For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened" (Romans 1:21).
I have been thinking a lot lately about how darkened my heart feels when I am out of His fellowhsip. No I’m not backslidden….I haven’t stopped praying …I haven’t fallen into any secret sin. Noneless, I feel my heart growing darker...am I only warming myself at His radiance? Am I growing used to coming and going, in and out of His presence?... I don’t want to live that way, but I fear I am quite capable of surviving at such a sub-level existence.
In the past I have come to be comfortable and even to consider it a normal state to be bathed in His presence, to walk continously in His light. I have lived in the midst of His people and in the midst of that city where scripture says there is no night nor need of the sun for the Lamb is the light….It is a very bright and transparent place to be and it is quite difficult for darkness to reside in such a place. From my experience, it is not somewhere that is easily found inside any church door but once discovered, it is a place of incredible Life, of immersion into Christ, a place to be permeated with the originator of Light. An amazing place to live, one that I could not begin to describe here but that truly does exists. I have dwelt there and known Him in a deep and living way, eventually almost taking His light for granted.
I can’t go into detail here but circumstances have caused me to live in that realm less and less. I have carried that light with me...out in to the wide world…far away from the walls of that city and for a time all is well… the light doesn’t go out…it is an eternal flame,... but I can feel it weakening. With little fuel to keep the light burning…my foolish heart becomes more and more darkened over time. I find I can keep the darkness at bay by visiting His house and soaking up His presence on a regular basis or listening to Christian music, or spending time in prayer and study…but I have also discovered…and this through difficult personal experience, that coming together with other believers isn’t enough, hearing stirring words of exhortation isn’t enough, listening to Christian music isn’t sufficient, although it helps to drive the darkness away for a time. Praying isn’t the same either, my spirit seems to be quiet and shy as if it has forgotten how to communicte. So unlike the self I am when I am immersed in His light.
Too often these days I feel as if I am standing outside a warm and inviting home, standing in the light that shines from a window out into the darkness . The light only lasts as long as I stand there in it and when I step away the darkness surrounds me. I desperately want to be inside where the light originates from. Only there am I completely overwhelmed by His presence and my heart is exposed to blinding light. Only in His immediate company can I halt the hardening of my own heart, even reverse it till my heart is soft and pliable again. The curses of humanity fade away in that light, my human nature takes a back seat to His divine nature.
How can I settle for having the light only to shine upon me at intervals? To come and go, in and out of His fellowship?
I cannot!... I must not!
No, to truly live in the Light…I must have His life-giving presence moment by moment, His constant fellowship, internally. Which means I must turn to Him, seek Him out, need Him desperately! (Must -not as in"should" but as in necessary to survive) Only then do I experience His light pouring forth from within my spirit continuously… I must touch Him, know Him, hold onto Him…for without Him I will surely die! I refuse to live in such a place where the light is fleeting and darkness overwhelms my heart. I cannot put into words the reality of Him and the Life that His internal presence brings but I surely recognize when I have not been walking in that reality for a length of time. It is painfully, humanly recognizable. Oh I look the same on the outside, can even spout scripture and pray, sing on the worship team or whatever I need to do to stay warmed at His fire but inside I know the truth…my heart is darkened…and without Him I am, as Paul said “of all men, most miserable”.