A desire to truly experience God runs deep within our veins. However, for most Christians, experiencing God is either elusive and frightening or impossible and improbable. But to the thirsty pilgrim, God’s presence is a wellspring of life. Do we fight for it or let it fade away? Do we contend for a deeper walk with God or complain about our life? Do we pursue God like never before or postpone intimacy?
Psalm 85:6 is the prayer that unlocks the power: “Oh God, we are desperate for more of you. Will you revive us again so that we can rejoice and experience your power and presence in our lives” (paraphrase).
Filling an Empty Vessel
In Ephesians 5:8, Paul tells us to “be filled with the Spirit.” The filling of the Spirit is God’s work, but we must submit by emptying our vessel. There can be many subsequent fillings of the Spirit (cf. Acts 4:8 and Acts 13:9). However, you can’t fill something that is already full — full of self.
We must repent of pride and renounce arrogance.
Isaiah 6 offers an incredible glimpse into this dynamic power and the possibility of truly experiencing God.
Isaiah describes the day that his wonderful experience took place. It was in the year that King Uzziah died. He would never forget that day, and you, too, will never forget the day when God radically fills you with His Spirit or when you return to Him and experience the joy of your salvation again. It’s a true spiritual explosion.
Holy Ground Shakes
Isaiah said that he “saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple” (6:1). What a wonderful picture of His majesty and His power. The size of the train on a robe would often match the authority of the king. God’s train filled the entire temple. What an awesome sight to behold! No better words could have been chosen — God Almighty rules and reigns.
Isaiah also saw amazing six-winged creatures known as seraphim. Their cry should be our cry as well when we truly experience God: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!”
It's not by chance that moral purity encompasses the rhythm of their soul. Of all the attributes of God, holiness is mentioned more frequently than the others. Even the posts of the door of the temple responded to the cry of holiness. So powerful was the declaration that the entire entrance was shaken by the voices who cried, “Holy, holy, holy.” Let those words sink in!
The Missing Ingredient
As the temple shook, the building was completely filled with smoke, possibly representing God’s glory (1 Kings 8:10). Isaiah’s repentant response was entirely appropriate, “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts” (6:5).
Repentance is the missing ingredient in most of our lives. Just as pruning a tree removes branches that stifle growth, deep brokenness and repentance remove the decay in our lives. If we’re not careful, success can assassinate the soul and Bible knowledge can puff us up. As a result, we can easily become prideful and arrogant. If we don’t cry, “Woe is me,” and admit that we are spiritually bankrupt, we will never experience a deep work of God’s Spirit.
When our heart is revived and awakened to the things of God, dead churches and carnal Christians are convicted of their barrenness, and conservatives are deeply challenged by their lack of spiritual depth. Many have head knowledge but not heart knowledge.
How Would You Act if Jesus Walked In?
Contrary to popular belief, if Jesus walked into a church, I doubt that we would applaud His presence. Although that’s not a bad thing, you would probably find yourself in the same position as Isaiah: “Woe is me, for I am undone!”
Our posture would be of complete unworthiness. We would no doubt hit the floor because of adoration and holy fear: “The brightness is blinding; the sound is deafening; the purity is devastating. The lights have been turned on with blazing intensity, and we stand trembling, naked, unclean, and ashamed.” (Dr. Michael L. Brown).
Isaiah saw the King … the Lord of hosts. The word hosts means the “God of the armies of heaven.” What an awesome spiritual experience and perspective. What army can defeat the armies of heaven? What demon can overpower God’s generals? Nothing can defeat God. He is God of the armies of heaven.
A Radically Changed Man
Then one of the seraphim flew to Isaiah, having in his hand a hot coal that he had taken with the tongs from the altar, the same altar on which a sacrifice of atonement was normally made.
The seraphim touched Isaiah’s lips with the hot stone and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged” (6:6). What an awesome gift … the gift of grace! Isaiah’s repentance ushered in God’s powerful presence. There is no doubt that Isaiah was a changed man from that day forward. The word “seraphim” literally means to “set on fire,” and this experience set Isaiah on fire for God.
Recapture the Power of the Spirit
Have you been set on fire for God? If you’ve drifted from Him, simply follow Isaiah’s lead and also declare, “Here I am; send me” (6:8). When Isaiah was rocked and shaken by his complete unworthiness, he finally broke down and repented.
Full surrender is the only way to recapture the power of the Spirit. Like Isaiah, we’ve been bought with a price, and we must surrender to our King’s will.
If you’ve never experienced God before and don’t know Him, take time today and repent and experience the overflowing and cleansing work of God’s Spirit, and you too will say, “My spiritual eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”
Special Note: Watch the message, My Eyes Have Seen the King, by clicking here.
The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of Christian Headlines.
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Shane Idleman is the founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Southern California and the WCF Radio Network. More can be found at ShaneIdleman.com, including free downloads of his eBooks. Visit him on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to his new podcast, Idleman Unplugged. You can also follow Pastor Shane on the new free speech platform Parler.