Jun 6, 2017

Don't Put God in a Box


If you could spend a whole day with someone, who would you choose to spend your time with?

Think about the question before you continue reading.  I'm curious who you would choose.  If you're like me perhaps your first thought was your favorite music artist, a preacher or writer who inspires you, or a friend who lives far away.  It's easy to imagine the hours that would fly by as you sat together discussing life, sharing dreams, and asking questions.  You might continue long after the sun has set, savoring the limited time you have with that special person.  Wouldn't it be simply wonderful?!

What about this:  How many of us would quickly answer the question by saying "Jesus."  How many of us would enjoy spending a whole day with Him?  And horribly, how many of us could actually stand a day like that?

It's like we put God in a box.  We almost esteem Him to be something like a sci-fi character, a remote Being who has superpowers to do anything He likes.  We just have to stay on His good side, ask Him for things, and try to live decent lives.  Then His job is to shower us with blessings.  Right?

Maybe that's a little extreme, but I think a lot of us live our lives with that attitude.  We have a place for God - in Church, in our quiet times, etc - but we don't give Him control over our whole lives.  We don't actually love Him.  Maybe God is like the president.  He rules over us, but He is so distant and powerful that we just can't imagine having a relationship with Him.




The Bible says that we should fear, honor, and revere God.  (see Deuteronomy 6:24, 1 Samuel 2:30Proverbs 19:23 and Hebrews 12:28)  He created the earth, set the stars in place, knows the number of hairs on your head, and the angels bow before Him.  He can move mountains, part seas, and knows your innermost secrets.  God is mighty beyond imagination.  It is so important not to take Him lightly or to esteem Him as something less than He is.

But we often fall short of what He truly wants.

Growing up as a Christian, I always knew that God loved me.  I knew that He was my Father and wanted me to give my life completely to Him.  Paul writes,
"He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will"- Ephesians 1:4-5
And Romans adds, 
"...you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 'Abba, Father.'" - Romans 8:15
We are adopted.  That means that God literally chose us to be His children!!  How mind blowing is that?!   That is amazing love.

But I failed to realize that Jesus wanted something more.  Yes, He was my Father, and He cared for me.  Yet more so - He wanted to be my best friend.

Remember the verse I shared last week?  The greatest command in the Bible?
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." - Mark 12:30
In my opinion, that sounds like a lot of love.  If I loved God that much, is there any possible way that He wouldn't be my Best Friend?

As I've thought about it more I realized something.

It's great to have human friends.  God gave us relationships for a reason.  They encourage us, impact us, and bring us closer to Him.  Friends make you laugh when you're feeling discouraged.  They are gifts from God.

But friends fail.  If you wake up afraid in the middle of the night, will your best friend be there to talk to you?  Does she understand your deepest struggles?  Does she know what it's like to be you?  Of course not!

He does.

Christ knows everything - the fear you keep hiding from those around you, the struggles you face every day, and the doubts that plague your mind.  And guess what?  He. Still. Loves. You.

Did you catch that?  God (the great I AM, the Creator of the Universe, the One who is clothed in glory and power!) loves you.  He loves little, tiny, unimportant me. 

I read Song of Solomon last week.  The whole book is a beautiful dialogue between a Shulamite maiden and her beloved who are madly in love.  But as I read it, I imagined something deeper.  Perhaps God wrote the book as a love letter to us.  His bride.  His Church.

He sees us as beautiful, loves us despite our failures, and wants to be with us and hear our voice.  And doesn't He want us to cherish the relationship as well?  Should we be in love with Him as He is with us?

Think of an engaged couple.  Do they ever stop thinking about one another?  Don't they desperately want to be together and talk with one another?  Wouldn't they give up anything in their way just so their relationship could be stronger and more heart-felt?  Would anything be too much of a sacrifice?

But is that us?

This summer we are focusing on love, and the greatest command of all is to love the Lord our God with everything in our being.  I think that means something more than spending an hour every day reading the Bible.  It's more than praying whenever you remember to.  I believe that we are supposed to have a personal, intimate relationship with God.  He is our Best Friend.  We are madly in love with God, and we can't wait until the day we can see Him face to face.  But while we wait, we are remaining pure, set-apart, and holy for Him as His bride.

Is that what your relationship with God looks like?  Are you living your life for Him, looking forward to that day when He will bring us home to be together forever?

