God draws His people into His heart enabling us to become ONE with Him. This journey of intimacy with God begins with a realization that without God we are nothing.
“The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this: “I live in the high and holy place and with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.” Isaiah 57:15
Our journey with God begins with two important ingredients: contrition and humility.
Notice in Isaiah 57:15 God tells us that He will make His holy abode with the “contrite and humble”. To be contrite is to be truly sorry for one’s sins and to be humble requires that we acknowledge God’s greatness and our nothingness.
Contrition and humility are the keys to begin a life-long spiritual journey of transformation with God.
If we are truly sorry for our sins then Jesus will forgive us.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
Jesus died to reconcile us to God, The Father.
RECONCILIATION IS THE FIRST STEP TO BECOMING ONE WITH GOD
“My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.” Psalm 51:17
Jesus tells us this: “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Matthew 23:12
In today’s society we typically see the rich and powerful forming relationships with other rich and powerful people. Yet in Matthew 23:12 Jesus is telling us that God chooses to live with the humble and contrite. The humble and contrite are exalted in being offered an opportunity to live in intimacy with God, with Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour.
Jesus does not enter the heart of the ‘exalted ones’ who perceive they are powerful and have no need for Him. The unrepentant have no desire for God’s mercy. Jesus enters the heart of the ‘contrite, humble ones’ who have faith in Him and know that they need His grace, His forgiveness and His love to succeed.
I like to think of spiritual concepts in images because they help me to understand God’s mysteries.
It was Andrew Murray (1828 – 1917) South African Christian pastor and prolific writer that helped me to see human beings as God’s chalice.
In order for the Chalice to truly serve God it must be consecrated to Him (i.e., it must be fully dedicated to Him) and it must be clean and empty.
The spiritual journey begins as we detach ourselves from the things and people that stand in God’s Holy Way. The cleansing of our lives is the work of the grace of Jesus Christ. The Blood of Jesus atones (i.e., pays the price) for our sins and purifies our lives if we are open to God’s love.
The clean, empty Chalice is the contrite, humble soul that has been reconciled to God and bows down to the greatness of God’s omnipotence praying for God’s grace.
God answers the prayers of the humble and contrite by sending His Holy Spirit to fill the soul with His divine love.
The chalice or human soul that is ready to truly serve God is:
- Empty (detached from sin)
- Clean (reconciled to God and purified through the Blood of Jesus)
- Filled by the power of the Holy Spirit (God’s Love)
It almost sounds simple!
What gets in the way is SELF!
Human beings have a natural tendency to focus on Me, Myself and I. A focus on SELF leads to SELFISHNESS NOT INTIMACY WITH GOD.
The only way to become intimate with God is to choose to FOCUS ON GOD.
THE HOLY TRINITY ‘FATHER, SON AND HOLY SPIRIT’ MUST TAKE THE PLACE OF THE UNHOLY TRINITY ‘ME, MYSELF AND I’ FOR INTIMACY WITH GOD TO BEGIN.
God says “Be holy, because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:16
Holiness is God’s infinite moral perfection. God perfects human beings, in so far as we allow God to live in us and transform us, enabling us to understand and do His Holy Will.
The Chalice that belongs to God is the human soul fully surrendered and dedicated to God for His pure pleasure. God Himself empties and cleans His Chalice/Temple and enters in to fill it with His love and grace, through the power of His Holy Spirit.
Jesus teaches us that “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3
The ‘poor in spirit’ are the ‘humble and contrite’ that are always acknowledging God’s greatness and our infinite need of God’s grace.
To be poor in spirit is to surrender our ‘free will’ to ‘God’s will’ allowing God to become ‘King’ in our lives.
If ‘Self’ is ‘King’ then all ‘free will’ is focused on ‘ME, MYSELF AND I’.
If ‘God is King’ in our lives, then all ‘free will’ is focused on doing God’s Holy Will as we strive to please and honour the Holy Trinity ‘FATHER, SON AND HOLY SPIRIT’.
BEING ONE WITH GOD REQUIRES FOCUS AND PERSEVERANCE
Successful students are the ones that listen to their teachers and focus on doing what their instructors teach. Successful Disciples of Christ listen to Him and focus on doing what Jesus teaches.
Intimacy with God requires an understanding of God’s Holy Word.
“Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” John 17:17
Intimacy with God requires much prayer and contemplation to hear God’s Voice speaking in our heart, guiding our lives one day-at-a-time.
I try to live my life with a focus on pleasing Jesus, one day-at-a-time. In fact, I mentioned I like images to help me to understand and focus on spiritual concepts. I like to think of each day as an opportunity to paint a ‘spiritual canvass’ with Jesus. I strive to give God glory each day by doing whatever I am doing for God’s pleasure. I am not always successful. Sometimes I feel like my daily canvass gets ‘muddied up’ with some sort of frustration, but I don’t get too discouraged because I know Jesus is always ready to forgive, ‘cleansing His chalice’ all over again.
BEING ONE WITH GOD REQUIRES SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT AND PRAYER
“You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.” Psalm 45:7
Joy and peace are the fruits of a life dedicated to God’s glory. I believe that our world is full of anxiety because society is pursuing many things that are wicked.
God calls the ‘humble and contrite’ to understand His Holy Will and embrace His Holy Way. There must be unity between man’s free will and God’s Holy Will for intimacy with God to occur.
I used to work with many ‘swingers’ and I recall one day a man asked me “Do you want to play?”
Well I thought he was asking me out for a game of golf and not being a golfer I said “No I don’t play golf”
Eventually I realized I was being ‘sexually propositioned’. Needless to say ‘casual sex’ and ‘trading spouses’ does not lead to intimacy with God.
Recall the Words of St. Paul:
“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.” 1 Corinthians 3: 16 – 17
God’s Chalice is God’s Temple.
We who choose to belong to God must strive to be pure and there is no room for sexual immorality.
I pray for the conversion of all ‘swingers’ and ‘players’. I pray that they may come to see sexually promiscuity as undignified and unholy and turn away from it.
“Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18
“Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people–none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11
BEING ONE WITH GOD REQUIRES WORSHIP AND THANKSGIVING
When we attend Mass and receive the Holy Eucharist we must remember that we are truly receiving the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus so we can receive the Sacrament with reverence and awe. Remember St. Paul cautioning the first believers of Christ: “For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.” 1 Corinthians 11:29
BEING ONE WITH GOD REQUIRES CHARITY
As we become ONE with God, God’s concerns for His people must become ours. We must devote ourselves to doing what we can to alleviate human suffering. As a family we have had the privilege of sponsoring some African children so they can go to school. We pay their school fees and they keep thanking us for the privilege of education with the most heartfelt letters. Glory to God! May our lives and money give God glory. “Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses.” Proverbs 28:27
BEING ONE WITH GOD RESTORES OUR SOULS
“He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.” Psalm 23:2-3
If we want to be ‘spiritual intimate’ with God, then we must get to know Our Crucified Lord. His Sacrifice must always (in my humble opinion) be on our minds. The power of His Blood doesn’t just cleanse us of our sins it destroys the power of sin in our lives. When we are always mindful of the Passion of Christ, our fear of offending Jesus who suffered so much to save us keeps us from falling into temptation.
There is too much violence and sin in our world and if we are truly people of faith, hope and love we must step up to our Christian responsibility to pray for all souls to be saved.
So I invite you to join a Christian peace movement that will change your life.
This peace movement is giving glory to Our Holy Lord Jesus by uniting believers at the Foot of the Cross of Jesus each and every day @ the Time Jesus died for us, 3pm (in our local time zones). At this time we remember the Passion of Christ and we pray for the Holy Spirit to enter our hearts and our world to silence the power of the evil one.
If 3pm locally is not a good time to stop and pray then enter another time zone that works for you. Maybe your 3pm will be 9pm – Remember the devil will always inspire excuses but God will help you to remember how much He loves you. Remember Jesus suffering on the Cross to save you and never let that image leave your mind.
Of course we rejoice in the Resurrection of Jesus, but let’s never forget the price of our salvation and let’s fulfill the instructions of Christ: “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” Matthew 5:44
Intimacy with God requires much prayer, much faith, enduring hope and endless love. All these things are possible for the ‘humble and contrite’ that call on the Name of the Lord Jesus. Save us Oh Lord!
“Sing the praises of the LORD, you his faithful people; praise his holy name.” Psalm 30:4