I John 4:10: “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (NIV)
Imagine your husband coming up to you, with flowers, after a really long, stressful week. He asks you to go out to dinner with him at the fancy restaurant across town. He lined up a babysitter and called ahead for reservations.
Instead of being excited, all you can think about is how you have nothing pretty to wear that fits and even though he was nice enough to arrange the babysitter, you still have to feed the kids, give them baths, and help them with their homework before even thinking about getting ready. Not to mention the fact that you were planning on tackling the huge pile of laundry since you are down to your last clean pair of underwear and there is a nasty smell coming from behind the couch that needs to be investigated. Lastly, the deadline for your work project is Monday and you are only one-third of the way finished.
Instead of welcoming the time alone with your husband, relaxing together, enjoying his company and remembering why you two fell in love, you brush him off with a half-hearted promise of, “Maybe next time…”
Sometimes, I think that’s how God feels about how we treat Him. He presents us with beautiful flowers in the summer, changing leaves in the fall, bright red cardinals against a backdrop of a winter wonderland, and multiple shades of green in the springtime. Let’s not forget that every day he shows his beauty in a different colored sunrise and sunset simply for our enjoyment. He puts people in our lives that enrich us, gives us inspiration, hope, or encouragement at just the right moment through songs and/or friendship, and allows us simple pleasures such as flavored coffee, thick socks, or activities that we enjoy.
How many times, despite God standing there with the beautiful bouquet of flowers in His hands, do we dismiss our time with Him, giving instead a half-hearted, “Maybe tomorrow, Lord, don’t you see how much I have to do today?”
That truth hit me hard this morning. As I have said previously, God is a gentleman and will never force Himself or a relationship on me (or anyone else). He waits patiently until I choose to come to Him, seeking that relationship that He has been waiting to share with me. So, why then, as a Christ follower, do I choose to ignore the One who is the source of my strength, my comfort, my hope, and my encouragement and instead turn to the extra hour of sleep, another rerun on TV, or the all-important meeting, committee, or shopping spree?
The answer isn’t about what can (and will) God do for me if I make Him the priority in my day. Yes, He will bless me with more time, more energy, more strength, more compassion, and better priorities the more time I spend with Him, the more I get to know His heart, and the more I become like Him, but it’s about so much more than that.
It’s about my relationship with the One, true God of this Universe. I want to give Him my undivided attention, to focus on what He wants me to learn, to obey Him because I love Him and want to be more like Him (not just to follow a bunch of rules), and to show Him with my actions and my words that He is the most important priority in my life.
Just as I don’t want to brush off my husband when he presents flowers and offers me a chance to be wined, dined, and really focused on; I want to give God special time even more. Lastly, as in the above example, my marriage wouldn’t be headed for divorce court if I refused to go out to dinner with my husband; but I sure would miss out on a chance to connect at a deeper, more meaningful level and in essence, would be responsible for us both suffering as a result.
The same is true in my relationship with God. If I have prayed the sinner’s prayer and genuinely asked Jesus into my heart to be my Lord and Savior, then I have the assurance of salvation. Nothing can take that away. However, if I don’t make it a habit to sit regularly and read the Bible to find out God’s opinions about how He wants me to live, if I don’t pour out my heart to God about the cares and concerns in my life, and I fail to sit quietly and listen to what He wants to tell me, then I am missing out on the experience of having a deeper, more meaningful relationship with the One who created everything. God has promised us in His word an abundant life, but He will not force it on us. We have to desire it, claim it, and thank God for the promise of it.
Where are you today? Have you made the first and most important decision – To admit that you are a sinner and need God to come into your heart and change your life, offering you the assurance of spending eternity in Heaven with Him? What about if you have that assurance – then what? How would you rate the deepness of your relationship with your Savior? Are you casual acquaintances, weekend buddies, or intimate friends? God is always available, waiting patiently. It’s up to you to determine how close of a connection you want to make with Him.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with my Friend, and I don’t want to keep Him waiting. I can’t wait to see what He has planned for me today.