Last night I went on a date with my husband. Over dinner we discussed some attributes of God, and some things He is doing in, showing, and teaching us right now. By the end of dinner I felt literally intoxicated by the presence of God... pretty much equivalent to having had a glass of wine. I felt peaceful, joyful, relaxed, a complete patience love grace and gentleness for all people, keenly aware of God, and and who I am in Him, and even a little silly/ goofy and not quite as functional and "with it" as I normally am.
This intoxication is something that I've only felt a few times before, usually following an intense worship experience. It is something that Jeremy has started to experience very often lately, frequently solely the result of discussing God and His ways. Many times Jeremy has had someone at his office, and by the end of their meeting both parties feel very intoxicated simply as a result of discussing God, and Him changing the entire atmosphere. Most of the people who have experienced this with Jeremy have never even been exposed to stuff/experiences like this before or even had a grid for this stuff.
When Jeremy first started telling me about these experiences it offended my mind... or more accurately, the religious mindset I was operating in. I thought that it just sounded weird... like something those super weird and "out there" Christians would say, you know, the Christians that there are documentaries about that basically make them look crazy... and I am not one of "those" people. I was responding to what Jeremy would say to me with doubts in my mind and not in faith. I was thinking things like "that can't be true". And then it happened to me... huh. God does that a lot. He takes something I feel/ believe and gives me an experience that is exactly opposite... and therefore wrecks my theology (like He did with speaking in tongues).
Some of the thoughts I would think in reaction to Jeremy's stories of these experiences would be things like; "is this even okay", "is it okay to enjoy God?", "why would God give us experiences solely for our pleasure, doesn't this seem un-spiritual or unlike the God that has been portrayed to me?".
Now looking back, it seems funny to me typing those questions... of course it's "okay" to enjoy God! I think that line of thinking just reveals how deeply religious and sterile my understanding of God was, and how incorrect my definition of "spiritual" was. It reveals my misconception that Holy means joyless, sterile, orderly and more. It reveals the way I compartmentalized fun and recreation and God and spiritual... believing these things didn't coexist. When of course they do, God created fun, recreation, pleasure and enjoyment... He is those things, it is His nature!
Verses like the one below, are coming alive to me in a whole new sense now.
Luke 11:13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”I've always known that God gives us good gifts, and read this verse through the lens of provision, of Him giving me things to enjoy. When really, that is out of context, right in the verse it talks about THE gift of the Spirit... and now I'm starting to understand that the Spirit is for our enjoyment.
I still don't have an answer as to whether God gives us these experiences solely for our enjoyment, but I have come to realize that He is love, joy, hope, peace etc. and before we can overflow with these attributes to others, that we first have to be filled with them ourselves. I have come to realize that He is these things, and He is in me, so it is my nature to be those things also... anything contrary is not my nature now. I have come to realize that I am an agent of these attributes to others, on His behalf, so while it is a by-product that I get to enjoy them myself, that He has purposed me to minister Himself (love, hope, joy, peace etc.) to everyone I encounter.
God is blowing my mind today and taking me to a whole new level of realizing who He is and what a life lived in communion with Him looks like. As I type this I am driving my husband crazy with just how elated, enthusiastic, and joyful I am at 4 in the morning, bouncing around the house with a spring in my step, just so excited to be awake, and to be able to enjoy God. It's like I have come alive in a whole new way and my senses are being awakened and I just can't contain the excitement within me, it is bubbling up out of me.
Shouldn't that be how we, the church, are? Shouldn't we be so excited about God and so filled with Him that we can't contain it, and it is contagious to everyone we encounter? Isn't that a picture of a Christianity that would change the lives of those who encounter it leaving people completely different, and transforming their circumstances and the world around them?
I hope that you spend some time truly enjoying your Creator today friends!