One of the best ways to soar above the apostasy that seems to be raising its ugly head in the church today is to have a true, passionate, life-changing experience with the Lord. No, we’re not talking about memorizing more Scripture or doubling your time in prayer, although those things will help you experience God personally. And we are not talking about growing in your knowledge of the Lord if that means knowing Him as we know George Washington, all history and facts, impersonal doctrine and theology. What changes your heart is to experience God in a personal way, where He speaks to you and you recognize His voice.
But how is that done? How do we experience God? And why is that even important?
Let’s answer the last question, first, by listing some troubling facts discovered about evangelicals in a recent Barna survey. This alone should show us that knowledge has replaced experience in the church today.
According to a recent Barna study of professing evangelicals:
• 48% believe a person who is good enough or does enough good works can earn eternal salvation
• 44% claim the Bible is ambiguous in its teaching about abortion
• 44% do not believe that history is the unfolding narrative of God’s reality
• 43% maintain that when Jesus was on earth, He sinned
• 43% do not believe that there is a common, God-given purpose to humanity (i.e., to know, love, and serve Him)
• 42% seek moral guidance primarily from sources other than the Bible
• 42% do not identify and confess their sins on a daily basis
• 40% do not believe that human life is sacred
• 40% accept lying as morally acceptable if it advances personal interests or protects one’s reputation
• 39% identify the people they always respect as being only those who have the same beliefs as they possess
• 36% prefer socialism to capitalism
• 36% fail to seek and pursue God’s will for their life
• 34% reject the idea of legitimate marriage as one man and one woman
• 34% argue that abortion is morally acceptable if it spares the mother from financial or emotional discomfort or hardship
• 32% do not thank or worship God each day
How is this even possible in a nation that has “In God We Trust” on its currency?
And if So, What Was that Experience Like?
Most of the church boasts of head knowledge and little experience with the living God. After all, it is the experience with God that made ordinary men heroes in the Old and New Testaments. Think about it.
Adam and Eve – Genesis 3
Moses – Exodus 3
Israel – Exodus 19, 20
Elijah – 1 Kings 19
Isaiah – Isaiah 6
Peter – Matthew 16
And so many more. Remember,
God, who at (what) various times and (what) in various ways (what) spoke (when) in time past to (whom) the fathers (how) by the prophets, (God) has (when) in these last days (what) spoken to us (how) by His Son, (described as) whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds. – Hebrews 1:1-2
God can speak to anyone He wants, at any time, in any place, and for whatever reason. All we have to do is be ready to listen. And when He does speak and we experience Him like never before, ah, hang on, for the adventure has just begun.