This world is going to hell in a handbasket. Have you been hearing this phrase or something similar lately? I know I have. The actions of people, especially in this country, are becoming more and more self-serving while expecting others to take the blame for wrongdoing. Race, occupation, economical status, and education seem to be the main points of criteria that determine whether one is a criminal or a victim. I believe that none of these things really matter in the face of what’s truly important.
What I have seen, not just in media outlets but in the personal lives of people close to me,is the lack of a true personal relationship with Christ. I am recognizing it because I first saw it in myself and immediately had the thought, “without faith, it is impossible to please God”. (Hebrews 11:6) This started a cascade of thoughts that connect the dots, at least for me.
When something bad happens, do we tend to ask God why did it happen? or Why didn’t He stop it from happening? When we are faced with a difficult test, don’t we pray for God to make it easier for us? When we have loved ones who are enduring disease or other hardships, don’t we pray for God to take the problems away from them? I think it’s natural for our first thoughts to be that the difficult circumstances be taken away, but that’s not what God wants at all. We’ve heard this message 1,000 times, but I don’t think we get it. Either that, or we simply don’t believe. Not like we say we do.
So, Hebrews 11:6 goes on to say, “For whoever would come near to Go must believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him out.” It’s a pretty simple sentence, but if we examine it closely, it is the key to keeping peace in our lives and not falling for the tricks of deception that is prevalent in the world.
So here’s a test for you. Ask yourself if you believe in God. Do you believe that Jesus was resurrected from the dead? When I asked myself this, my answer was yes, of course. Then I asked myself this next question: When you ask for God to do something specific in your life, why do you immediately question whether or not He will do it? Okay, so I said I asked myself this question, but I think it was God prodding me because I don’t think I would ever ask myself such a difficult question, knowing that I would stumble in answering it. I say that because I have a hard time admitting that I doubt God will answer my request in my favor, although I do. I tell myself I don’t doubt God, it’s that I doubt that I am really in God’s will. But if I doubt I am in God’s will, then how can I be confident I have a good relationship with Him? Do you see where my dilemma is? My focus is in the wrong place when I am fooling myself that it’s in the right place. I’m focusing on whether I can please God, when all He wants is for me to diligently seek Him.
You mean focusing on trying to please God isn’t diligently seeking Him? No, it most definitely is not. When I worry about anything, I am essentially sinning and that does not please God. So worrying about whether I am pleasing God is sinning, which doesn’t please God. However, if I set those thoughts aside and simply get into His Word and look for Him in everything, then not only do the worries go away, but I end up pleasing God because I am looking for Him with my heart.
This connects it all back to when we pray. We can pray for things that we want, but I wonder if we pray more for things we want than for just talking with God like the trusted Friend that He is. After all, I am coming to believe that the more I pray to God as my trusted Friend and not just my “Genie in a bottle”, the more God gives me things that I might want. Wasn’t it David who said, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want”? Perhaps he meant more than just he doesn’t want the Lord (because the Lord is always there), but that he has not want for other things because the Lord always provides.
If the Lord always provides when we have a close relationship with Him, then we no longer act out in the world. We don’t cry for attention via social media, we don’t use other people’s tragedies as excuses to behave violently or obnoxiously and we don’t blame others for anything that might be causing difficulty in our own lives. We simply trust God through the good times and the bad and continue our communication with Him on a regular basis, knowing that He will never leave us. It’s the relationship status above all.