A couple of years ago, I came across a song by a guy named Will Reagan called Set A Fire. It's a really simple song. It only has 32 words, that's it. It's one of those songs that drive some people CR-A-ZY! There are only two verses and they are sung over and over and over. I'm no musician, but I would venture to guess that the musicality of this song isn't all that hard.
The lyrics are:
Set a fire down in my soul
That I can't contain and I can't control
I want more of You, God
There's no place I'd rather be
Than here in Your Love!
While a song like this doesn't do much for some, when I first heard it, it totally did for me! After it finished, I immediately started searching for it all over the place; iTunes, YouTube, Spotify, everywhere. I couldn't get it out of my head. I played it so much in our house our 4-year-old started singing it.
And it wasn't so much the melody or the tune that grabbed my heart (although I was digging that as well), it was more the idea of wanting more of God that really captured me. After I first heard it my soul wholeheartedly resonated with the idea of wanting more of God.
The next morning on my way into the office my obsession didn't stop. I cranked the song in my car and again found my soul saying, "Yes! I want more of God." And before I knew it I was praying, "God, give me more of You. I don't want to be taken by counterfeits. I want more of You."
I don't know about you, but when I think about encountering more of God, I like to think it happens during a peaceful walk along a wood path, or during a stroll on the beach in the early morning hours of the day while the sun peaks its head over the horizon and the waves wash over my toes, or while standing on top of a mountain with hands raised as I stare into the endless blue sky above me. I like to think it happens during awe-inspiring moments when we are surrounded by natural beauty.
So, while sitting at a traffic light, praying and listening to this song, I started to ask, "God, tell me. How do I get more of you?" Hoping for something listed above.
I'm not one to say that I hear from God all that often, but on that morning it was undeniably clear. It was as though His Spirit spoke directly to my spirit and said, "Bryan, do you really wanna know."
I responded with an enthusiastic, "Oh, yes. I DO!"
Then the Spirit fired back at me, "The only way to get more of Me is by dying more to yourself."
In that moment all the spiritual elation moving through my car was sucked out as though someone had just rolled down all the windows and opened up the sunroof. That wasn't what I was expecting. AT ALL!
I mean, haven't I died enough already?! Doesn't there come a point when following Jesus is just long walks on the beach, spiritual highs and mountain top moments? Really?! More dying to myself?!
Talk about a spiritual buzz kill. That answer will spiritually sober you up real fast.
That's not to say there aren't great joys in following Christ because there are. But in order to get to them, we first have to walk through death. I'm reminded of what Paul writes in expressing his desire in wanting more of God. He writes in Philippians,
I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. (3v10-11)
Let me say it again. There are great joys in following Christ. Later in the same letter, Paul writes about a peace that transcends understanding. In other places in the New Testament, he writes about how we have the hope of an inheritance that will never perish, spoil, or fade. And even still, he writes how God's love is so strong it will never let you go. But those things aren't cheap. They may be freely given, but they aren't cheap. There is a high cost in receiving more of God. And the question is, are you willing to give up yourself in order to get it?
Wanting more of God may sound inspiring, but it's not for the faint of heart. It will require surrendering all you are and all you have, but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.