How often have you found yourself rubbing on the lamp of God waiting for His Spirit to pop out and grant you good behavior? Or Him wave a wand of obedience over you to make you act righteously, be a better person? Lord, help me with my anger! Help me stop overeating! Help me stop drinking/doing drugs! Help me stop being promiscuous! Lord, give me patience! Lord, I want to be a better person! Help me do the right things, say the right things!
Recently I was convicted, and quite honestly have been before, that I was treating God more like a spiritual genie and a behavior modifier than enjoying my relationship with Him. Quite frankly I was making obedience an idol and making it a top priority in my life more so than knowing God Himself.
Let me say that I believe when you love God you want to please Him, you want to be more like Him, walk in His ways. This is a good thing. But we must be careful to not place the emphasis on behavior more than on the Savior, the One Who enables us to become like Himself. We also have the tendency, ok, let me rephrase that…I have a tendency, as I can’t speak for you, but if you’re anything like me, you have a tendency to want to behave good, to do the right thing. And, sometimes the reason behind it is because we think that we will misrepresent God if we don’t, and other times it’s simply that we don’t want to look bad in front of others.
Truth is God does command us to live righteously, He does call His children to be light in this world, and to live a life that shows His Son in us. To be set apart from the things of this world and its practices. That does require us to put aside fleshly desires and set our foot upon the narrow path instead of the broadened road. But God does not depend on us to do this. He is the One Who gives us the courage, the strength, and the ability to walk in obedience to Him. And that comes through relationship with Him.
Think of it like this; how many times have you heard about couples that have been together so long that they act like each other? Some even start to look alike! That’s precisely what our relationship with our Father should emulate! We should be so close to Him that we become like Him and live a life that reflects His Son. This is where obedience enters the picture. We don’t obey to get closer to Him, and we most certainly shouldn’t get close to Him to behave better. But becoming like Him will come through relationship, a side effect really!
Where does relationship begin? The couples I just mentioned previously who act alike and look alike, what would you say they did in order to develop such a close bond? Spend time together? Learn each other? Talk? Listen? Acceptance? Sacrifice perhaps?
I would say yes to every one of these. Even going a step further with studying each other. I don’t mean in a creepy, dissect their every move kind of way, rather take in their essence. What makes them tick if you will? Learn them, pay attention to them, truly want to know them. And, not just for your own benefit and enjoyment but so that you can give to them in ways that truly meets their needs and desires.
Do you believe that the Father has desires? For us? For His Kingdom? One thing He wants is for not anyone to perish, but that everyone come to repentance. – 2 Peter 3:9
How do you think this applies to us? By knowing God, His Word, and sharing the Truth with others. If we do not know the Truth, do not know the Father, how can we share Him with others? How can we be like someone we do not know?
Bring to mind a friendship, a relationship perhaps your wife/husband/gf/bf/bff/family member that you want(ed) to introduce to others, you were/are so proud for others to meet them because this person means so much to you, and you believe that they bring happiness into the lives of those they come in contact with. How enjoying their company with others is rewarding not only to you, but to them and others.
Now imagine that this friend, this love provides peace to everyone in their company, the reward of knowing them gives ultimate joy even when circumstances are low, and the reward is eternal life with them. This is knowing Jesus, this is Holy Spirit within…this is relationship with our Father.
So the next time you feel like your behavior, attitude, or actions need changing sit down with the Greatest Love, Best(set) Friend, most Wonderful Father and just enjoy His company. He’s always there and He never grows tired of being with us. 💞