Can someone try too hard to walk with God?
I know that sounds odd, but relationship with the Living God cannot be earned by human effort, even extensive human effort. And sometimes those trying the hardest to make it happen, find themselves furthest from it. It breaks my heart to find people there. Religion never tires of telling us to try harder and giving us an increasing array of tasks to ‘help’ us find him.
Our self-effort still focuses on us, however, and we end up missing Jesus, who is right there to lead us into relationship with his Father. This is something he does at our invitation, not something we can do by our diligence.
Recently I met a man who was struggling with this very thing. If a relationship with God could be earned, this man would have earned it. He is a humble man, with an honest heart. He had spent decades in Bible study, prayer, teaching seminars, and local congregational leadership, trying to do whatever he knew to please God and was frustrated at how fruitless it had been. He felt as if God was a million miles away and had abandoned him in some of his greatest struggles. The first time I rode with him, he poured out decades of anguish and told me how empty he felt.
Over the next few days we talked about learning to live in Father’s affection, rather than trying to earn it. I encouraged him to relax in his walk with Jesus, to give up trying to control it and simply let Jesus take him for the ride of his life. It wasn’t easy for him. It isn’t easy for any of us. Religion has taught us that our relationship with God depends on our diligence, our commitment and our effort. It robs us of true relationship while piling on obligations that wear us out. I don’t know exactly what finally connected with him. I rarely do. But two weeks after I returned home I received a letter from him.
You can read the letter and the rest of the article here
I found this over on Wayne Jacobsen's site and found myself relating to a lot of what it said. Do we sometimes get too wrapped up in doing church instead of being the church? I am the type of person that stresses out about stuff pretty easily when things start to get overwhelming. I think I need to relax a little bit more and just let God be God and rest in His affection more than I do.
I've posted earlier that I'm in a really different place right now as far as this journey I am on. I think it is a lot easier to relax and listen for His direction than it is to get caught up in programmatic things. I'm still on this journey, so I don't know where it will end up.
Peace and be MoVeD!