I have met many people who told me of their lifelong heart toward God. Many people, as young children, felt a love for God and a desire to know Him. Others talk of the childhood experience of looking into at starry sky or at the ocean and knowing that a Creator made these things and that they want to be close to that Creator.
Of course, there are others who seem to have no inclination toward God and who resent the idea of having to give honour to God.
When the final reckoning is made the great divide will separate those whose heart is to follow God, like sheep, and those who resist and resent God, like goats.
“All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates his sheep from the goats.” Matthew 25:32
Those who love and seek God are delighted when God is near. Those who resist and resent God react to God’s presence.
There are vocal atheists who proclaim the world will be better without belief in God. Many of those actively campaign against the Bible and faith in God. It is a passion they devote time and energy to.
Yet there are others who are less vocal, but who persist in wanting to do their own thing their own way, without God’s interference.
My attention here, however, is on those tender hearted ones whose heart is open to God, and who are hungry for God. The response of such people is to be delighted when they can approach God and find Him.
The example that comes to mind is that of the Disciple Thomas. He had been with Jesus and seen many miracles and heard Jesus’ teaching. Yet when Jesus was crucified Thomas lost heart and could not believe Jesus would rise from the dead.
Jesus did rise and met with the other disciples, but Thomas was absent. When the others told Thomas they had seen the Lord, Thomas was unconvinced.
“Thomas, the twin, one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. The disciples told him, We have seen the Lord. But he replied, Except I see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.” John 20:24,25
Eight days later Jesus again appeared to His disciples and this time Thomas was with them.
“Then Jesus said to Thomas, Put forth your finger and behold my hands; and reach out your hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.” John 20:27
We refer to Thomas as ‘Doubting Thomas’ because he did not believe the other disciples. But we get a glimpse into his heart when he responds to seeing Jesus. Thomas is confronted with evidence that Jesus has risen from the dead and he quickly welcomes this wonderful revelation.
“Thomas replied, My Lord and my God!” John 20:28
It is a wonderful thing to discover God. And it’s a wonderful thing to sense that we know Him. Those who tell me of their childhood sense of loving God often tell of the great comfort and sweetness they found in feeling close to God.
Then in the lives of others who find faith later in life there is the repeated note of how wonderful it is to connect with God.
That connection truly is amazing. We, mere humans, with all our messes, failures and weaknesses, get adopted into God’s family and are brought close to God. We are made clean and brought to life on the inside. We are in relationship with God and Christ. God’s Holy Spirit comes to us and lives within us.
For all those who love God and have an open heart toward Him those things are delightful. To those who wish to live without God in their life each of those things is unwanted.
Some, like me as I grew up, have a mixed heart. I went to church and knew about God, and I would rather go to heaven than to hell, but I didn’t really want God to be the main focus of my life. I thought having God around might spoil my enjoyment of life and make me live a life I wouldn’t like. So I tried to keep in good with God on one hand, and keep God at a distance on the other. I wanted the best of what God offered, but I wanted the best this life offered as well.
I remember often feeling like I was a completely unworthy Christian. The idea was that if there were not enough seats on the bus to heaven I would be asked to step off the bus, because I wasn’t a very good Christian.
What transformed my walk with God was the discovery in my teenage years that God actually loved me and wants the best for me. And that I can encounter God and enjoy His power and truth at work in my life. The Charismatic Revival days showed us that God answers prayer, rescues His people, gives amazing gifts of the Holy Spirit to people, works miracles and speaks personally into our lives.
When I met God in that context I realised that following God is not a matter of religion and restriction, but of a vital, living relationship with the most powerful entity in eternity. The delight which opened to me drew me to God and led me to abandon more and more of my fearful and selfish ways, to enjoy God in this life and for eternity.
Now I have no problem coming to God as My Lord and My God.
So, for you, whether you always had a heart after God, or didn’t have God in your thinking, or were religious, or even a God resister, let me assure you that God loves you and your greatest delight is to know Him.
I urge you to open your heart to God, and, like one of the sheep in His flock, receive God and Jesus, saying My Lord and My God.