Years of following Jesus. So lost in the early years. So not understanding. So much growing to do. God transformed me, and still transforms me, and will continue to transform me. Started off so religious about it all. I wonder if you can perhaps relate. And if you need a wake-up call like the one God gave me early one morning.
God didn’t create us to be simply robots performing man-made traditions and rituals as though we can measure up to Him and make ourselves look pretty and perfect to keep up appearances for Him and everyone else also. He didn’t create us to obey a bunch of laws while keeping a far away distance from Him as though He himself doesn’t matter so much just that we keep up with our spiritual to-do list.
God created us to love and worship Him forever, to be madly and passionately in love with Him, for Him to love us beyond measure and for us to love Him beyond measure in return. For us to obey Him in our exceeding love for Him who first loved us. To experience and enjoy intimacy with Him forevermore. For us to look to Him first as Lord and Father in heaven and Creator and master but also as very best friend. To commune with Him day and night and for eternity.
Jesus spoke strongly against the Pharisees who were all about traditions and appearances while their hearts were far from Him. So what about you and me?
God the Father gives us a relationship with Himself when we turn from a lifestyle of sin, turn to Jesus Christ as Lord and believe in Him and in His death and resurrection. We are forgiven, born again spiritually with a fresh start and a forever relationship with Him, and His Spirit comes to live in us. This is to be a love relationship, of Lord and Father for servant and son or daughter, and we are to actively participate in this relationship. Not from a distance, but from a place of deep intimacy with Him.
God in His mercy and unfathomable love helped me to discover His yearning to have a relationship with me and all His children. Long story short. He drew me to Himself and began to teach me the way of intimacy with the Lord Jesus Christ. Astonishingly beautiful, wonderfully amazing. So real. So raw. So lovely. So unbelievably precious. More and more intimacy. Learning to have intimate fellowship with my Jesus. My Lord and Savior. My redeemer and King. My best friend.
Beautiful, so beautiful. Not that my life was easy. My life has been so very hard for so very long. But in the midst of it all this sweet, sweet fellowship developed. This lovely, lovely deep, ever deepening relationship grew – and grew. In fact, I believe God used my seemingly endless life challenges to draw me indescribably close to Him. And closer and closer to God I drew. And still draw.
But all of a sudden in the midst of it all I woke one morning, and God shocked me with this.
I had fallen back into starting my day in a tragic way. Religiously. Like a tradition. And I have a very strong feeling I am not alone in this. God didn’t leave me there. He simply woke me up so to speak. I had gone back into having a little checklist in my mind. Wake. Pray. Read the Bible. See if God has anything to say as I rush into the day.
Absolutely nothing wrong with praying at the start of the day. So important! Reading the Bible at the day’s start? Wonderful! Vital! Seeing if God has anything to speak to my heart? Couldn’t recommend this more highly. So what was the problem?
Long ago I worshiped the Lord in the beginning of the day however I felt led. I might lie on my face before Him. I might cry out to Him. I might dance. I might sing and dance. I might thank Him and praise Him. Oh, and to enjoy His presence. I would feel close to Him. I would know His nearness. And it wasn’t about how long I spent in His presence. It was just that my heart was so in it. There was intimacy.
Somehow, not on purpose, not even recognizing it, I had drifted back into what I think so many of us likely do. Spending time with the Lord early in the day can become as insignificant to us as brushing our teeth and washing our faces.
Oh, what a tragedy! To take for granted that Jesus died on the cross and was raised from the dead so through Him we can have a forever relationship with God that because of our sins we could not otherwise have. To take for granted that Jesus the Son gives us access to God the Father. THE FATHER IN HEAVEN. Who loves us more than we can fathom. Whom we are to love more than anything or anyone else.
God gave me a wake-up call that morning.
I believe He was calling me back to Himself. Freeing me once again from a bunch of religious activity like being with God in the mornings, or at any time at all, is nothing more than a nice obligation.
Oh, Lord! Help us all! Help us to know and love and follow you intimately! Crush and destroy any religiousness in our lives that keeps us from you. That puts a wall between us and you. That is about us and humans not about you dear Lord. Draw us to yourself! Lead us into your presence! Teach us to love and worship you the way you desire! Give us intimate relationships with you more beautiful and wonderful and pleasing to you than we can imagine. Bless us with your nearness. Teach us to abide in you as you abide in us. Please God, please do, AMEN!
Cry out to God! Oh, will you pray to God on this matter? Then may you hear His Holy Spirit speak to your heart on this. And may you obey Him with every ounce of your heart, AMEN!
“Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘THESE PEOPLE DRAW NEAR TO ME WITH THEIR MOUTH, AND HONOR ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR FROM ME. AND IN VAIN THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE COMMANDMENTS OF MEN.’ “” Matthew 15:7-9 NKJV
“”I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.” Revelation 2:2-5 NKJV
“O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water.” Psalms 63:1 NKJV
“I spread out my hands to You; My soul longs for You like a thirsty land. Selah” Psalms 143:6 NKJV