This summer I read Knowledge of the Holy by A. W. Tozer. If you haven’t read it you must. Once you finish it go ahead and read everything else by Tozer too. His words are rich. Every sentence in his writings drip with truth, depth, and beauty.
But that’s not the point. The point is that as I read this book over the summer I have come to realize the complete otherness of God. Tozer begins with the question, “What is God like?,” and then says:
This book is an attempt to answer that question. Yet at the outset I must acknowledge that it cannot be answered except to say that God is not like anything; that is, He is not exactly like anything or anybody.
In other words, God is totally and entirely other.
That is in chapter two. Every chapter that follows explores this otherness of God. It is on this truth that my heart and mind have dwelt this summer.
At the beginning of June I heard from one of the guys in the youth group I interned at last summer. He had come to Kadesh, the high school camp at ACU. In short, his life was being rocked by Jesus through the camp. This was incredible and exciting news to me because I remember getting to know him last summer. I could see a total transformation in him. His heart had been taken captive by Jesus Christ.
I remember going to Kadesh myself. It is an incredible place. Life transformation happens there. Not because summer camps are the answer to everything, but because it is a place that is devoted to seeking Jesus and serving others. The camp is entirely outward focused. Because of this the dirt and filth of life come spilling out and the love of Jesus takes its place. Kadesh has multiple times of corporate worship, teaching, and small group discussion. The campers pour themselves out in service projects throughout Abilene every day. And every night concludes with a time of worship in the amphitheater at ACU. Outside, under the stars, singing praises to God. It is truly beautiful. And God meets people there.
I came to find out that on the last day of camp this guy was going to be baptized. He had decided to follow Jesus in baptism and commit his life to following Christ. I decided to go. I met him and his small group at Jacob’s Dream where he would be baptized. There was excitement among them as they approached the pool, as he got in, made his confession, and was baptized. This was a sign of newness.
After the baptism the group went to the amphitheater for the evening worship. I joined them for it. Small groups slowly accumulated in the amphitheater. Worship began as the sun went down. Songs were raised high along with hands of praise to God. I looked around and saw a couple hundred teenagers experiencing the God of the universe. It was beautiful. I was reminded of my time in the very same place only a few years ago. What struck me through all of this is that this moment, for some of these teenagers, was their very first time to really experience the Lord. I was observing not only a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit but, for many of these teenagers, an initial outpouring. It was unspeakably beautiful.
I saw how new, how fresh, and how awesome the Lord was to these kids who were seeing him for the first time and I began to realize how old and boring my faith had become. It is so easy to become familiar and comfortable in our faith that we lose an awe of God. What a sad thing the human heart is, that it could grow weary of the eternal God.
As many of you know, I went to Africa this summer. There are many stories to be told and testimonies to be shared. But from all of those experiences, I returned from Africa with a broader vision of the Kingdom of God.
After returning I was thinking of all the places I’ve been: Honduras, Mexico, Africa…and on and on. But then I stopped and realized how shallow I was thinking. I’ve been to Africa: check! Really? In reality, I’ve been to a country in Africa: Uganda. And really, I’ve been to a city in a country in Africa: Gulu. And really, I’ve only been to a side of a city in a country in Africa—perhaps I shouldn’t be so hasty to just check Africa off the list.
As I was going through all of this I began to think of the Kingdom of God. You know, I thought, it’s the same in the Kingdom. I so easily become comfortable with my citizenship in heaven. I think to myself, I’ve lived in the Kingdom for quite some time now. Surely I know the Kingdom of God. But in reality the Kingdom of God is no different than Africa. I have seen only a portion of his Kingdom. I have dwelt in only a minute corner of his Eternal Land. The Kingdom of God is so much broader than I’ve seen or experienced. There is so much more of God’s character to know and to see. He is eternal and his Kingdom is infinite. I will forever continue to explore the beauty of his Kingdom. It is a journey. It is an adventure. And God will walk with me hand in hand every step of the way, showing me more and more of his beautiful Kingdom. This is life.
We so easily become comfortable with our familiar corner of the Kingdom that we miss the adventure. We so quickly become bored with our faith that we lose an awe of God. Let our hearts not grow weary, but remain enthralled in the beauty of the God who made the heavens and the earth! The moment your heart becomes bored in the familiarity of God you must remember how entirely other he is. He is not like us that he grows old.
He is eternal and his Kingdom is infinite. Always fresh. Always new. Always incredible. Always inspiring.