When I trained for my first half-marathon a few years ago, I would go on a lot of evening runs. It was cooler and I was faster at night.
One of those nights, I put my iPhone music on shuffle and "You're Beautiful," by Phil Wickham came on. I almost skipped it because it was slow paced and I didn't want to slow down, but something- or Someone- told me to keep listening. So I did.
The song is an incredible praise to the Lord for the works of His beautiful creation. The second verse stopped me mid-run.
"I see Your power in the moonlit night
Where planets are in motion and galaxies are bright
We are amazed in the light of the stars
It's all proclaiming who You are, You're beautiful."
While the words were being sung, my heart spoke to me and said, "Look up." I looked up to a beautiful and bright full moon shining down on me, with dozens of stars to accompany its lovely glow in the sky. I was immediately captivated and could feel God's warm and gentle spirit filling my heart as I praised Him for His works.
I put Phil Wickham on repeat that night and prayed aloud the rest of my run, thanking God for literally everything. I had never devoted a run to alone time with God. However, after this one particular song on that one particular evening, God soon became my running partner and my evening runs turned into what I like to call my glory runs.
Earlier this week, I went for a glory run. I have been listening to "Come Away" by Jesus Culture a lot recently, so I put it on repeat and hit the back roads.
If you haven't heard it before, I encourage you to listen to it--plug in your headphones, close your eyes, and just breathe as you let God speak to you. The song was written as if God is talking to you. The lyrics are beautiful and no doubt God-breathed.
The song goes a little something like this:
"Come away with Me, Come away with Me.
It's never too late, it's not too late,
It's not too late for you.
I have a plan for you,
I have a plan for you.
It's gonna be wild,
It's gonna be great,
It's gonna be full of Me."
This song is an invitation to true Life. Not only that, but this song is a reminder of the invitation of true Life that we receive- everyday. An invitation that God extends our way. An invitation that we sometimes leave unattended. This invitation is His prayer for us.
The song goes on to say,
"Open up your heart and let me in."
This line is repeated multiple times, each time with greater meaning.
God knocks on our hearts endlessly because He wants to be the center of our lives. He wants to invest His love in you so you can share it with others. He wants to reside within you because He wants to guide you. He wants to speak life into you so you can speak life into His Kingdom. He wants to give you the one, true Life that He has had in store for you from the very beginning. However, He can't do it alone. We have to invite Him in.
Yep, you heard me.
Although God has the power to force His way in, that's not who He is. God desires you and longs for you to desire Him in return. He'll always pursue you, but if you don't invite Him in He won't come in. He'll just keep knocking.
The same thing happens if we force Him out. You cannot fill your heart with spiritual and worldly things. It doesn't work like that. God wants all of you; every ounce of your heart. When you fill your heart with of the world things and sin, you end up replacing God's presence with your own desires and He ends up having to knock again and again until He gets your attention.
His plan for your life does not involve a heart that is not full of Him. He wants you to fill your heart with His sweet and gentle spirit. God wants to do life with you!
His plan for your life is so wild and so great; everything beyond your comprehension. He wants you to come away with Him for this very reason; so that you can experience this Life in its fullness.
Take a moment to think about what your heart is full of right now. Be honest with yourself.
Maybe you're feeling distant.
Perhaps God has had the least of your attention lately.
Or, maybe you don't know how to open the door to your heart after all of the things you've done. Your guilt and shame are things you don't want God to encounter.
I want you all to know something. None of the things mentioned above, nor any of the things you may be thinking right now are any excuse. Running from God is not an option. You can run from what your actions, but God doesn't abandon you for your past mistakes and failures. He loves you way too much.
Crazy, right? Our understanding of His love is and always will be incomprehensible. That's just who He is.
It's crazy, but it's beautiful. So beautiful. And it's ours.
So why not be His?
Today I want to encourage you to open up your heart and let God in. Come away with Him. This decision will transform not only your life, but your perspective on it as well. God will grant you new vision and you will experience life as you never have before.
You've got not a thing to lose, but all kinds of things to gain. So, what are what are you waiting for?
Written by Emily Townsend