As I look back on all my years growing up, one of the things that bothers me is the fact that me and my dad were never very close. He was busy, I was busy, and I think it was that fact combined with some personality differences that we just tended to live in different directions. That isn’t to say that I don’t have some great memories with him throughout my life, but it is only over the last few years that we have really become friends.
Despite that, I have loved my dad my whole life. There is no doubt about that. And despite the fact that I never took much time to spend with him, he loved me the whole time too. It’s just that now I look back with a certain level of regret at all the missed opportunities to build that relationship.
I think most Christians are the same way. They love God, but in the busyness of life, and trying to live out their own passions and desires, they have steered themselves in a different direction, and don’t have time to spend with their Heavenly Father. It isn’t that they don’t love Him. They sincerely do. They just don’t take time to spend with Him, building that relationship.
The other problem for many people, too, is that when those of us in Christian leadership talk so much about spending time in prayer or in the Bible, no matter how clearly we try to articulate it, the human mind wants to interpret it as doing those things to earn favor with God. That isn’t the point at all. Like the saying goes, “Christianity isn’t religion, it’s relationship.” The question is, Christian, are you taking time to build that relationship or not?
See, the problem for me is that I understand that salvation is by grace alone. I can’t earn God’s love. I get that. But on the flip side, just being saved, doesn’t automatically give me a great relationship with God. That is only the beginning. We as Christians have to spend time learning to recognize God’s voice, and discover how the Holy Spirit will nudge us in our daily lives. Those things don’t come because you’re save. They come because you have spend time with God, building that relationship.
A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to someone who has been a Christian longer than I have been alive. This person was telling me how lately their relationship with God has grown so deep, and that they regret not making time in their lives for Him years ago. There is always that, “What if…” question that lingers. We must learn to cultivate that relationship now, so we don’t look back in a decade and wonder what we’ve missed.
If you are a Christian, then God is your Father, and He loves you. He doesn’t want you trying to do those things to earn favor. He wants you to do those things as a way of drawing close to Him. He wants to spend time with you, to teach you about the life He has for you, and yes, sometimes even to teach you the hard lessons and discipline you. Like any good parent, God wants quality, relationship-building time with His children.
Are you making time to spend with your Daddy in Heaven? He’s ready when you are.
You know, a couple of hours ago I was sitting in my truck at work at a water disposal facility on the side of the road. My dad happened to be driving by, and stopped to talk for a few minutes. I thought it was really cool.
What’s even cooler is that we have a Father who is always nearby, longing to spend time with us, even if we only have a few minutes. If you are His child, God enjoys you, and wants to hang out.