April 17, 2013

Firsthand Experience | Day 8

Reignite Your Most Important Relationship

“O God, you are my God;
I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
where there is no water.”
Psalm 63:1









The following is an excerpt from Firsthand: Ditching Secondhand Religion for a Faith of Your Own by Ryan and Josh Shook.

Regardless of how long you’ve been a Christian, it can be easy to lose sight of the true reason for God’s sacrifice. We begin to shift our focus from the intimate relationship that God intended by His sacrifice and try to make His gift of salvation about legalism. Whether out of habit or guilt, Christians often revert to a legalistic mind-set built around rules instead of a vibrant and beautiful relationship built on love. It’s exactly the kind of thing that Jesus chewed out the Pharisees for (Matthew 15:1–20; Luke 11:37–52).

Rules and discipline are important, but when they suck the life out of a relationship, they can become destructive. Many of our friends have turned their backs on Christianity because they’ve burned out trying to be “good Christians.” They traded their intimacy with Christ for a checklist, and they lost sight of the love that brought them to Christ in the first place.

Once you make a relationship all about rules, it becomes almost impossible to derive joy from it. Spending time talking with God becomes not a pleasure but a chore. Going to church feels like a waste of time instead of an exciting celebration. Sharing your faith with friends turns into a burden, not an adventuresome risk. We know God loves us, but we often have difficulty delighting in Him. We find ourselves getting stuck in the motions of legalism and experiencing little joy in the presence of God. How do you rediscover delight in a relationship that feels like a dead end?

Maybe you had an enjoyable relationship with God at one point but you’ve let the lines of communication shut down. Maybe you’ve let guilt or disappointment or busyness come between you. Whatever the situation may be, I challenge you to pause for five minutes and just talk with God. Talk about what’s come between you. Talk about whatever you want, but be deliberate about reconnecting with Him. Admit your soul thirst to God and just how desperately you need Him. By doing this, you’ve taken your first step away from the to-do lists and back toward enjoying your life with God.