I’m not the most driven, goal-oriented person, but it’s in all of us to set goals and take steps towards them to achieve them. If my goal is this, what do I need to do? We’re always trying to reduce tasks to the basics, break them down into little to-do lists so we can put little checks in the boxes beside each item and know that we’re making progress.
The thing is, though, relationships don’t work that way. I find myself constantly wanting to draw up to-do lists and plans for how to grow a deeper relationship with the God I profess to love, but how can I? I’d be fooling myself if I said I could. Read your Bible, pray every day? They’re important, yes, but they do not, in and of themselves, immediately bring me closer to God.
It’s a never-ending debate. Yes, they are much needed, but without the right focus, they become empty. Yet is it not better to persevere in doing them? I think so.
My aim here is not to flesh this out in detail, but merely to explore where I am now. I have come close to Him. I have tasted and seen that, indeed, the Lord is good. But I am prone to forgetting. I am prone to think that my knowledge that He is good can sustain me. But it cannot, simply because having knowledge of Him is not the same as having His presence. So what if I know that He is good? So what, if I stop there and do not press into His presence? It would be like knowing that your favourite food tastes good, but never actually putting it in your mouth again.
It’s a question of why wouldn’t you? Why wouldn’t you eat it, if you know it’s so good? Why would you stay at a distance, simply remembering the taste of it, when you could have it again? Here’s where the food analogy needs to end. We can get sick of food, we may not feel like having that particular taste at that particular moment… But God is not just any kind of food. He is our sustenance. He is the source of our life. He is the food that we need to stay alive. He is necessary. We NEEEEEEEED Him. I need Him. So whether I feel like eating or not, I’ve got to. And I can hold to the hope of the wonderful taste it will give me. Do you see? He’s made it so easy. So easy!
So why? Why is it still so hard?
We are human, and that’s that. There are many different ways you could look at it, many problems you could identify – we rely too heavily on emotions, our wills are weak, we are forgetful, we are foolish, etc. The point is, we need to deny ourselves. Christ clearly stated that. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise, really, that we feel this way. It’s simply a matter of following through on the choice and the promise we’ve made to follow Him. Simple as that.
Then He said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” –Luke 9:23