I have a confession . . .
There was a time in my life, back in high school, that I struggled spiritually to the extent that I actually resented God.
Things I now know are beautiful, things that now bring me joy, like holiness and purity and consecration . . . I resented these things. I was annoyed with God over these things. Sometimes, I even thought I hated them.
Why should God care if I dress modestly? How does it hurt Him if I don’t?
Why should God care whether I stay pure? How does it affect Him one way or the other?
Why should God care about my lifestyle? How does He really benefit?
(At the time, it never crossed my mind that these things might actually protect and benefit me more than anything else . . . but that’s another whole topic!)
I didn’t comprehend that God is holy: I didn’t get what that meant — couldn’t fathom the expanse and wonder of His holiness — and I didn’t really care to.
I was resentful that all these “obligations” to live right were cramping my style. Spiritually, I was a wreck. I was miserable, and I was sure it was all God’s fault.
Now, I did want to be aligned with God: I wanted to be on His side, on the winning team. I was just resentful that being on the “good side” would require me bringing my flesh under subjection. My flesh wanted to do its own thing!
Unfortunately, a lot of people in our world live the same way. They want to be on God’s team. They believe in Jesus. They even embrace the label “Christian.” But they don’t want a relationship with God to require any consecration.
Many people today realize that Jesus died on the cross for their sins — but after making a mental assertion, or a public statement of faith, they move on with life, giving Jesus little further thought in their daily choices and decisions and interactions.
Could it be that many don’t necessarily want to be in a committed, loving relationship with God; they just want to be “friends with benefits”? Could it be that many of us want to live our lives whichever way feels most comfortable to our flesh, but we still hope to spend eternity in heaven?
The truth is, if you try to live for God comfortably, you’ll always struggle to live for Him. If you never separate yourself unto Him, you’ll live a flimsy version of Christianity, never seeing a real demonstration of the power of God. You’ll never really know Him. And as it pertains both to the present world and to eternity, that is a tragic thing.
“Come out from among them2 Corinthians 6:17-18 NKJV
And be separate,” says the Lord.
“Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.
I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty.”
When it comes to Christianity, we can try living a flimsy, watered-down version — just like you could try to get tight abs by doing ten crunches every time you eat a tub of ice cream. Or you could try to score an A+ on your finals solely by thinking positive thoughts. Or you could try to keep a clean house by throwing all your dirty dishes in the garbage instead of washing them.
The truth is, we’re ineffective and we’re deceiving ourselves when we claim we have a relationship with a God we don’t live for, a God we don’t even really know.
Like anything else in life, the more you put into a relationship with God, the more you’ll get out of it. The often-used example may be cliche, but it rings true —
If your husband hated spaghetti, would you cook it for him every night? If he hated the color orange, would you wear your favorite orange dress on date night? If a certain perfume gave him a headache, would that be your daily scent of choice?
Hopefully, the answer to all of the above is no! Yet how can we convince ourselves we have a legit relationship with God while doing all the things the Bible says displease Him?
Like anything else in life – marriage, friendships, grades, your health – you will get out of your relationship with God what you put into it.
So put your heart into it. You’ll gain His heart!
Put your life into it; you’ll get a new life.
Put your dreams into it; you’ll reap His dreams. And you’ll find God’s dreams for you are better than any of the wildest, most beautiful things you could ever have dreamed up for yourself.