Want to know what I am tired of? Sunday Church. Sometimes I am tired of the routine of it all. I ache for the Holy Spirit to be found in the pews, but instead I find plastic smiles. I long for the shaking of the walls, but instead I get lack of passion. Sometimes I get the feeling that we come for the wrong reasons. We come to be a part of a religious elite. We come to participate in the “check-off-the-box” syndrome. We come, but we remain in chains.
And if we think we are hiding all of the above from the world, then we are all too naïve. I sat with a lovely friend at dinner the other night and she told me why she never went to church, and quite honestly, I agreed with her. All she had ever seen was rules, never a relationship. The only thing I could tell her over mac and cheese and white wine was get with Jesus, just get with Him, and I think you might fall in love.
Because when we get with Jesus – really get with Him – you can’t not fall in love. It’s not the pastor’s job to get you to fall in love with God. He toils and strives all week to bring a good word into the church, but he ultimately can’t make you fall in love. It isn’t the church’s job, either. Or your mom’s or your husband’s. It’s between you and God. When you draw near to God, He will draw near to you.
The thing about God is that once you taste Him, you want more. But tasting Him isn’t easy. That is a lie that the church has told us. If you just raise your hand and say you are a sinner, that you will freely walk into the land of milk and honey. Nobody ever really talks about how faith is a fight, and the stripping of the world is a constant battle. Dying to yourself was never supposed to be easy, but it is supposed to bring us the most satisfaction. We have been sitting in a warm bath too long – wanting the things of the world and the things of God. I don’t know about you, but I want God more. The consequence of being spit out of His mouth for being lukewarm strikes me hot — so this week I have one thing ringing in my brain — want Him most.
As I walk into my week, here are four things I will practice to get to Him. (And know this: these four things aren’t a magic formula, but they are ways to get with God, and if I want Him most, I have to want to be with Him).
A) Stop trying to find the shortcut.
There is no shortcut. If you want to get with God, you have to make time for God. Set aside a special time for you and Him. Create time to taste Him. Make it sweet. Pour yourself a cup of coffee. Fill it to the brim with sweetener. Light a candle and open His Word. Let yourself breath in this place. When you seek Him, He will meet you. He promises that He will. I haven’t ever met a friend who sets aside special time with God, that regrets it. You won’t be the first.
When you open God’s word, pray. Ask God to show you exactly what you need to hear that day. And may I suggest that you pray out loud. Just say it to Him, like you would say it to your friend, your husband, your dad. It’s good. He loves to hear your voice. He made it after all, and longs to hear from you. If you need a place to start, say the Lord’s prayer (Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed by thy name, thy kingdom come, thy earth be done on earth as it is in heaven). If you can’t think of anything else, it’s okay because that is actually how Jesus taught us to pray. However, If you want to unload on Him, He is there to listen also.
C) Fear God over fearing others.
Whatever He speaks to you while you are quiet with Him, is what He wants you to bring into the world. It’s when we close our Bible that things get tough. The world starts running fast and furious in front of us and we have to actually battle. The battle comes in fearing God over fearing others. Believe what He said is true and don’t let the world compromise it.
D) Know you are going to do this all imperfectly.
God never used perfect people. When you mess up, don’t let it keep you from coming into His courts. Keep going back. Keep seeking Him. Suddenly being perfect won’t be your goal, but being with Him will become your focus.
Let’s actually be the light on the hill the world is aching for. Let’s do it by getting with Him first. Let’s let Him overwhelm our souls so that He can overwhelm our cities. Our world is falling apart and we can’t fix it alone. We have to fix it with an Almighty God. We have to let the church be what it was meant to be. A healing place. We have to take our rightful place in history – bearers of the Most High God. But we have to meet with Him first. Which one of these do you need to practice this week? And it’s ok, if it is D) All of the above because that’s the answer I am going with.
D) All of the above.