H.G. Wells was never particularly religious, but after he had studied the history of the human race and had observed human life, he came to an interesting conclusion:
“Religion is the first thing and the last thing, and until a man has found God and been found by God, he begins at no beginning, he works to no end. He may have his friendships, his partial loyalties, his scraps of honor. But all these things fall into place and life falls into place only with God.”
Wells was right. Life in all its fullness begins with God. While it’s sad that an irreligious world doesn’t make the connection. Yet it’s sadder still that too many Christians fail to grow, develop and enhance their relationship with God.
(1) Substituting knowledge about God instead of knowing God.
It is easy to memorize verses, recite lists, and become proficient with facts, without really getting to know God and develop an intimate relationship with Him.
While the sons of Eli no doubt had knowledge of the LORD, the Bible says they were “corrupt,” did not “know” him.” They had no communion with Jehovah. Unlike Abraham they were not “friends of God.” Nor like Enoch did they “walk with God.
When a wife says to her husband, “you don’t even know me! What does she mean? She’s not talking about facts. But understanding her emotionally. Being in touch with her desires. Needs. And wants. And feeling a special bond and intimacy in their relationship.
Divine association with God goes beyond simply studying His Word. It brings is in touch with the heart of God. It is loving God with all of our being. And walking close to Him.
(2) Satisfaction with our relationship.
If you have a good marriage and have been married for 40 years, your relationship with your spouse is not the same as during your dating days. Or even the first few years of your marriage. You have grown closer. Your love has deepened. Matured. And expanded.
If, however, your marriage is average or less than that, you know there’s something missing. The connection is not quite right. There is complacency. Apathy. And dullness. Maybe there’s no desire to divorce, but you’re just living together instead of really being together.
The same applies in our relationship with the Lord. We can fall into a habit just “going to church.” Doing our Bible reading. And saying our prayers. But we, like the Laodician Christians have grown “lukewarm” (Rev. 3:15). We’ve settled for less. So much less than we could have.
The difference is that both the physical and spiritual relationship, takes work. Necessitates daily involvement. Demands deep commitment. And requires communion beyond a surface level.
(3) Distractions of the world
In His parable of the seed and sower, Jesus warned about “the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches” choking out the Word (Matt 13:22). When earthly cares and monetary matters dominate our thinking, they stifle our relationship with God. Dampen our enthusiasm for matters of the soul. And smother our desire for spiritual fulfillment and divine association.
John commanded us to “love not the world” for a reason. The world deflects and distracts us from the proper focus on our heavenly Father.
If you don’t feel close to God, why not? What’s hindering you? How can you rekindle the passion? And where do you begin? These questions are worth your serious reflection.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman