And so we conclude our weekly foray into Richard Foster’s fine book as we started by rehearsing the the Immanuel principle means to us as we attempt to live it out. Life With God began by reminding us of a truth that we all know on the periphery of our consciousness but often fail to bring to the center of our lives; God is with us. In that intimate presence he extends a hand and asks, ‘will you be with me?’ Our choice is to partake of the stream of grace that is offered, to imbibe of it, to allow it to infuse our core and transform us such that we love God and love others more than we are ever able to comprehend on our own.
Or we can ignore it and spend the precious currency of our lives living on the edges of the grace. We can acknowledge that God is near but never truly see him as present and thereby lose out on the power of a grace filled life. This is biological life … it is not life in full!
The central theme of LWG is that we read the Bible not just for information but to discover the relationship with God that we can have. Our hearts and minds are stretched to greater realization as we see how the relationship has touched other humans for the centuries before we arrived on the scene. We read to know God, not just know of Him. In return, God speaks to us individually through His Word. He offers comfort, guidance, instruction, wisdom – anything we need so long as we hear his voice as we read His story.
There is a risk in exploring spiritual formation through the Bible that derives from our brokenness. The risk is that we try to do something rather than resting in the grace offered. Jesus pointed this out to the Pharisees:
You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. (Jn 5:39-40)
The Bible is not the source of life, its author is. When we read for spiritual growth, we read to know the author the words. May He bless us in our efforts and help us to understand it is not for our efforts.