Hearing His voice, smelling the fragrance of His presence, seeing His glory, tasting the satisfying nature of the Bread of life and feeling Him near me guiding me along paths of righteousness …
That is why this month is particularly appropriate for a time to seek God with greater fervency. There is a lot of stuff still on the plate of my life, family developments, church developments, personal developments, relational developments – some very exciting, all very challenging and in the midst of it all I know there be the presence of the risen Saviour beckoning me towards Him. Not neglecting these developments but placing them in the proper perspective of allowing them to be conduits towards Him rather than distractions from Him. Should they be the latter to have the courage to dispel them so that there is nothing that hinders me from embracing Him and seeing Him work through my family, work, church and relationships – not because I dictate His movements, but allow my life to directed by His call towards closer intimacy with Him.
I recognise now more than ever that it’s all well and good encouraging others to start or make progress in their spiritual journey to seeking the Saviour, but the best position that I can do that from is as one humble sojourner seeking Him likewise with all the internal and external senses that He places at my use for His glory.
For His Name's Sake