Notes on Francis Chan’s
Chapter 5: A Real Relationship
“While Jesus didn’t have to deal with emails, voice mails, or texts, He certainly understood what it meant to have multitudes of people pursuing Him at once. At any given moment of the day, people were looking for Jesus. Because of the priority of His relationship with His Father, He found ways to escape. He took the time to focus and be quiet (Mark 1:35). He was willing to remove Himself from people’s reach in order to pray and commune with God the Father. Our lack of intimacy often is due to our refusal to unplug and shut off communication from all others so we can be alone with Him.
-Francis Chan, Forgotten God, page 109
Why might I not be experiencing intimacy with the Holy Spirit? Chan suggests that one reason might be the loudness of our lives.
It’s funny–the very night I first read this chapter (before I read it), I was settling into my bathwater, singing a song of worship to the Lord and picking up a book to read, when I experienced that little nudge in my soul. “Don’t read, Rebekah. Just spend some time with Me.”
I was sorely tempted to disobey. I’d been so busy that day. I hadn’t had any time for pleasure reading. Bath time was my time–to relax and to read a book.
But I reminded myself that I’d said I wanted the Spirit. And if I truly want the Spirit, I must be obedient when He speaks.
I set the book down and spent the next twenty minutes or so in prayer–just communing with God and enjoying His presence. It was wonderful.
How often, I wonder, does the Holy Spirit speak to me, urging me into relationship with Him? How often do I ignore or not even hear His still small voice, so consumed am I with my blogs and books and papers to write and grade? How often do I rush through our morning breakfast date (I spend time in the Word over breakfast every morning) because I want to get on with my day?
Jesus, for all His busyness and all the demands on His time, made time to be alone with God.
If I truly desire the Spirit of God to be active in my life, I must be willing to rearrange my schedule, to make time to be still with Him.
**Let me make clear–there is no way that you or I can make the Holy Spirit move in our lives. The truth is that if you are a child of God, your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. He dwells within you. But I believe that by our hardheartedness we can ignore the Holy Spirit–leading to a failure to experience His presence (even though He is present). Thus, the failure to experience the Holy Spirit is not the Holy Spirit’s failure to be present–but our failure to be sensitized to His presence. The disciplines of the Christian life, including that of stillness, can serve to sensitize our eyes and our hearts so that we can see and feel the Holy Spirit’s presence.**
(See more notes on Forgotten God here.)