Look No Further

Saint Francis embracing Christ on the Cross by Bartolome Esteban Murillo

Saint Francis embracing Christ on the Cross by Bartolome Esteban Murillo

Have you ever been looking for something that you had misplaced, maybe your keys, your sunglasses, or your wallet, and found that what you were looking for was right there in your pocket the whole time? The other day I (Ben) misplaced my keys, and was frantically looking everywhere for them. If I did not find them soon I would be late for a meeting. I was tearing through my whole house, looking in cabinets and drawers, pant pockets and just about everywhere. I looked by my bed several times and then on the third time lifted my blanket and there they were, right beneath my nose. Jesus said in Luke 17:21 “the kingdom of God is within you”. It was right beneath our nose the whole time, all we needed was for that reality to be unveiled, just like when I lifted up the blanket I found my keys. The blanket of our understanding needs to be lifted so that we might discover, in a very experiential way, the Eternal Reality of the Kingdom of God within us.

Many of us find ourselves looking to the next church meeting, to the next retreat, to the next revival meeting and at times return only with disappointment, and we weary ourselves looking without what can only be found within. I invite all of you who believe and confess that Jesus Christ is indeed your savior to “LOOK NO FURTHER” for God has placed Himself within you and given you unlimited access to His heart (His kingdom), all it requires is a simple turning inward and a surrendering of yourself into the vast sea of His love.

Here is a  quote from Madame Guyon’s autobiography describing her awakening,

        “Presently the monk replied, “It is, madame, because you seek without what you have within. Accustom yourself to seek God in your heart, and you will there find Him.” Having said these words, the Franciscan left me. They were to me like the stroke of a dart which pierced my heart asunder. I felt at this instant deeply wounded with the love of God— a wound so delightful, that I desired it never might be healed. These words brought into my heart what I had been seeking so many years; or rather they made me discover what was there, which I did not enjoy for want of knowing it. Oh, my Lord! You were in my heart, and demanded only the turning of my mind inward, to make me feel Your presence. Oh, infinite Goodness! You were so near, and I ran here and there seeking You, and yet found You not. My life was a burden to me, and my happiness was within myself. I was poor in the midst of riches, and ready to perish with hunger near a table plentifully spread and a continual feast. Oh Beauty, ancient and new! Why have I known You so late? Alas, I sought You where You were not, and did not seek You where You were! It was for want of understanding these words of Your Gospel: “The kingdom of God comes not with observation, neither shall they say, Lo, here! or lo, there! for behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” This I now experienced, since You did become my King, and my heart Your kingdom, where You do reign a Sovereign, and do all Your will.”

As I have practiced and “accustomed” myself to seeking God within, I have come into a level of intimacy and understanding that I never imagined possible. The more I come into an awareness of God within me, the more I experience Him around me. The whole earth IS filled with His Glory right now, all we need is a perspective shift.  For me, I am starting to see His glory more and more as I come into a deeper experiential awareness of God within me. This practice is for every believer everywhere. It might seem a bit weird at first and take some time getting use to, at least it did for me, but I can assure you it is well worth it. Don’t be shy, ask God to reveal himself IN you and your life will be radically transformed.

Ben Leftwhich and Kayo Zukowski on the streets of San Fransico, California.

 

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