Monday, May 1, 2023
O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory. Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer. You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy.
I fear that sometimes our practice of church-based religiosity — instead of the relational experience of God rooted in Jesus and the Holy Spirit — makes the language of this Psalm of David feel overstated, hyperbolic, and out-of-step with our personal experiences. We have replaced knowing God with knowing about God through our church experiences. This leaves us with a "God-shaped vacuum" that we cannot fill with earthly "stuff" and "religious busy-ness"! 
The psalmist had a heart for God.  As he composed this psalm, he was on the run from King Saul trying to kill him. Saul's pursuit separated David from the life and people he loved, so he yearned for God to be near. So, David's words are no overstatement of his agonizing need for God!  His words also challenge us to rouse from our spiritual sloth. David's deeply personal words call us back to yearning for and seeking after God. We must never settle for merely knowing about God — just going through the religious motions.  God wants us to seek after, find, and know Him. 
God wants to be so real to us that life without Him loses its meaning and value. The opposite of this listless spiritual lack is the joy of experiencing God's presence and being caught up in the food, friendship, and joyous praise of genuine Christian fellowship. So, let's refuse to settle for routine church worship as a substitute experience for God's presence. Christian assembly and worship — when we seek the presence of God as our Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit — can be invigorating and life-altering. Stretching to forgive others as we live in genuine Jesus-shaped relationships, compassionately caring for others in need, and making disciples by going, baptizing, and training to follow Jesus, opens us to experience Immanuel, God with us. If, like me, you occasionally find yourself yearning for more of God in the ebb and flow of church life, then come back to Psalm 63 and let David's inspired words be our own. Let's yearn for more of God in our lives and less religiosity! Let's seek God because there is a vacuum, a hole, that only the presence of the King of Glory can fill!
O, God, I seek You as Father, Son, and Spirit. My soul, heart, and life are empty without the experience of Your presence. I refuse, YHWH, the Eternal One and only God, to settle for a life without You. Please make Your presence known to me and in me so that I might honor You fully with my heart, soul, mind, and strength. As the Spirit intercedes for me and I pray in Jesus' name, I ask that you are pleased, dear Father. Amen.
Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.
'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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