by Peter Swann
A. W. Tozer once wrote, “The world is perishing for lack of the knowledge of God and the church is famishing for want of His presence.”
The former we claim to know, the latter we fail to grasp. Both have huge implications for the way in which we live.
And to a significant degree, the latter informs the former. It is through our time with God that we gain His heart for the world. It is His pursuing, driving, overwhelming desire for relationship with humankind that ignites an urgency in us for all to know Him.
That being the case, it’s our time with Him that is the key. And that’s true not only for transformation in others, but also for transformation in ourselves. We are called to transformation ourselves, and to nurture transformation in others. That’s what discipleship is all about. And there’s no better way to bring it about than to spend time in the presence of the Lord.
Nothing is guaranteed to change us like time in His presence. Nothing changes us deeper, and nothing changes us more permanently. It’s impossible to be with Him and not be changed.
And so, if we want a little change, we spend a little time with God. If we want a lot of change, we spend a lot of time with God. It’s that simple.
And yet, it doesn’t feel that simple. We are “famishing for want of His presence” because although we claim to value time with Him, it’s rarely reflected in our lives. And much contributes to this. The enemy is intent against our most important relationship in life, so spiritual warfare is a key. So is the hectic pace of life. And so is a legalistic approach that pushes us to spend time together, rather than a love for Him that irresistibly draws us to it.
So, it’s time for the church to pray. We must pray against spiritual attack that counters our time with God. We must pray for right priorities and discipline. And we must pray for a love for God and time with Him that consumes all else.
There is rich fruit in this. A taste of God’s presence is a taste of heaven. We are changed in the process, and our lives will never be the same. No podcasts, accountability groups, or conferences can nearly do what this can do. If God is the most important thing to us, then time with Him is the most important thing to us.
So it’s simple, yet profound. We want it, yet must fight for it. It’s time to pray. And fast. And run with all we have for that which matters most.
Our lives will never be the same.