“One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.” (Psalm 27:4)
In the midst of chaos—evil men advancing and enemies attacking and armies besieging and war breaking out—David asks for one thing, and it’s probably not the one thing you would expect. Instead of asking God to intervene, or make it all go away, he asks that he might “dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of his life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.” He does not ask for his circumstances to change; he asks for his perspective to change. He asks for his practice to change. For he knows that if he can learn to dwell in God’s house and gaze upon God’s beauty and seek God in his temple, then everything else will take care of itself. What a beautiful prayer!
The only problem is that it’s really easy to talk about doing those things, and to write about them, and maybe even to pray them, without actually doing them. Take it from me, I’ve become an expert. There are many days when I pray this very prayer and think about its beauty and write about its wisdom and its depths, without actually taking the time to stop and dwell and gaze and seek. And if I fail to actually do these things, they cannot bear fruit in my life.
G. K. Chesterton once said, “The difference between talking about prayer and praying, is the same as the difference between blowing a kiss and kissing.” If we don’t actually do it, we never reap the benefits or taste the pleasures and treasures of intimacy with God. Which is so sad for us, but even sadder for God. God longs for us to know the depths and breadth and heights and passion and intimacy and pleasures of his unfailing love.
It’s almost like God is waiting for us to bask in his love and express our love for him in return, but all we do is talk about it or think about it or write about it. We never really enter into it, so that he’s left saying, “Are you going to kiss me or what? Are you going to dwell and gaze and seek, or are you just going to sit there? Are you just going to think about it, or are you actually going to do it? Don’t just talk about loving me, love me! Just do it!