Jesus came out of the wilderness with all sorts of clarity about his identity and calling. He was grounded. Centered. In touch with God and himself. From that place of emotional equilibrium and spiritual succor, he knew precisely what to say yes to and, just as importantly, what to say no to. Hence: as the Gospels go on, you quickly realize the quiet place was top priority for Jesus.
When Christians value the Father more for what He can do for them than for intimacy and love, they eventually begin to seek to fulfill their own selfish desires rather than enjoy the relationship they have with God. Then, in order to fill the void that has been created, they seek comfort or identity in one or more of the counterfeit affections—power, possessions, position, people, places, performance, or passions of the flesh. This vicious cycle can continue until they realize that what they are lusting for will not satisfy them and that they have an unmet need for love and intimacy that only Father God’s embrace can fulfill.
The Lord wants to be pursued. He searches for people whose hearts are fully devoted to Him to share His secrets with, to share His glorious presence with, to reveal Himself to. Nothing matters like the Presence. Not position, not applause of men, not the fame of this world. None of it matters. Pursue the Presence and never let something else satisfy.
The presence and the manifestation of the presence are not the same. There can be the one without the other. God is here when we are wholly unaware of it. He is manifest only when and as we are aware of His presence. On our part there must be surrender to the Spirit of God, for His work it is to show us the Father and the Son. If we cooperate with Him in loving obedience, God will manifest Himself to us, and that manifestation will be the difference between a nominal Christian life and a life radiant with the light of His face.
To be used of God. Is there anything more encouraging, more fulfilling? Perhaps not, but there is something more basic: to meet with God. To linger in His presence, to shut out the noise of the city and, in quietness, give Him the praise He deserves. Before we engage ourselves in His work, let’s meet Him in His Word… in prayer… in worship.
It is in the deepest darkness of the starless midnight that men learn how to hold on to the hidden Hand most tightly and how that Hand holds them; that He sees where we do not, and knows the way He takes; and though the way be to us a roundabout way, it is the right way.
There are diversities of operations, but it is the same breath of God, which sometimes blows in the softest pianissimo that scarcely rustles the summer woods in the leafy month of June, and sometimes storms in wild tempest that dashes the seas against the rocks. So this mighty life-giving Agent moves in gentleness and yet in power, and sometimes swells and rises almost to tempest, but is ever the impelling force of all that is strong and true and fair in Christian hearts and lives.