|LIFE IN JESUS-MINISTRIES
|RETURNING TO GOD
Henry & Richard Blackaby and Claude King
I AM REVEALED
May 05 2013
And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, not staying away from our
meeting, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
SERVING WITHOUT KNOWING
I was preaching one Sunday about how Christ’s presence in our lives dramatically affects our daily living. At the close of
the service, a man came forward weeping. The pastor asked him to share his story with the congregation. The man
confessed that a decade earlier his wife had urged him to come with her to church. When he visited, he liked the
people, enjoyed the worship, and decided to join the congregation. Later, he heard the church needed teachers in the
children’s Sunday school department, so he volunteered. Over the years, he served in numerous capacities in his
church including being a deacon and a Sunday school teacher. Yet as I preached that morning, the Holy Spirit
awakened him to the fact that he did not have a personal relationship with Jesus. This good man had been practicing
religion without a genuine, life-changing encounter with Christ.
As I spoke of how the Holy Spirit walks with us to guide us each day, the man realized he was not hearing the Holy Spirit
speak to him. As I talked of God’s love for us, he saw that he served God but he did not truly know God. To his and the
church’s surprise, this man suddenly recognized that, for all his service and attendance at church, he did not have an
experiential relationship with God.
This man is not alone. If there is one comment I hear over and over from people who study Experiencing God, it is this:
“I thought I knew what it meant to be a Christian and to walk with God. But after studying this material I realize that
although I was a religious person, I did not really know what it meant to enjoy a personal relationship with God.”
That is the heart of this book – to move you from merely being religious to having a vibrant, real, growing relationship
LIMITLESS FELLOWSHIP, LIMITLESS POSSIBILITIES
John said to the believers in the first century, “What we have seen and heard we also declare to you, so that you may
have fellowship along with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ” (I John 1:3).
Then he added, “We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete” (I John 1:4).
Just as the apostle John wrote what he had seen and heard to encourage his fellow believers, so when I wrote
Experiencing God, I was simply sharing what God had taught me as I walked with Him for many years. It was neither a
theological treatise nor an exhaustive book on the Christian life. It was just a testimony of what God taught me as I
The result of sharing these truths with others has been unbelievable! It has led to opportunities for me to speak in 114
countries. It has allowed me to share God’s truths in churches of every size and denomination. It has brought invitations
to speak at the White House, the Pentagon, and the United Nations. It has led me to a ministry to Christian CEOs of
many of America’s largest companies. And most significantly for me, it has resulted in the testimonies of countless
people who share that through the study they learned to experience God for the first time. What a joy for me to know
that, as God walked with an ordinary person like me, He would do so much to encourage God’s people around the
world. My prayer is that you will never settle for less than all God intends to do through your life as He walks with you.
RESTORING BROKEN RELATIONSHIPS WITH GOD
There are times in every Christian’s life when one senses a clear loss of intimacy with God. Even the most zealous
Christians can find their love for God has cooled if they are not careful. How does this happen? What are the signs,
and how can we restore a relationship with God once it has been broken?
I see a pattern in Scripture of how God’s people experience revival. Although revivals often exhibit unique features, the
following six characteristics generally occur when people fall away and then return to God:
naturally seek after God. He pursues us (see Hosea 11:7-11).
2. God is the One who initiates a love relationship with us that is real and personal (see John 1:12).
God’s people, collectively. This departure is devastating and will lead to spiritual death if it is not corrected (see
4. Whenever we stray from God to any degree, He disciplines us in increasing measure until we return. God the
Father loves us as His children, and He will correct us as our heavenly Father until we turn from our rebellion (see
Hebrews 12:5-11). He will continue to discipline us until we reach a moment of crisis at which we must make a
serious choice. This decision is either to repent and return to God, or to perish in judgment (see Isaiah 59:1-20).
5. We cry out to God in our distress and return to Him. Scripture promises that “if we confess our sins, He is
faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9). In
confession, you agree with God about the awful nature of your wrongdoing. Confession and repentance go
together. When you repent of sin, you turn away from that sin and return to God. When your fellowship with God
is broken because of sin, agree with Him about your condition and turn from it. Return to God, and He will forgive
you and reestablish your relationship with Him. But we must recognize that God does not call us to rededicate
ourselves; He calls us to repent of our sin. When we want fellowship with God to be restored, we must
acknowledge that it is our own sin that caused the breach in the first place. Second Chronicles 7:13-14 reflects
on this point:
pestilence on My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My
face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land.”
promises to hear, forgive sin, and bring healing. God loves us too much to allow us to stay where we are.
6. When we return to God (and not merely to religious activity), He returns to us in a fresh, close relationship and
begins once again to fulfill His purposes for us (see Zechariah 1:3; II Chronicles 15:1-3). Spiritual revival occurs
when the life of God returns to our souls. This can happen to an individual, a church, a denomination, or a
nation. The way you know you are truly restored to God is when He returns to you (see James 4:8). If you merely
give lip service to your need for reconciliation with God, He is not fooled (see Galatians 6:7). The joy of your
salvation, the power of God, and His holy cleansing of your life will not occur until you sincerely return to God.
How do we lose intimacy with God? There are three parables of Jesus in Luke 15 that describe how this can happen.
consciously choose to wander from the rest of the flock. They simply follow whatever catches their interest at the
moment. Going from one thing to the next gradually draws the sheep farther and farther from where it should be until it
is hopelessly lost and in grave danger.
something precious, but by not taking precautions, we can misplace a treasured object. Nothing is more priceless than
our relationship with God. Yet we can neglect it because of our preoccupation with daily concerns. In the busyness of
life, we forget to pray and we cut short our times with the Lord. Then one day we discover God seems far from us. We
have inadvertently lost the intimacy we once enjoyed with Him.
his father. Tragically, there are those who deliberately abandon their fellowship with Christ. Perhaps they decide they
want to pursue worldly pleasures or they refuse to obey what God has clearly commanded – such as forgiving someone
who has offended them. Some move far from where they once were with God. Only a willful, repentant choice to return
to God can bring someone back who has moved far away.
becomes obvious to us and to those who observe us. There are at least four ways you can discern if you have drawn
apart from God.
church had fired him. His wife had left him and filed for divorce. All of his children had departed from walking with God
and were indulging in gross immorality. His finances were in shambles, and he could not meet his obligations. Finally,
his health had broken from a series of stress-related illnesses. Grimly, he pleaded, “Pray for me, my brother. I am
experiencing intense spiritual warfare!”
Yet he did not take into account the fact that God was allowing him to experience these continual defeats. If this man’s
life was pleasing to God, would He allow him to undergo one terrible defeat after another? While God does allow those
He loves to suffer – Job, Paul, and Jesus are examples of that – it is possible to go through illness or attacks and yet to
do it victoriously. This man was being beaten on every front. He needed to draw near to God and ask God to search
his heart to see if there was any wickedness in him (see Psalm 139:23-24) causing God to remove His hand of
protection from his life (see Isaiah 5:4-5).
place. But how do you protect your relationship with God? You can do the following four things:
immediately begin to experience His presence returning in your life. If you have not departed from God, write a prayer of
thanks and commit yourself to remain steadfast and true to Him.