This is step #1 in Project Love.  Before we start focusing on relationships with others, let's make sure that we are seeking God and giving Him our whole heart.  Don't put God in a box.  Open the doors of your heart and embrace Him.  Love, thank, cherish your Savior.  Only then will we be able to truly make a difference in the world.
"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." - Romans 5:8
What a beautiful romance story.  Christ died for us while we still hated and reviled Him.  He rescued and redeemed us - dirty, broken hearts.  What love.  ♥

Have you ever thought of God as your Best Friend?  Are you willing to give up anything for your relationship with Him?  How are you remaining pure for Christ as His bride?  Comment below! 

18 comments:

  1. this hit real hard girly <3 thanks for writing!

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    1. I'm thankful that God used this post to challenge you, Chloë Bug! =)

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  2. OHHHH MAN. HOSANNA. Just..just...THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART. This was beautiful. Seriously. This was sooo well-written and you didn't just gloss over this issue of love. You delved deeper and man you did it well. SERIOUSLY I DON'T KNOW HOW MANY TIMES I CAN SAY IT BUT THIS WAS GORGEOUS. <333
    It is strange, isn't it, that people don't want to spend time with the most faithful Friend of all? (*winces* I am totally not excluding myself here) What are some tips you have on really deepening out relationship with Christ, not just so we can say "I spent a half-hour in prayer today" but so our hearts can be changed?
    It is a beautiful thing to think of Christ as our groom (and the only problem is I don't here people expound on it near enough so THANK YOU). <333
    How's Project Love going?
    -Ariel

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    1. Ariel, you crack me up! xD But thank you; your words mean a lot to me. The topic has been on my heart recently (which is why I wrote the analogy several weeks past). Ever since reading Before You Meet Prince Charming (amazing book!), I guess I realized how I sometimes expect to find satisfaction and love from my future spouse when I can have it right now in Jesus! Seeing Him in that way is so special... it helps make our relationship more personal or something. It might be cheesy, but reading Song of Solomon was so personal and sweet. =) "I am my Beloved's and He is mine." ♥ I don't know how I missed this idea for so long...?

      But Ariel, I fail so much too. It's a struggle. During my quiet time I feel focused and in love... but as the day goes on I often lose sight. Don't trust me for an answer to this question. ;) But I think something that has helped me most is realizing exactly what I shared: Jesus loves me so, so much, and I need to remain set-apart for Him as His bride. It helps me to see Him in a personal way and love Him deeper. Yet I fail so many times... =( I understand you there.

      And that's one of the things I'm doing for Project Love right now. I have been mainly focusing on loving God more and my siblings - two areas I fall short in. What about you? How has Project Love been going? =)

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  3. I love your title! This is something that I have been inspired to work on recently, so your post came at a wonderful time. Thank you for always writing such amazing posts that encourage us in getting closer to Jesus! <3

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    1. Lol, thank you, Emily! I'm glad the title stood out to you. =) It's hard to give God the glory and respect He deserves, isn't it? I think we have a place for everything in our lives... and we don't always want to completely surrender our plans to God. =( But when we give it up it is so worth it!! Having a relationship with the King of Kings is a blessing beyond words! You said you have been inspired to work on this recently... how are you going to take steps to do that? =)

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  4. Great post! The title immediately reminded me of the song "King of The World" by Natalie Grant.
    I think it's very easy for us to turn to others for advice, comfort, ect., (which isn't wrong)... but we forget that the greatest One we can turn to is the King of the World, Maker of the Universe, and our best friend.
    People will let us down, but He is faithful and always remains.
    It's easy to only think about Him in our personal time in His Word and to move on with our day (which I do way too often) but it shouldn't be like that.
    Well thank you! Keep living for Him!

    sarahkeatts@blogspot.com

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    1. It's it strange how often we do that, Sarah? We seek answers from our peers instead of from the King of the world! Of course it's okay (and often beneficial!) to ask for Godly council... but we can take it too far and forget Who is the source of true wisdom. I love what you said, "People will let us down, but He is faithful and always remains." God always remains. Friends will come and go, but He is strong. What a glorious truth! ♥

      And thank you as well, Sarah! May He continue to take first place in our lives. ♥

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  5. The original question was "with whom would I spend a whole day, given the choice?". I wrote out an answer before reading on... but then I lost my message. When that happened to a friend writing to me this week, he said that perhaps it wasn't what God had intended him to write or for me to hear at that point in time. Now I echo that thought.

