Friday, March 21, 2014

Walk in your identity

"The real reason we avoid time with God", the title read.

The truth is that we have too narrow a view of what it is like to spend time with God. We think in terms of reading the Bible, praying, going to church. On the other hand, we have been taught that God is omnipresent; He's with us everywhere we go. We cannot ever outrun His presence. As the psalmist wrote, "If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there" (Ps 139:8).

We fail to see the dichotomies in our own thinking. If God is everywhere, if He is always with us, if we can never stray from His presence, are we not then spending time with God at every moment?!

What is needed is not to "spend more time with God", as I often hear many guilt-ridden Christians whisper. It is to become aware of Him and His presence in our daily lives. To know that whatever the circumstance or situation, He is there.

For too long we have been chased by the guilt of not doing enough and not being enough, when the fact is we have been accepted by God just as we are, and cannot earn His love or grace or mercy. I know I have often felt guilty for not praying enough, not reading the Bible enough, not evangelising enough, not being involved in missions (or even wanting to be involved in missions). It has to stop.

This is false guilt, keeping us bound in a performance trap. How much is 'enough'? You can pray for an hour a day, but there are those who pray for two. You may read the Bible every day, but only spend 10 minutes on it, while others linger for half an hour. Why are we comparing ourselves to everyone else? Where in the Bible do you see Jesus or any of the apostles setting any such standards?

The writer of the article states that we tend to slip into legalism, yet doesn't realise that she herself is still bound by the legalistic thinking of having to do certain things, and do them enough. She talks about how we should want to spend time with God because we should want to strengthen our relationship with Him. She says, "You can’t really get in quality time with God by just getting up five minutes earlier than usual. You’re going to have to intentionally set aside some time in order to really dig in." It's all about doing, doing, doing.

We've gotten it all wrong. Life with God is about being. It's in who you ARE. You are God's child. You are loved beyond all reason. You are accepted just as you are. You have been created in His image, fashioned with care. We have to learn to live in the knowledge of who we are. Embrace this identity. Know what it means to be called a child of God. Be aware that He is with us throughout the day. That with every thought, every whisper in our heart, every word spoken, we're communicating with Him, because He's there, and He hears us.

Of course I'm not saying that it's not important to read the Bible, or go to church, or set aside time for more formal or deeper prayer. But I'm saying that we should not look at these things as yardsticks to measure -- consciously or unconsciously -- how spiritual, faithful, or close to God we are. What a "good Christian" we are. Because we haven't been called to be "good Christians". We have been called to be children of God, and to love Him.

Think about the way you relate to your parents. You are always connected to them, no matter where you go, and you always walk around in the knowledge that this connection exists. You can't sever that from your consciousness because it's part of your core identity, from the time you were in your mother's womb, and later when you first learnt the words "mama" and "papa", or "mummy" and "daddy" (or whatever you call your parents). You may not live with your parents, in fact you may even live very far away from them; but in your heart, they are present, and your knowledge of them, the fact that you know they are somewhere out there in the world, affects your thoughts, words, and deeds, for good or ill. You remember what they have taught you, the values you've been brought up with... you do go home to spend some time with them, or call them up to connect with them, but when you aren't doing that, the connection and consciousness is still very much there.

That's how it should be with God.

No comments: