Back around 2000, Ceci told me, “One day you’re going to write a book entitled The Pleasure of His Company, teaching people how to connect with God’s heart at a deeper level.” I wrote the book in 2014. It is easily my best book.
A few years back, I shared several posts from this book. They garnered our best responses from you - by far. So, starting on Monday, May 15, I’ll be sharing a few more posts from this book. In today’s crazy world, God’s presence must be our anchor. And as always, we will pray. I’m confident you will be enriched.
I am letting you know in advance because when I shared from the book a few years ago, several people said they wished they had the book when I did so – to make notes, etc. If you would like to do this, you have time to order it at our website, or where books are sold. Today I’ll be sharing a sampling, taken from 2 of its chapters.
The Pleasure of His Company
From Chapter 1: The Person
Words are certainly inadequate to describe God’s attributes, abilities, intellect, and accomplishments. He is breathtaking yet calming, all-powerful but gentle, unsearchably wise though humble, and awe-inspiring while completely approachable. Perfection defines Him, intrigue surrounds Him, and eternity is in Him. His intricacies are so complex it requires oxymoronic words and phrases to describe Him: He’s the Ancient of Days, yet is forever new, existing in a perpetual now; His omnipresent existence contradicts every natural law of time, space, and physics. When Moses asked Him His name, He simply said, “I AM.” Words fail.
Consider the following facts about Jesus:
A fish supplied Him with a mouthful of money.
Storms obeyed His commands.
His spit healed blind eyes, and His touch cured leprosy.
He walked on water . . . and through walls!
He turned water into wine and multiplied by thousands a few fish and loaves of bread.
He raised the dead.
He reversed insanity.
Demons fled from Him.
His eyes are like fire, His voice like a waterfall.
Angels worship Him; rulers cast their crowns at His feet.
He created everything . . . with just His words.
He keeps the universe operating in perfect order . . . yep, with just His words.
What if I told you this Person requests the pleasure of your company; that the true and living God not only loves you, He likes you. Yahweh created us humans because He wanted family and friends, not distant servants. When Jesus was asked by His disciples to teach them how to pray, His response introduced them to a completely new and radical way of thinking. “Start your prayer by addressing God as Father,” He answered (Matthew 6:7). Other references encourage us to call Him “Abba - Papa” (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6).
When Jesus said this, He forever changed the playing field. He rewrote the rules. Religious leaders were offended, philosophers found it ridiculous, but hungry hearts like yours and mine, looking for our roots, found it incredibly hope-inspiring.
“You mean God wants us to call Him Dad, not Your Highness or Most Holy One?”
“Yep,” Jesus said. “God would prefer that you call Him Dad.”
May that forever shape your approach to Yahweh. Father God wants YOU, not some shallow religious loyalty. The affirmation of your praise and admiration of your worship blesses Him, not because He needs affirmation or likes to hear how great He is, but because He wants to connect with you. The Scriptures tell us He is seeking “worshipers,” not worship. (John 4:23)
From Chapter 20: The Lingerers
One definition of linger is "to leave slowly and hesitantly." If you don't find yourself leaving God's presence slowly and hesitantly, there's a short somewhere in the connection. When you truly connect with Him, it's like a warm bed on a wintery morning - you don't want to leave it. Regular visitors to the throne of grace become lingerers, pure and simple.
Charles Swindoll shares this story:
“I vividly remember sometime back being caught in the undertow of too many commitments in too few days. It wasn't long before I was snapping at my wife and our children, choking down my food at meal times, and feeling irritated at those unexpected interruptions through the day. Before long, things around our home started reflecting the pattern of my hurry-up style. It was becoming unbearable. I distinctly recall after supper one evening, the words of our younger daughter, Colleen. She wanted to tell me something important that had happened to her at school that day. She hurriedly began, ‘Daddy, I wanna tell you somethin'andIwilltellyoureallyfast.’
“Suddenly realizing her frustration, I answered, ‘Honey, you can tell me... And you don't have to tell me really fast. Say it slowly.’
I'll never forget her answer: ‘Then listen slowly.’”1
You'll never find yourself having to say to your heavenly Father, "Then listen slowly." He has plenty of time for you and loves it when you linger in His presence. In fact, His biggest problem is our limited time with Him, not our lingering. We are often in such a hurry we actually want Him to listen really fast. But He isn't our spiritual Santa Claus, wanting us to take our two minutes in His lap, give Him our wish list, and be on our way. He is Abba...Papa.
David, the shepherd and psalmist who became king over Israel, was a lingerer; he loved being in God's presence, and he left slowly and hesitantly. David once said, "One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple" (Psalm 27:4). Notice the words dwell, behold, and meditate. Those are lingering terms. David also said, "O Lord, I love the habitation of Your house and the place where Your glory dwells" (Psalm 26:8). You don't make statements like that unless you've learned to linger.
First, we learn to linger, but then Yahweh becomes addictive, and we love to linger. Listen to David's language: "I love the habitation of Your house." I enjoy reading about David and his walk with God. It has been revealing and enriching to observe their relationship in the Scriptures - the good, the bad, and the ugly. One thing I especially like is that David kept it real, sharing with God his most intimate thoughts. Whether he was joyful, discouraged, lonely, or on top of the world, David talked to Abba about it. He knew God wanted to be involved in his world, and he wanted to be in God's.
Eventually, a change came in their relationship, a change so subtle most people never think about it. Many people love God's presence. Thankfully, the worship movement of the last thirty to forty years has taught many of us the difference between singing and worshiping. And as we have learned to truly worship, we've discovered the wonderful truth that it attracts His very presence (Psalm 22:3). Through this, we've come to expect and enjoy the presence of the Lord.
David understood this and was a passionate lover of God's presence. As much as he loved the Lord's presence, however, David was never called "a man after God's presence." He had the awe-inspiring honor of being referred to by the Lord as "a man after My heart" (see Acts 13:22, italics mine). There can be a huge difference between pursuing God's heart and experiencing His presence.
It is possible to be in a person's presence and never make it into their heart. There are plenty of people I'm willing to hang out with, but very few I’ll allow into my heart. That part of me is reserved for the people I've spent enough time with to know I can trust their motives and intentions. I need to be confident my heart has value to them. It is breakable; I want it handled with care.
God is no different. His heart can be broken, His emotions wounded. He allows many into His presence but is much more selective with His heart. His presence is free, but His heart will cost you time and effort. But oh, how worth the effort He is. Don't settle for a cursory look; be a lingerer. Pay the price to reach His heart, no matter what it costs you!
Talk to Him slowly, listen to Him slowly, and leave Him slowly.
Pray with me:
Father, thank You for wanting us in Your world. Thank You for sending Your Son to redeem us back to You when we rebelled from the plan. We marvel at Your grace and love.
Jesus, we are grateful beyond words for Your willingness to come into our world, amazed that You were willing to become one of us, a flesh and blood human being, in order to redeem us. We want to get to know You better. As we embark on this journey, drawing closer to You, may enjoying the pleasure of Your company become our reward.
And we thank You for sharing Your authority with us, for giving us Your name. Teach us how to more skillfully and wisely partner with You in stewarding and managing the Earth. May we represent and reveal You more effectively, doing so out of relationship, not just responsibility.
In Your name, we pray, Amen.
We confess and boldly declare that we are accepting Abba’s invitation to draw near. We will find and enjoy the pleasure of His company.
Today’s post was taken from my book The Pleasure of His Company, published by Baker Books.
Click on the link below to watch the full video.
Charles R. Swindoll, Man to Man (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996), p 272.