When I’m scared of what God has to say, I fill the spaces. Sometimes I fill the spaces with good things— Bible study, recited prayers, exercise, baking.
God can speak to us through Bible study, when our hearts are open. God can transform us through prayer, when our hearts are open. Baking and exercise can be acts of worship. But, God does not enter hearts uninvited, even when mouths are professing His name.
In John chapter 8, we read about a hard conversation Jesus had with some Jewish people (potentially a mixture of Pharisees and laymen). The people he was speaking to likely studied the scriptures, prayed, and followed the Law to varying degrees…however, their core issue was deeper than outward actions. Jesus said to them, “I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word” (John 8:37).
Not because they hadn’t studied enough, not because they hadn’t prayed enough, not because they had broken too many laws— no, they wanted to kill Jesus because they did not have room for Him in their hearts, minds, and souls.
There are times I study the Word in the same way some of the Pharisees did— I attempt to leave Him less room instead of more. I don’t want to leave room for His words to echo, I don’t want to leave space for His Spirit to transform and direct me.
I forget that my Savior, in all His goodness and mercy, truly seeks to SAVE ME and that my fear should be a joyful, trembling, awe-inspired fear that draws me nearer to His light.
When I seek to increase my sense of self-righteousness, I leave no room for HIS righteousness.
When I seek to solely increase my knowledge, I leave no room for His peace that passes understanding.
When I seek to justify my plans and desires, I leave no room for His perfect plans and desires.
And, the opposite is true— when I sit in the presence of God, with my hands and heart wide open to receive Him, He grants me His strength to walk in paths of righteousness, He grants me His indescribable peace, and He corrects my thoughts and makes them obedient to His good, perfect, beautiful will.
Jesus died not to make us good people or solely to save us from Hell, but to be with us and transform us through intimacy with Him!
In the words of Isaac Watts, “Let every heart prepare Him room.” 🙂