My life is full of a great number of gifts, but they are all and every one of them a bonus on top of knowing You.
There are so many times in scripture where we see God "turn them over to their own stubbornness" or "remove his hand from them" or "allowed them to walk in their own devices." This happens over and over again, and it is striking to realize this characteristic in God the Father. He will as often in Scripture say things like "Oh that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways."
This is not the "Old Testament God", as if God goes away to summer camp between testaments to really work on Himself. This is Almighty unchanging God we see here. Jesus does give us an access to God and His grace we could never give to ourselves, but let us realize God's action toward our stubbornness has not changed.
There come times when we choose to disobey God enough times that He will just let us go down that road to experience the pain and the brokenness He would have protected us from if we had only listened and obeyed him in the first place.
This is sobering to our hearts that are prone to wander. We must intentionally keep our hearts focused, open, and obeying, or we may very well see God remove his hand from our stubborn hearts.
More and more, I believe the answer comes down to one thing.
Jesus replies, "Love the LORD your God with all of your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind. This is the greatest commandment." (Matthew 22:37-38)
As I am daily ambushed by God's outrageous love for me, I am more and more convinced that seeking God's will for my life is the wrong search. But I should search for His will in my life, and His will is the same as it has always been.
He wants you to love Him with all that you are. Your experiencing God depends on you having a sincere and real relationship of love. I am more and more convinced that this is more important than any.thing.else in your life.
Every decision, big or small, everything in your Christian life, everything about knowing God and knowing His will is fully dependent on the intimacy of your love relationship with God.
If this lynchpin is not in place, nothing...nothing in your life will be right.
We are all worshippers. Truth is we are worshipping all the time. Every place, all day long, every day, we worship. We were made to worship. We are wired that way. Essentially we cannot help but worship...something. Worship is simply an issue of value. THE QUESTION lies in where we place it. When I am worshipping God, am I really placing value...understanding the value...spiritually, intellectually, prophetically and trustingly putting value on God the loving ridiculous Daddy? It takes a sincere awareness and outpouring of honor.
College relationships can be very ridiculous. One of my favorites is when you see a couple get really close without actually dating. Then one or both of these people involved will drop the dumbest crap I have ever heard, and it happens a lot. "I just need to wait on this relationship for a while. I need to figure some stuff out right now. I need to work on my stuff and get my stuff right before I can get into a relationship right now." Absolutely ridiculous!
I love that someone wants to put off a good relationship because they do not want to bring their crap into a relationship. Newsflash! You are going to bring your crap into a relationship no matter what you do. I do not care if you work your crap out and then get into a relationship. There will always be crap in your life, and it will always follow you into your relationship. You cannot allow your crap to affect or taint your view of your relationship.
I may be married, but Tonya and I both have crap we bring into our relationship. Does that mean our marriage is horrible? Of course not! We have a beautiful marriage that continues to show me more and more of my crap I never knew about, and yet our love grows as I trust her in the revelation and healing process of mine and her crap.
A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE MORE AFRAID OF TRUSTING THE OTHER PERSON THAN THEY ARE OF BRINGING CRAP INTO A RELATIONSHIP!
How great an analogy is human relationships to the connection we have with God! How familiar are those situations to the relationship I have with Christ! I am still learning not to approach God like a college relationship. I will too often look at my relationship with God and get frustrated. I often look at my lacking quiet time. I look at how uncompassionate I am to the broken among me, and then I assume my relationship with Christ must be failing because of all this crap.
I cannot keep connecting all these factors to the "success or failure" of my relationship with Christ. I cannot look at my lacking church attendance or missing a week's tithe and saying, "My relationship with God sucks!" My relationship with Christ is still in pursuit, and all those things are not indicators of a failing relationship. I will always have crap. I will always have walls. I will always mess up on my disciplines. I will always have things I am not that great at doing, but I cannot assume that all these things make my relationship with Christ horrible.
It shows that I do not really trust God's grace and love. I bring all my crap, all my inconsistencies, all my past into relationship with God and trust in his grace and his love. Yes I do have crap! Yes I am inconsistent in my discipline. Yes I need to be more compassionate, but my relationship with God is enriched by my need and desire for Him.
There is a story from the Middle Ages about a woman who had a vision. In her vision she holds a pitcher of water in one hand and a torch in the other. With the water she extinguished all the fires of hell. With the torch she burned away all of the pleasures of heaven that await us. Because of this, the only remaining factor was God alone. Sometimes it is good to remind myself why I pursue God at all. Why do I desire God at all? Are they selfish reasons? Do I desire God because being closer to God will bring ME blessings? Because it brings ME eternal life? Because it will bring ME honor and healing? Loving God for the sake of the transaction?
Do I begin all of my prayer with my needs, wants, and wishlists? Is that why I come to God in prayer?
An older rabbi once said, "I don't want your paradise. I do not want your coming world. I want you, and you only."
If I only loved my wife as long as she did everything I wanted her to, people would question whether I loved Tonya at all. If I only loved her because she does all the right things I need and want, you would rightfully challenge me to be far less selfish in order to actually claim that I LOVE her.
I wonder why that would be ridiculous if I "loved" Tonya like that, but its not so outrageous that I "love" my Abba like that.