I heard someone say the other day that they had a hard time dealing with relationship verses work or service with God. Practicing in the presence is sometime hard for some people. Dealing with mind going hundred miles an hour, walking by faith, spirit of religion and how we shouldn’t live by performance or principles but by a transition to live by practicing being in His presence. Let me explain where I am going. Principles can be at work even when we don’t feel presence but however can be domineering. We know we shouldn’t lie, kill or steal so we don’t. Although these are rules or commandments we don’t break, it is still not being the same as relationship. I don’t do those things not only because of the consequences but also I know it would hurt Jesus, the One who loves me so much that He gave His life for me. Works do not save me, grace does. Mercy and Judgement pour from God at the same time, there is love but there are also consequences of those who refuse to obey. The Word tells us that if we love Jesus we will keep his commandments.
I gave this as an example once. You are going 55 in a 35 mph zone. There was a sign posted but you didn’t see it. It is a law that if you are speeding you will get a ticket, not excuses are tolerated. The policeman however has the right to either give you the ticket cause you broke the law or he can give you mercy by giving you only a warning. He has the authority to give you mercy or pass judgement. The important thing to remember however we don’t always have a relationship with the policeman because he may be a stranger to us, he still has the right to pass judgement on us. God loves us and He has His Word for us to live by to keep us safe and blessed but if we overstep those boundaries we will be quick to find out that we are in trouble. All of this however doesn’t prove how much God loves us but how much we have a relationship with him and it shows us how God extends his mercy upon us and releases us from judgement when we ask for forgiveness and turn from sin.
Another example is the relationship with your spouse. I love my husband and I wouldn’t want to hurt him because I love him. There are things I don’t do because I know I would hurt him (like breaking my vows or even simple things that I know that would hurt his feelings). I have a relationship with him. I don’t earn my right to live here nor do I work for him in order to earn his love. We exchange our love daily, we communicate and we practice being in the presence daily with one another. The same should be with Jesus. I have seen at times the people who find it hard to get into the presence of God are the ones who are so busy doing his work they have little time for Him. Remember the Mary and Martha story?
Practicing being in His presence should not be so hard for us once we understand the concept of His Love, His tenderness and His grace. He is with us daily and we should acknowledge him through everything we do. Then when we are alone with only Him, we don’t have to try to get into His presence with hard prayer or music because He has been with us all along. We sometimes rely on our feelings to guide us. Even with our own spouses, our feelings toward them may change at times of frustration or unmet expectations but it doesn’t give us grounds for divorce. Divorce is completely dissolving the marriage where all communication and relationship is stopped. Somehow people do that to Jesus. They only want to have communication with him on church days or days when they feel like it or have time for Him, therefore it is hard to get into His presence with deep intimate connection. Being married only to see your spouse on week-ends and only for times for them to just make you happy is not relationship, it is selfishness. We can cook, clean house and do all the right things as a wife would do but if we never saw, loved or communicated with our husband there would be no point in having a relationship. Let us stop using God only for what He can give us but love God for who he is and what we want to give Him.
Living for God is a process and a journey. We don’t have to prove or earn His love, just be His love and love others in the process.