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Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness’ (Matt 7:21-23).
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake (Ps 23:1-3).
You shall be careful therefore to do as the Lord your God has commanded you. You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. You shall walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess (Deut 5:23-33).
Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them. The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple. I open my mouth and pant, because I long for your commandments. Turn to me and be gracious to me, as is your way with those who love your name. Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me. Redeem me from man’s oppression, that I may keep your precepts. Make your face shine upon your servant, and teach me your statutes. My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law (Ps 119:139-136).
Sometimes it is your own desire to experience God that hinders your personal growth.
Why is this? How can this be? Isn’t it good to eagerly desire the experience of God?
Yes! Absolutely! But the experience of God isn’t always mind-blowing. It isn’t always that tangible. But that is generally what you think of when you think of experiencing God: the wild, passionate, ecstatic experience where you are moved to tears, or filled with awe, or fall flat on your face before Him.
Those are all good and valid experiences. But they are not the only way of experiencing God.
It is easy to get so caught up in pursuing the highs with God—those big, sweeping moments—that you neglect the daily mindfulness of God.
You don’t have to pursue God. He’s already with you! You don’t have to seek some crazy experience. Just as you don’t need to create some crazy experience with your sister or brother or your best friend: you grew up with them, and you have those experiences, but the vast majority of your experiences with them was just daily living together, talking, annoying each other, sitting in the same room and not even talking but just being together.
You know all this about your human relationships, but how often do you think of these things with your divine relationship?
But God is a person. Your relationship with God isn’t merely a series of emotional highs and lows, but also the daily presence and simply being with Him.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Heb 12:1-2).
Don’t dwell on your sin: God’s taken it away, so set it aside. It’s not your burden to bear. So many of the deep valleys in your walk with God are in your own mind: you dwell on your failures rather than dwelling on Christ, who has freed you from them!
Take a deep breath! Relax! Following Christ is not the pursuit of perfection, for the Perfect One is already with you. Rather, set your eyes on Jesus!
Set your mind on God. As you work, work not just for Christ but also with Christ. As you play, play with the Spirit within you. As you go through your daily grind, grind it out with your mind on the Father.
You don’t have to achieve God, because you’re trying to achieve what’s already been accomplished. Rather, simply set your mind on the God who is already with you as you go through your daily life!