I’ve heard the saying “people are as close to God as they want to be.” I understand we are responsible for our spiritual life, but here’s why I disagree with the statement: I think most of us either don’t know how to be close to God or we are misinformed as to what we could possibly hope to gain there.
Whenever I meet with someone who complains they just can’t seem to find the time to read their Bible and pray, I instantly know they have misinformation and hurt around the goodness of God. If we believe that God punishes us, withholds good from us, doesn’t help us or come through for us, then yes of course it makes sense that we can’t find time to meet with Him. Who would want to meet with that? It gets tricky though because cognitively we may say no, I don’t believe unkind things about God, but deep within our hearts there may be disappointment toward God in very personal ways.
How do we work through this duplicity? Press in. Be honest—God can handle what we have to say! We can ask Him to meet us, speak to us, comfort and guide us. We can choose to consciously align our heart and mind with the truth of scripture. Well, I don’t feel like God is close to me. Feelings don’t create truth—they follow truth. “… the one who comes to God must believe that He exists, and that He proves to be One who rewards those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6) We believe that God is good and has good for us based on the truth of scripture and our feelings of closeness will follow.
Did Jesus in fact encourage people to draw near and follow Him? Jesus urged a close relationship, saying “Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-30) Jesus knew that He had good to offer us—peace and gentleness, partnership in life, learning and wisdom. He knew that His sacrificial death on the cross would defeat darkness and spiritual oppression. Jesus lived a perfect life so that we could enter in to relationship with God.
Listen to the tenderness of God’s heart toward us: “For the Lord God says this: ‘Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and look after them. As a shepherd cares for his flock on a day when he is among his scattered sheep. So I will care for My sheep and will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day. I will feed them in a good pasture, and their grazing place will be on the mountain heights of Israel. There they will lie down in a good grazing place and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I myself will feed My flock and I Myself will lead them to rest,’ declares the Lord God. I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken, and strengthen the sick.” (Ezekiel 34:11-16) This doesn’t sound like someone we have to beg to come close to us, does it?
“I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken, and strengthen the sick.” This, my friend, is the heart of God toward us. Do you feel lost right now? Is your life scattered or broken? Catherine Marshall wrote, “God seeks us out at a point in our own need and longing and runs down the road to meet us…At the same time, there is one central core of the entering-in or commitment experience that is common to everyone who undergoes it. It is the act of putting oneself—past, present, and future—into God’s hands to do with as He pleases.” (Beyond Our Selves, p 44)
Are we as close to God as we want to be? If not, we can put ourselves—past, present, and future—into God’s hands to do with as He pleases. We enter in, because we know that He is good.
Go to my website www.MargaretAllen.org for more resources. Please share this blog with everyone who is pressing in!