I’ve been a Christian for as long as I can remember and believed certain things about God. In my heart, I thought God was just there for me when I ran into trouble; only to meet my needs and make me comfortable. I would go to church for years, getting caught up in His presence and love. Then I’d leave the church on fire for God, ready to serve Him with my whole heart.
But after a few days of the mundane, “reality” set in and I soon began living for my own desires, engaging in things I tried to hide from God. I might read my Bible a couple of times, even praying now and again; but the cares of this world would get in the way. By the end of the week, on a roller coaster of faith, I found myself back into pornography, gluttony, fear, condemnation and more; and in tears, promising God and myself that I would never do that again.
That was my Christian life for years.
Around 2014, working for Dollar General, for some reason I decided to go on a fast. I remember sitting in my hotel room, resolving to give up junk food that day for God. Little did I know, in that moment, my heart turned from living for myself to living for Him. And every year since, as I gave God more of my heart, I began to experience Him in greater measure.
Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.James 4:8
I’ve passionately sought after God these past seven years and have remained faithful to Him; through good times, fearful times, heartbreaking times and more. And after following Jesus, the biggest revelation I’ve received is this: to know Him is to love Him.
Love is the only response anyone could ever have to knowing and experiencing God. Not indifference, anger, hatred, or contempt; but love. And if you feel bitter towards God right now, once you get to know Him, in time, all that will be left in your heart is love.
If you don’t love Him, you don’t know Him.
Lord, open our eyes to see You, open our hearts to know You. Amen.
Of course I don’t know God completely, no one does. And there’s beauty in the mystery. But with what little I’ve learned, as I kept my gaze on Him, my love for God has only grown. Each day is better than the one before because he reveals more of Himself to me.
Is this religion?
If you believe the way to the Father is through religion, you just don’t know. No amount of good works can scrub away the offense of sin to God. Having a relationship with God is the only way to life. He’s everything; so beyond our wisdom and understanding, and more beautiful than our wildest dreams. Sounds too good to be true, right?
Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in Him!Psalm 34:8
God is good. But many things tend to keep us from seeing that goodness. They get in the way and cloud our thinking towards God, to the point where we’re convinced that maybe He’s not so good. Maybe He’s cruel, evil, or indifferent to our plight.
But He loves you.
The Omnipotent One; the Ultimate Creator, critical thinker and designer. The One who fashioned the universe with His Word, an expanse too large to comprehend; painted His canvas all the way down to the microscopic. The One who stands alone and full of Glory loves you.
God has fixed His gaze upon you with eyes like fire. His heart burning passionately for you. Please let that sink in for a moment. He never looks away from you, even when you can’t feel Him near. How often our emotions lie to us. That’s why we call it the Good News.
God sees you, God wants you, and God loves you.
When you are at the bottom of the pit and in that dark place, you can turn to God. He has done everything necessary to bring you back to Himself by sending His Son to suffer in your place. All you have to do is say yes to Him. No matter where you are, who you are, and what you’re doing.
I read in a comment section on YouTube once, that God is oppressive. My heart goes out to the person who wrote that. Because the root of all sickness, calamity, strife, fighting, hurt and pain, is satan. Jesus said “My yoke is easy and my burden is light,” and “I come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” Your pain is rooted in the Fall. God is not the author of confusion and death is not from the Lord.
If you eat of this tree you’ll surely die.
We often get our beliefs about God based on other people’s opinions, misunderstanding our own suffering, listening to wrong teaching in the church, or just walking through life. So often we forget that the truth is found in God’s Word, and this truth sets us free. When you forget to read His Word, you starve your spirit, just like you starve your body when you stop eating. The longer you listen to the world’s truth and ignore God’s, you’ll find yourself confused, hurt, defeated and wondering why God’s not listening.
Know that He IS listening.
His posture towards you has never changed and His gaze has never shifted from you. What gets in the way is not on His end; it’s on ours. Jesus, fully God and fully man, endured torture, humiliation, pain and death on the cross just for you. Why wouldn’t He listen to you, oh believer?
So what does God want from you?
He just wants your heart. That’s it. I used to believe that God only wanted me so I could work for his Kingdom and bring people to Christ. I had no clue that He simply wanted my heart. God delights in us; and He wants us because He loves us. His ultimate plan is to dwell among us.
And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.Revelation 21:3-4
He just wants our heart.
And when He has it, everything else will follow. “Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven and all these things will be added to you.” God wants to fellowship with us and show us his beautiful mercy and love.
I had a hard time with this because I’d always question if I was doing enough for the Kingdom. I’d sit in agony, allowing accusatory thoughts to bombard my mind. I’d be thinking, “Faith without works is dead, you know. I need to get busy feeding the poor, visiting those in prison, healing the sick, and raising the dead! I need to be reading the Bible and praying at all times.” I couldn’t figure out how to stop striving, and simply be. Have you ever been there?
But when you love the Lord and abide in Him, works will follow.
I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.John 15:5
You abide in Him because He satisfies. And only then, the works will come.
I find my once quiet, nervous, self going up to strangers and praying for them to be healed. Last year I started volunteering wherever I could, and now I make a point to speak life into people as often as I can. If someone offends me, I pray that God will bless them. Why? Because I love Jesus. Because that’s what He desires for me to do.
So come as you are.
God is not austere and distant. You don’t have to fix yourself up to get to Him. You can come just as you are. Give your life to Him and experience the joy and freedom known to those who love Jesus. Saying yes to Him is as easy as breathing.
Believe and say, “Dear Jesus, I love you. I thank you for taking my place on the cross. Come into my heart. I receive you unto myself and give you my life. Save me from my sin. I turn from the world and turn to you, forever. Save me Jesus and fill me with your Spirit. In your name I pray, amen.”