I don't know if this has ever happened to you in your relationship with God. But if you're like me and many of my guests, you can probably point to a time when it did.
Because if you're like me, you want to have a deeply intimate relationship with God. You want to feel His joy in your work and your play. You want to feel His pleasure. But maybe it's just a bit “off” sometimes.
And you might be struggling with that right now. You might be trying to figure it out.
This misconception about your relationship with God can lead to that kind of struggle
Maybe you believed the myth that a deeply intimate relationship with God should be the natural byproduct of doing stuff for God.
It's a common misconception. It's one that I've held. It's one that Jesus even talked about when he had gone to visit Mary and Martha (you can read about it in Luke 10).
If you remember the story, they'd invited Jesus and his disciples over. Martha was busy getting everything ready – serving God. Mary was sitting on the floor just listening to Jesus, focusing on her relationship with God.
Martha got upset and made a bit of a scene and Jesus said “Martha, Martha…you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.f Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
I can't suppose to know Martha's motivation. But the way this played out is interesting:
- Martha was working to serve Jesus
- Mary was enjoying Jesus
And that brings me to what I think is the point of this whole thing: put Jesus first.
I don't know what that looks like for you.
Maybe it's having a time of worship early in the morning. Perhaps it's time in fellowship with other believers. Maybe it's stopping the stuff you're doing for a season.
Brent and Temple had an answer
I remember when I was talking to Brent and Temple Cundall. They were in the middle of raising funds to go overseas. They felt called into missions and realized they had to learn an entirely new job first – how to raise funds. It was challenging. I asked them what their final piece of advice was – and they had some very good advice coming from their experience.
I think it might even be a good answer for all of us.
Focus more on God in your daily, hourly life. Consider Him. Ask for His presence.
— Brent and Temple Cundall
That reminded me that just doing “God” stuff isn't enough. Doing is important. But it doesn't necessarily mean that we'll experience God's pleasure. In fact, if we're serving God the way we think we should, it will very likely get in the way of our intimacy with God.
And if we continue down that path, it can lead to the feelings of overwhelm and hopelessness that might just suck the joy out of our lives. But even in the middle of all this, God can remind us of the most important thing – just like He did for Martha.
- Are you looking for a place of deeper intimacy in your relationship with God?
- Have you made space for it?
Take a minute or two to consider where you are and what's going on and then take it to God. Don't just try to figure it out. Listen to His answer and then do it.