Religion vs. Relationship – Is God a waste of time? (Part 5)

Posted: 18/05/2011 in God
Tags: , , , ,

The second mistaken assumption we sometimes have about God time is:

2.      It’s loss of valuable time.

We are busy people; busy with work, busy with family and busy with play. Because of that busyness we, with some bias, select what we allow into our life that might chew into our valuable time. Often those things are based on what I discussed in the last post – profit. If it will be profitable then it is not a waste of time. Unfortunately time with God, instead of being considered valuable, is more often than not seen as a waste of valuable time. I know how exceedingly busy life is but let me ask you two things: Firstly are you prepared to consider God time outside of the box? Does scripture say that our time with the Lord should be at the same time everyday for the same length of time, structured in the same way? Not in my bible! Secondly does your time management and prioritisation need an overhaul? In my own life I recognise that I had my priorities completely out of whack. While I managed my time well I didn’t fill that managed time well. Does that make sense?

I mentioned in an earlier post that Jesus said “…Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence. This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: Love others as well as you love yourself. These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them” (Matt 22:37-40 MSG). Love God, love people! I’ve considered this a lot in my struggle with seeking to spend time with God and it not being a religious thing. This is how I’ve unpacked it and I’d be curious to know what other’s think. If, according to scripture, the greatest commandment is to love God with all my passion (heart), prayer (soul) and intelligence (mind) then my greatest priority, my reason for getting up in the morning, my existence, everything that I am needs to be about God and for God. If I am putting Him last on a list of “things to do” then do I really love Him as He commands? Likewise if I am putting Him first, but religiously, on a “to do today” list am I really loving Him or just be dutiful? This is the quandary. I think it’s all about love and the verse in 1 John 4:18 makes more sense to me everyday. It is applicable in so many areas of our life, including God time. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18 NIV). In honest reflection on my relationship with God, I came to the realisation that I admired Him, feared Him (and not in the awe/fear way), acknowledged who He was and felt drawn to Him but I did not really love Him. How is that even possible for someone who professes to follow Jesus? That’s a whole other post but simply put, I don’t think I comprehended the depths of my sin or didn’t understand His grace beyond measure. I think that unless we have experienced the, beyond description love of God, we can’t really love Him in the way He commands. Perhaps that’s where religion comes into it. It’s like saying “I love you” to an uncle you rarely see; you might say it but you don’t mean it the way you do when you say “I love you” to someone you deeply love and from whom you’ve been given love. Carrying on from the before mentioned verse, John says “we love because we are loved” (1 John 4:19 NIV). If we have not really experienced God’s love then we are driven by fear and this can happen with our God time. Out of fear we obligingly spend time with Him and it’s of no real value. Once we grasp this and come to understand and experience God’s love, do our times with Him automatically become easy? Maybe not but they should begin to change. For me what has changed is the deep desire to spend time with God, in His presence. There is a longing deep in my soul that I have not had before. It is a spiritual hunger and thirst for God. This must be what the psalmist was talking about in Psalm 42:1-2As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God”? Finding the time though is not always easy. Part of that is priorities that are out-of-order and part of it is actual literal lack of time. So you have and do experience God’s love, you are hungry to spend time in His presence and see the immense value in it, but you still have trouble because of time or because every now and again it starts becoming a religious exercise. Is there no easy way? That has been my battle and in the next post I’ll write about what is helping me in this area.

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