I have been focussing on my relationship with God a lot lately. I’ve mentioned it in a previous post recently, but I’ve just really had it laid on my heart that all of the things I see in my life that need a little bit of fixing up can all be solved through my relationship with God. I know this, and have known this, but for some reason it’s just hard to put in the effort to do it sometimes! Whether it’s the busyness of every day life, the temptations of procrastination or general laziness. Something always comes up to replace God Time it seems. As part of my new philosophy of changing the underlying reasons instead of feeling guilty, I figured it was time to put a stop to all that mess.
For some reason, most people, myself definitely included, don’t put in the effort required to maintain a relationship with God. If you will notice the word I used there…effort.
Think about your closest friend. It could be your wife, your girlfriend, one of your parents, someone you’ve known for years, etc. Whoever it is, think about how much time you spend with them. How much do you call them? How much do you text them? How often and for how long do you talk to them? Do you go to the movies? Dinner? Hangout until the middle of the night? What about their passions and desires, I bet you know them. I bet you know what makes them tick and I bet you can tell almost instantly when something is wrong with them before they even say a word. You are trained like a hawk to notice their mannerisms and body language. You do LIFE with them.
Now, about that relationship with God that you care so deeply about. Does it compare?
Relationships require effort, and for some reason, beyond my comprehension, humans just don’t seem to easily understand the fact that you can’t have a “God First” relationship unless you are willing to put in the effort.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. – Matthew 6:33 (ESV)
I’m going to go more in-depth about this in a future post, but I wanted to mention it briefly here since it pertains to this topic. God wants us to seek him first. Notice what Matthew says in the verse above. It specifically says the word first. This isn’t the only place the Bible says this. There are so many examples of God saying that he wants to be our everything, he wants to be the first thing in our life, he doesn’t want our leftovers.
Another issue we have in our relationship with God is that we don’t treat him the way he deserves to be treated. While he wants a personal relationship with us, he also demands our reverence. And if you think about it that makes a lot of sense…who would want to be friends with someone that didn’t respect them?
The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant. My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for he will pluck my feet out of the net. Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. – Psalm 25:14-16 (ESV)
A slightly different translation of the same scripture words it a little differently, showing the real meaning of the use of the word “fear” above. To fear the Lord is to honor and respect him, to give reverence.
Friendship with God is reserved for those who reverence him. With them alone he shares the secrets of his promises. My eyes are ever looking to the Lord for help, for he alone can rescue me. Come, Lord, and show me your mercy, for I am helpless, overwhelmed, in deep distress. – Psalm 25:14-16 (TLB)
And yet another stumbling block we experience on our road to building our relationship with God is not hearing him. And it isn’t that he isn’t speaking to us; it’s that most of the time we are too busy or their is too much noise in our life to hear him.
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” – Psalm 46:10 (ESV)
“Be still” – that is a hard thing for us to do, but it is something that is necessary to building a relationship with God. How do we be still? The first way would be to make sure you are spending some quiet time alone with God. Just like any other friend, relationships get better when you spend time together. And just like any other friend, it’s a lot easier to do that when it is one on one and you are listening intently to each other. Getting to know someone in a crowded and noisy place is no easy task, that’s why God specifically tells us to “be still…and know that I am God”. Be still, and know Me…
I have struggled with this, I still do. And I tell myself that I have a valid reason, I mean, I am busy! Just look at a normal day for me:
- Wake up early
- Read the news for a few minutes while the coffee is brewing
- Do the morning requirements…
- Catch the bus to work
- Work all day
- Catch the bus home
- Do some overtime for my second employer from home
- Find some time to hang with the kids and wife (I fail at this a lot too…)
- Maybe eat dinner somewhere in there
- Work on things for Church
- Play some video games, watch some youtube, etc…have some me time
- Go to bed
Seriously…this is pretty normal for most of us these days, where is the time to spend with God? I will just use my own list for example since I’ve told myself quite often that I just don’t have time. I could read my bible instead of the news. I’m on the bus for at least an hour both ways (I’m writing this post on the bus right now actually), plenty of time to spend there. Those video games and “me time.” These are things that I do. I am used to them and they make me happy. I am putting them before God, when all he wants is to be first. Luckily it’s a simple fix, but simple isn’t always easy.
You have to MAKE time for it. You have to actively choose to spend time with God. Believe me, God is a wonderful and powerful God. He has built time into your day to spend with him, all you have to do is choose to use it for what he intended it for. I guarantee you there isn’t a single person that could prove to me they don’t have time to spend some time alone with God today. The time is there if you choose to use it.
Why do we expect our relationship with God to be awesome when we aren’t willing to make the time to spend with him. We are willing to drop items from our todo lists to go hangout with friends if they ask us. Maybe a new movie just came out that we want to go watch really bad but it’s only showing during that one meeting with those people…that’s ok, we can move the meeting. But for God? No, can’t move the meeting for God. We rationalize this by saying, “God loves me and doesn’t mind because he wants me to enjoy life”, “God understands that I will pray later (even though we don’t…). But he doesn’t! He wants us to put him FIRST! Real life friends get offended if they don’t come first…how much more so do you think God feels to be second place when he wants to be your Everything.
Can you imagine keeping your friends if you have no time? I’m sure we have all experienced it too. What happens when you run out of time to spend with friends for long periods of time? Things change. Things get awkward. Eventually you get to the point where you are talking once a month or less. The relationship fades and things aren’t the same anymore. But, if you start talking again, spending time together again, all of a sudden the old days are back and things are awesome again. It’s the same way with God! You have to spend time with him to have that awesome relationship. There is no way around it. And if you truly do want that awesome and strong relationship with God, you are going to want to spend time with him too. You are going to want to spend more time with him than you do with other things…and you are going to start putting him first.
So, stop being busy. Stop making excuses. Stop putting him second. And I know that’s easier said than done…but it shouldn’t be…it should be the easiest thing in the world!
Lord, I pray to you today to open up my eyes to see all of the time that you have built into my life to spend with you. I pray that you would increase my desire and willingness to be in your presence more than you already are. I don’t want anything to get in the way of our relationship, I want you to be the center and first of my life. I want to get to the point that nothing else matters to me, I want to die to myself so that I can serve you more fully.
I pray that through my words today someone else is feeling the same thing I am feeling. That there is someone out there who is lost and searching, searching for something to make them whole. I know that something is you Lord, and I pray that you would lead them here, that the words that I have written here today have come from your direction and not my own. I believe that you intend to see people changed through the power of words and through the power of these words. I pray that you would use me in whatever way you see fit, and that I would have the courage to say yes, no matter what the cost.