CALL TO OBEDIENCE #254
Reimar A.C. Schultze
"The Experience You Are Looking For"
By Pastor Reimar Schultze
Today, I am writing to the seekers after deeper experiences, the seekers for a deeper life with God, the seekers for an intimacy with God that they have heard others speak of, yet an intimacy that has eluded them to this very day. Today, I am speaking to the thousands, if not millions, of Christians who have been born of God, who are earnest in prayer, in Bible study, and in service to the Lord, and who yet have that gnawing in the depths of their souls, saying, “There has to be more to Christianity than what I possess. I have read about all the great men of God and gone to meetings of all kinds all across the country with great expectations. Yet, alas, I am still impoverished. In fact, I have become weary with all the calls saying, ‘It’s over here,’ or ‘It’s over there.’”
You guessed right I possibly could not have spoken to you like this if I had not been down this long, desperate road myself. And you also guessed right when you assumed that I have found my heart’s delight. Hence, since we are both that much into the subject already, there is no backing out for me to become even more personal in this letter. In fact, I shall spill it all on the ground for you to see: that which the Lord has done for me.
Here is my testimony in brief. I was born and raised in
I immediately began praying consistently I have never stopped. I immediately started reading the Bible and I have never stopped. I immediately started getting busy for Jesus and I have not stopped that either. My prayer life has seldom ever been shallow or hasty. Although I’ve had to ask the Lord to forgive me many times, my service to the Lord has never been half-hearted. I’ve always been a serious Christian. Yet, my friend, in all the effort and business for the Lord, when I was a student at the
God took me seriously. God will take you seriously if you take him seriously. God will do business with you if you mean business with him. And so my search began and continued through those sixteen months. It did not stop there, but continued on for an additional twenty-three years! I tried everything that made biblical sense, from having spent hours upon hours on my knees to asking God to fill me with the Holy Spirit. And then I read all those books about the super-saints, and I went to all those meetings where you are supposed to finally “get it” whatever the getting is all about. Each time my wife and I would return from one of those meetings, we would look at each other, and say, “We still haven’t found it; we have to keep on looking.” Once or twice, we drove three days one way just to find “it.” Yet, in vain. Oh yes, my friend, we found people there who “found it,” who had an experience in the gift area or in some manifestation of God and got happy for awhile. But then, a year or some years later, they would be seen cutting grass on Sunday mornings rather than being in the house of God. But in 1974, after twenty-four years of searching, the Lord brought us into an experience with his presence that has given us an unfathomable, consistent joy and intimacy that has kept a grin upon our souls ever since. And this experience has been a walk with God, by his grace, similar to that of the patriarchs, prophets, and apostles in Bible days.
This, my friend, is what you are looking for. No, your head may not know this, but your soul knows it right well. You are looking for a walk with God as Adam and Eve walked with God before the fall, and heard his voice in the cool of the day. Now, I hope you realize that in the few lines of this letter, I can only, barely touch on some fundamentals of this great theme. But, if I have done nothing else than given you hope and pointed you in the right direction, I shall be satisfied.
You are born again to walk with God. That is God’s ultimate purpose for you on earth. This is what man lost when sin raised its ugly head in paradise. Man lost his walk with God. Man no longer heard the voice of God in the cool of the day. And Jesus died and rose and sent the Holy Spirit to give this all back to us. But whenever sin rises in our hearts, we lose that for which we were born again. And friend, if, to satisfy your soul, you look for anything else than walking with God in his very presence. You will not find it! Oh, you may get something else, but it will eventually disappoint you.
Now, here are a few principles with which you must come to grips after your conversion:
1. You Must Make a Total Surrender to God.
The song, “I Surrender All,” is for most Christians only lip service. For most, it is only a partial surrender. We cannot hope to walk with God until we give Jesus absolute authority over every aspect of our lives. We have to stop wanting to vote on God’s will. Most Christians want to know God’s will desperately. But most believers, once God’s will becomes known to them, still want the privilege of voting on it. If it fits their schedule, if it suits their wishes, if it does not upset the apple cart, if it does not bring them into conflict with others, if it does not have a cross in it, they vote for it. But if it has a cross in it, they vote no to what God wants.
