Religion vs. Relationship – a cup of tea with Jesus! (Part 3)

Posted: 16/05/2011 in God

My time with God changed dramatically when I had a cup of tea with Jesus! I’m not mad, truly, this was life changing for me. I read somewhere about how we can treat our times with Him as religious experiences, forgetting that we have a friendship with almighty God, that He desires an intimate relationship with us. The author suggested making a cup of tea for ourselves and for Jesus as if He was right there…because you know what? He IS right there! Of course it’s a symbolic gesture and while I’ve only done it once it changed my thinking so radically that my “God time’s”, as I like to call them, are no longer the same. Let’s not forget for a single moment who He is or make light of the time we spend in His presence but let’s get past the stuffy, dutiful practice we’ve made it. Please don’t think for a moment that I am suggesting there is anything wrong with structured time, with planning or with discipline in prayer or reading the word. Nor do I suggest that the things that work for me will work for you. I’m merely suggesting that for some, including myself, this became a religious experience that ended up hindering and not growing me. We are unique, our relationships are unique and while our God is steadfast and unchanging, the way each of us experience time with Him will vary. For some, we often view doing time with God as actually “doing time”; a chore or a trial, slotting it in somewhere in the busyness of our day. This has been true for me mostly because I made it a religious exercise and not a relationship but also because I did not grasp the diversity that can come with it and in it. For many of us God time is just prayer and reading the bible and comes with all manner of good intentions. We try to set aside some time, intent on reading a chapter or a book, pray for half an hour, work through an intercession list and so on. We neglect listening, meditation, worship in music and song, personal refection, revelation and the blessings that are a part of spending time with our Father. We can’t live up to our own standards and give up or get frustrated or condemn ourselves. At least this was true for me anyway. I’d come to see it as my scheduled and structured God-in-a-box time. I call it that because out of guilt driven striving, I put the limited expectations I had of God in a nice little neat structured box, scheduling time with Him on my to-do list, all the while thinking that He can’t possibly meet with me anywhere, anytime other than at my house or at Church. How this must break the Father’s heart. What is my point? Simply, that there are many mistaken assumptions and various bad habits that may cause us to withdraw our time from God. I’ve identified seven that have at one time or another been clear in my life. In those seven areas God is revealing His heart and desire for me, He is giving me freedom and peace and what a time we’re having. Maybe you can identify with them as I discuss them in subsequent posts.

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