Life-giving and enjoyable communion with God. It’s the thing we all know we need the most but often, we seem to have a difficult time actually putting it into practice in our lives. How do we get to the place where communing with God is both a daily part of life as well as an enjoyable part of life? This is what I’d like to take some time to explore.
It’s easy to find ourselves in a spiritual rut and for our first response to be ‘What do I need to do to change this?’ We immediately devise a plan to do X, Y and Z to pull ourselves out of the rut, only to find ourselves continually in the rut again and again. What if the answer to what hinders us from finding communion with God lies not in what we do, but rather in what we believe about God? When there is a perspective shift, suddenly we stop connecting with God based on wrong ideologies and His True Nature ushers us in to the type of freedom we are longing for. I want to point out 3 wrong ideologies that many of us believe about God that inhibit our communion with Him, and do my best to shed light onto those lies we believe.
- God is a taskmaster, commanding us to ‘do good’ and ‘get it right’ to appease Him. I think all of us can relate to wanting to please God or thinking that certain actions will earn us a reward. It comes naturally for us, especially because we live in a ‘do good, receive praise’ type of culture. But what if we could see that God is always inviting and not commanding? Would that change how we approach Him? If my husband was always yelling at my 4-year-old son to ‘do this’ and ‘do that’ I think our son would probably not feel very good about himself nor would he be confident in his relationship with his dad. He honestly would probably not really want to spend time with his dad because their intimacy or friendship would be fragmented. But when a father talks kindly and gently to his child, something in the child’s heart is softened to hear and he will be drawn to his father. I am reminded of the verse in Hebrews 4:16that tells us to approach Gods throne of grace with confidence. We can confidently connect with God knowing that all He does and says is full of grace.
- I have to carry my own burdens because I don't know if I trust God with them. We all know and have heard the cliches a thousand times. We are told to trust God with everything. But how many of us actually do trust God with everything? Lets be honest, its easier said than done. And could it be that our clinging to controlling our lives and carrying the weight of it all is one of the key factors of hindering our communion with God? I think the truth is that many of us don't really know how to give our burdens to God. Does your relationship with God boil down to asking Him for things, but never surrendering the outcome, whatever it may be, to God? If our prayer life is built upon what God can do for us it will leave us dry and empty and bored to death. There is so much freedom found in fully surrendering our burdens to the One who was built to carry them. When we release the weight suddenly we find the freedom to praise Him no matter what happens. We find relationship and friendship with God rather than seeking Him for what he can do for us. This is a massive step in how we relate to God.
- I know the Bible says God is good, but I’m not sure if He really is. I believe Satan will do whatever He can to convince us that God is far removed, distant and unkind. Satan knows if he can keep us trapped in this lie, that he wins. Because believing God is good and that He is for us is the foundation of a thriving relationship with Him. If we’re not flourishing in our relationship with Him, we will be disconnected from one of the bedrocks of our faith. Consequentially, our communion with God will most likely be non-existent because, why would you want to talk to someone that you don't think cares about you? We all have life experiences or periods of suffering which will bring into question what we really believe about the goodness of God. But there is a reward for pressing in and seeking God deeply in those times, and part of that reward is ultimately more intimacy with God.
Let us take time this day to examine our hearts. Ask yourself, ‘What am I believing that keeps a wall up between God and me? Is it one of the above mentioned things? Is it something different?’God longs to draw near to us, we know that because He said so! He said draw near to Him, and you know what He promised in return? That He will draw near to you (James 4:8). We can be confident about this as we draw near to Him. He is pleased with you, He loves a humble heart and He wants to be with you.