You will never walk with God until you make an unconditional, absolute surrender to him that includes the surrender of all your voting rights forever. When God looks into your heart and sees that deep within you there is still a voting mentality, he will not do business with you, no matter how busy you may keep yourself for him.
2. You Must Seek Entire Sanctification.
Actually, the seeking of it with all your heart is more important than the getting of it. Spiritual hunger and thirst after righteousness brings you greater blessings than the righteousness you seek after by itself.
Sanctification has two basic stages. The first stage is separation. The second stage is for that which has been separated to be filled with God himself. The Corinthian Christians had stage one sanctification (1 Cor. 1:2). But although the rebirth had set them aside for God, just as an unbelieving husband is set aside (sanctified) for God through a believing wife (7:14), the Corinthians were yet carnal, i.e., worldly (3:3).
This carnality, these fruits of the carnal nature spoken of in Galatians 5:1921, must be slain out of us so that the fruit of the Spirit (vv. 2223) may be brought into our heart by stage two sanctification. God can do this in seconds, but for most of us it will take weeks and months or maybe years to ever attain the stage two sanctification. The Corinthian Christians certainly had not attained it at the writing of Paul’s letter to them. Neither had the Thessalonians, for Paul wrote to those believers, “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification” (1 Thess. 4:3). But in the fifth chapter, Paul gives the Thessalonians a recipe that would help lead them to stage two sanctification. That recipe begins in verse 11 and ends with this prayer of the apostle, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it” (1 Thess. 5:2324).
Jesus also prayed for stage two sanctification for his disciples, who had already forsaken all, by saying in John 17:17, “Sanctify them through thy truth...” It is imperative that we become sanctified through and through because the carnal man, the Self-life, will never take one step after Jesus.
3. You Must Abandon Your Search after Gifts and Manifestations.
God is the administrator of the gifts, and we must leave it up to him to decide what gift or gifts we need for the work of the ministry (1 Cor. 12:7, 11). Jesus did not say, “seek ye first after gifts.” He said, “...seek ye first the
4. You Must Begin To Live by the Voice of Jesus.
“Then the Lord said unto Moses...” All that God ever did from Genesis through the Revelation, he did by speaking to man! This is one of the most forgotten truths of the Bible: God speaks on every page of his book; he does nothing but by his voice, thus fulfilling his purposes. Therefore, how can we get anything done of eternal worth without the voice of God?
So, if you forsake all, surrender all, stop voting, and come into sanctification, you will begin to hear the voice of Jesus from time to time, and you will begin to walk with God. This is a process. Just as we do not learn the Hebrew language overnight, so we do not learn walking with God in a matter of days. But as you progress in sanctification, your spiritual ears will become more and more attuned to the still, small voice of Jesus. Does it not say, “My sheep hear my voice...” (John 10:27)? Does not Paul also say, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14)?
Through the years, often daily, sometimes many times a day, Jesus will tell me what to do. He will speak to my heart. For example, in a recent experience, we visited some of our students at a college in another state. My wife suggested that we could again meet the students at church and then have lunch with them. This sounded good. God has many times spoken to me through my wife. But, at this time, Jesus said, “That’s not my plan. I have someone else with whom I want you to eat.” As we entered into the sanctuary of that large college auditorium, I found a seminary student from
Many times Jesus will tell me what to preach, what hymns are to be sung, and what to write. I wait on Jesus to tell me who to visit, where to go for my vacation, when to leave and when to return, and sometimes, whether to pray or to go shopping with my wife. Jesus told me who I was to marry, and he told me which house to buy. God is so good to those who walk with him!
So, if you are absolutely surrendered to God and get into stage two sanctification, the Lord will begin to literally direct every phase of your life. Of course, at first, you will be fumbling the ball quite a bit, but because you mean serious business with God, he, in his great love for you, will work things out despite your beginner’s ignorance and immaturity (Rom. 8:28).
My friend, this walk with God is thrills, romance, and adventure! It is what Adam and Eve had in the garden before they sinned. And God wants all of us to have that intimate walk with Him today. In the last twenty-seven years, I have looked for nothing better, I have looked for nothing more. I know I found what I was looking for: to walk with God, to constantly experience his presence, and to live by his precious voice.