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Directionally Challenged

How are you with directions?  I am not talking about instructions for making a pie or building a bird house.  I am referring to your ability to visualize spatially where things are.

Take for instance where you are sitting, lying, or standing this moment.  Are you facing north? Do you know which way to move if you were asked to walk to the nearest grocery store? Can you point toward the continent of Australia?

Allow me to ask one more question to see if you are directionally challenged.

When I mention the name of God, which direction do you think of Him being?  My guess is you are like me and the first thought was Up.  If you did then you are directionally challenged.

Tozer pointed this out to me in his book, The Pursuit of God, when he wrote this:

What now does the divine immanence mean in direct Christian experience? It means simply that God is here. Wherever we are, God is here. There is no place, there can be no place, where He is not. Ten million intelligences standing at as many points in space and separated by incomprehensible distances can each one say with equal truth, God is here. No point is nearer to God than any other point. It is exactly as near to God from any, place as it is from any other place. No one is in mere distance any further from or any nearer to God than any other person is.

These are truths believed by every instructed Christian. It remains for us to think on them and pray over them until they begin to glow within us.

“In the beginning God.” Not matter, for matter is not self-causing. It requires an antecedent cause, and God is that Cause. Not law, for law is but a name for the course which all creation follows. That course had to be planned, and the Planner is God. Not mind, for mind also is a created thing and must have a Creator back of it. In the beginning God, the uncaused Cause of matter, mind and law. There we must begin.

Adam sinned and, in his panic, frantically tried to do the impossible: he tried to hide from the Presence of God. David also must have had wild thoughts of trying to escape from the Presence, for he wrote, “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?” Then he proceeded through one of his most beautiful psalms to celebrate the glory of the divine immanence. “If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.” And he knew that God’s being and God’s seeing are the same, that the seeing Presence had been with him even before he was born, watching the mystery of unfolding life. Solomon exclaimed, “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold the heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee: how much less this house which I have builded.” Paul assured the Athenians that “God is not far from any one of us: for in him we live, and move, and have our being.”

I would add that Paul also wrote the following words in his letter to the Philippians, “The Lord is near!”

I was challenged by these thoughts today when I looked for the application of these words from both scripture and a wise man.  If I get my directions straight and realize that God is not Up but Here, how would that impact the way I live?

How would it impact the way you live?

Tozer wrote these words to go along with these thoughts:

Men do not know that God is here. What a difference it would make if they knew.

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  1. November 18, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Great thoughts today Tony! I know I need to be looking UP more often instead of down, around or inside. Thanks for the challenge my friend.

    • November 18, 2010 at 11:53 am

      Bill… I think you may have missed the point of the post. God is Here. We don’t have to think of there being a gulf of space between us and Him as ‘looking up’ tends to indicate.

      If God is WITH us and we perceive that reality, how different will we act or react versus thinking of Him as distant?

  2. November 18, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    Great thoughts Tony…although for some weird reason my thought was “forward” when you asked what direction I thought God was in. I need to make sure I’m fully awake before reading your posts. 🙂

  3. Amy
    November 18, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    He is here! Hallelujah!!! We would most likely never be the same if we really got a hold of this. I definitely think of God being “up” and probably far away, but it’s true that is not what the Bible teaches…I wonder what leads us to think of Him that way? Maybe it is the way we view the Holy Trinity…? God in heaven, Jesus at His right hand, and the Holy Spirit in us. We seperate them and do not view them as one? I don’t know, but I am thankful for being pointed in the right direction today.

    • November 18, 2010 at 6:15 pm

      I think it begins as simple conditioning in our youth or formative Christian years. We ask where heaven is and are given vague representations that it is up in the sky somewhere. And then ask where God lives and we are told He lives in Heaven.. so if Heaven is above and that is where God lives, then He must be above as well. So directionally we begin to view Him above.

      Then as we read and explore the idea of God we learn that He is above His creation and watches over us which, when viewed in our direction paradigm, reinforces the thought that He is in the sky somewhere. But, I think that OVER and ABOVE are not about physical position but about degree, authority, or ’causeness’ as Tozer mentions in his book. God is antecedent to creation… He is the force behind it and that which holds it together.

      Kinda like I am over my children as their parent. That ‘overness’ is not physical position but hierarchical.

      So… in our minds we still cling on to God’s placement as being directional instead of relational awareness. Because our minds are ‘broken’ in this manner, we fix a gulf between us and God by which we believe we can hide behind (as Adam did in the Garden) or miss out on the relational blessings of being in His presence. The book, The Pursuit of God, gives guidance in becoming aware of these things that separate us from God but also on how to overcome them.

      The great thing about the book is you can read it for free at: http://www.worldinvisible.com/library/tozer/5f00.0888/5f00.0888.c.htm

  4. November 25, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Honestly, my first response in “within”… but I don’t know how to translate that into a direction?

  5. November 30, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    I have always been blessed by AW Tozer. If you get the chance, there are recording of him preaching on Sermonaudio.com. His message on the resurrection says more in 17 minutes than many say in an hour.

    Have you read anything by Francis Schaeffer? I would recommend
    The God Who Is There; and; He Is There And He Is Not Silent. Both are good challenging reads.

    • December 1, 2010 at 1:30 am

      Thanks, Scott.. and yes, I have listened to many sermons at SermonAudio. I have heard a lot about Francis Schaeffer but have not had the opportunity to read any of his works. A good friend of mine enjoys him very much, I may have to ask to borrow a book or two some time soon.

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