    What should I write now, I wonder... :)

    I've *thought* of God as my Best Friend, before, perhaps in the way that I think of 2+8=10. I know it to be true (or perhaps I know it *should* be true), but I don't often live feeling the weight of such a glorious truth in my life. Most of my other relationships take place and thrive in the physical world. I can see my friend and give her a hug. Or, if she lives far away, I can make plans to get on a plane, visit her and stay with her for a few days.

    Oh, I can't wait for the day when we will see Jesus!

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    1. I'll have to live in suspense wondering what your answer was, Jordy. ;) But I agree. God works in mysterious ways sometimes, and we need to be willing to change our plans if it seems that He has different thoughts on the matter.

      I know! It's hard... I would love to see Him in person, to give Him a hug, or to just hear His voice clearly. But it reminds me of some friends I have made without seeing them or hearing their voice. Deep relationships can be born through letters, emails, and other ways of communication that are not face-to-face. Why not our relationship with God? If we are talking, thinking, and sharing our heart with Him does it really matter that we can't see Jesus physically?

      Your words give me that longing for heaven, to see my Redeemer and know that I'll be with Him forever. What a day that will be. ♥ Thank you so much, Jordy.

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  6. Oh, to summarize, I basically said that the first person I thought of was God. Then I clarified that it's not because I'm *that* spiritual or anything, it's just that I was reading the question from *your* blog, and given your blogs focus, my mind was already switched to thinking about God, hence the answer. That's a really short way of putting it... but live in suspense no longer. ;)

    Maybe if we are talking, thinking and sharing out hearts with God it shouldn't matter that we can't physically see Jesus... but I still really, really want to...

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    1. Jordy, what you said made me think. "...given your blogs focus, my mind was already switched to thinking about God..." It reminds me that the things we surround ourselves with (blogs, books, movies, friends, and other influences) will decide what we think about. I find it encouraging to consider that reading something I wrote helped your mind to switch over to thinking about God. Doesn't that clearly show how we need to be careful with what we let enter our minds?!

      I do too, Jordy. I wish we didn't have to see "through a glass dimly", but one day we'll see "face to face." That hope gets me through life knowing that ONE DAY I'll be with Jesus. ♥♥

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  7. Yes, please be encouraged, because you constantly help me switching my mind to God over and over.

    True, and isn't that what hope is? Something that is yet to come that we're waiting for with great anticipation? Now that God has brought me out of my recent "dry season" or spiritual winter", He's restored that hope to me again! He is so good!

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    1. Your comment was quite timely, Jordy... I just finished writing tomorrow's post, and one of the central themes is "hope." =) It is a beautiful word! One definition words it as, "to believe, desire, or trust." I think it fits. Psalm 33:20 says, "Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield." (other translations read that our soul HOPES in the Lord) We believe, desire, and trust in the Lord, for He is faithful. ♥ And, as you said, He is so good!

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    2. Just another instance of God using our words in ways we never could have planned and knitting together the lessons we've been learning completely apart from each other to demonstrate that we're part of the same body. <3 I love how He does it. It just makes my heart want to praise Him!!

      Oh yes, what a fitting definition! (At least according to my understanding of the word) And I love the things we can learn by looking at different translations of the Bible side by side, and even delving into the Greek/Hebrew. Do you have any resources you go back to over and over? Are you still using Bible Hub?

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    3. Oh yes, I love my sisters in Christ and how we can be an encouragement and blessing to one another without even realizing it sometimes! =) Many members working together as one Body...

      Looking at Greek/Hebrew and varying translations can be helpful to me as well, although I don't normally take the extra effort to do so. =/ I don't have a specific resource... but yes, I do like Bible Hub. I've also used www.gotquestions.org to research different topics, but that is for questions not individual words/meanings as much. =) What about you? Do you have resources you recommend for digging deeper into the Word?

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    4. I use gotquestions.org sometimes too. :) I think their answers are very comprehensive and easily understood.

      Besides that, I really, *really* like blueletterbible.org. Have you heard of it? I'm not sure about all the different tabs they have; I supposed I haven't explored it fully. But what I *do* use is the search function. I search a chapter or verse. Then, when I click on the reference of one particular verse, it shows commentaries, interlinear studies, dictionaries, etc. It's proved very helpful for me! :)

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    5. Yes, I appreciate that they answer the hard questions that can be confusing. One time a topic gave me doubts, and reading an article on there opened my eyes and helped me to see clearly again. =) It's so helpful!

      I've *heard* of that website, but I don't think I've actually looked into it. But I saved the page so I'll take the time to examine it deeper soon. Thank you, Jordy! I'm eager to explore it. =)

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