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How infinitely richer this direct, first-hand grasping of God Himself is, than the old method which I used and recommended for years, the reading of endless devotional books … the very Bible cannot be read as a substitute for meeting God soul to soul and face to face.
Frank Laubach, in “Letters of a Modern Mystic”.
Seems Sensible Enough
Why should we presume that we cannot or should not access God directly and personally, but others can, and can be expected to (those who write devotionals in devotional books, or written prayers in prayer books)?
What kind of Gospel is that? It offers the actual presence of the Spirit ONLY (or mostly) to some distinguished, published persons, a small minority – certainly not to all, and certainly not to me.
Not only that, but devotional books tend – I suppose are required – to be simplifications, domestications, pre-chewed. They ARE encouraging and uplifting to certain people in certain situations – especially, no doubt, those who have neither time nor gift nor training, but especially no time, for more rigorous reading. But the point here is that the “soul to soul, face to face” meeting with God does NOT depend on having a lot of time, or a lot of training, or a bookish approach to life. Not at all
John Wesley agrees With Frank Laubach
Hypocrisy then, or insincerity, is the first thing we are to guard against in prayer. Beware not to speak what thou dost not mean. Prayer is the lifting up of the heart to God. All words of prayer, without this, are mere hypocrisy. Whenever therefore thou attemptest to pray, see that it be Thy one design to commune with God, to lift up thy heart to Him, to pour out thy soul before Him.
John Wesley, “Fifty-Three Sermons,” Sermon XXI on the Sermon on the Mount. Mt 6:1-15.
The Greatest Calling of All
But even all those of us who are pressed for time and are very unlikely to ever write a devotional book – which is most of us – all of us are still
objects of the greatest calling of all!
- Personal closeness to God
- Personal present participation in the Spirit or, from the other point of view,
- Being a place, a specific location, of the Personal Presence of God, IN human life, IN this human world.
This happens widely
- all over
- in all kinds of cultures,
- all kinds of educational attainments or lack thereof,
- all kinds of financial or class or social situations,
- all IQs,
- all religions,
- all relational or psychological backgrounds
- ALL of us.
All over, real human individuals find this PERSONAL experience of, awareness of,
- the Creator,
- the Creation,
- the Spirit,
- the World Soul,
- the Great Spirit,
- the Pure joy,
- the Great Power of God,
- the Living Christ,
- the Way,
- the Thou,
- the Luminous
This is available to you, and to me.
God Wants It
This God wills, and labors for. This “soul to soul” and “face to face” is truly and fully available to all. It may be frightening. It may not be “safe” – but it is GOOD. And in fact it is safe.How infinitely richer this direct, first-hand grasping of God Himself is, than the old method, the reading of endless devotional books.Click To Tweet