In the Fall of 1961 I made a Bible teaching itinerary all over the USA. I met a lady named Kay back East and she was one of the most radiant Christians I've ever met. She shared her testimony with me on how she found "spiritual reality" in her life.
Kay grew up in a conservative denomination which has its share of "rules and regulations" as well as having a heavy emphasis on doctrinal correctness. She went through all of the "forms and motions" of her inherited religion without much thought. After she got into adult life she discovered that her life was lacking meaning and purpose. She decided to either find some reality to this "God thing" that had always been with her or simply discard it as being useless and outmoded. So she made a definite commitment to "give God a fair chance" before throwing her faith out the window totally. She decided that she would spend a lot of time with the Bible and other spiritual writings of her church. As I recall, I think she devoted two hours daily to a diligent study of the Bible along with these other books, some of which were fairly heavy theology. Within a very short time after she began her diligent search for God she began to sense a deep spiritual fulfillment that had never been hers before. She found reality in the faith she grew up with and remained in it but from a totally different perspective. I can tell you for sure that Kay clearly showed in her life the fruits of the Holy Spirit and that peace that comes from knowing God personally. There is a big difference between having a personal walk with God and just merely going through the forms of some religious system. Kay found new life. I met her again in 1970 when I was in another area back East where she had relocated and had established a very successful secretarial business. She was the same radiant person, glowing with the joy that there is when a person comes to experience the Presence of God.
I believe that all who are sensing emptiness in their lives and want inner fulfillment and meaning can find it but that effort has to be put forth. Most of the time "quickie" conversions are shallow and don't last through the storms of life. Note these Bible verses regarding this point (all emphasis is supplied):
29But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.
10For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
24Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.
6But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Please note that there are conditions for finding God personally, for discovering spiritual reality. I believe that if we are wanting something more in our lives than what is available through the channels of material sense that we must get busy and ask, seek, knock, search diligently, and mean it with all of our hearts. Just imagine what could happen if even a small fraction of the effort that is put into materialistic and fleshly pursuits were put into the search for inner peace and spiritual reality. People will make practically any effort to accumulate more money and material possessions and yet they are always wanting more and more. They are forever seeking but not finding what they need the most-inner peace and fulfillment. When a person really finds that fulfillment in God, which I believe is the greatest treasure that anyone can ever discover, he will not be endlessly searching for "something" and never satisfied. There really is nothing more to be had or ever experienced that could equal the sense of God's Presence.
Let's consider carefully the divine invitation in these selected scripture passages.
An Invitation to Abundant Life
A Free Offer of Mercy, Peace and Spiritual Fulfillment to All
"Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters;
And you who have no money,
Come, buy and eat.
Yes, come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without price.
2Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And let your soul delight itself in abundance.
11You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
35And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.
The Promise of the Holy Spirit
37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water."
10The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
11"These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.
18And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit.
17And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" And Let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
Notice in Ephesians 5:18 as quoted above that the alternative to being "drunk with wine" is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Those who find their fulfillment in knowing God are set free from the addictions that plague human beings. They don't need to always be looking for another thrill, a "fix" of some kind for in God that big empty hole is filled to overflowing.
The real search for
all people is for God. They may think they are looking for other things, but
they must eventually admit that it is God they seek.
[This was written on July 17, 2005 and is part of an ongoing series. All Bible quotes are from the New King James Version. I welcome responses from readers. Let me know if you want to be on my email list.