Tuesday, December 31, 2019

How Much God Do You Have?

Dear Friends,

There was a time in my life, back in my twenties, when I had too much God. Honestly. The Deity was really making me very uncomfortable. I was technically a born-again Christian believer but seldom went to church. I was barely getting my feet wet in the shallow end of the spiritual pool, and there was still too much God in my life. My difficulty with God was that in order for me to live the good life my way, I needed a little less of Him in it. I wasn't what the good Christians called “walking with the Lord” and my problem was that the Lord had not walked away from me. That whole “I will never leave you nor forsake you” promise to us? Hebrews 13:5 God really meant it. And it's uncomfortable when you're trying to live a nice, carefree life of unrepentant sin with God watching over your shoulder. 

We seem to fall into one of three categories of relationship with God. The first category is what I’d call having “too much God.” It may be that He's calling us to a more righteous way of living and we don't like the cost of that call. There are things we say, do and think that we don't want to give up. Let’s face it. Most of the sins we commit are those we enjoy doing. And let’s get real here. If we were honest, most of us would admit that we would much prefer to ignore our neighbor than to love them. And despite what Jesus said, there is just absolutely no way we're going to forgive those people who have done us wrong. And that whole Matthew 25:31-46 thing about doing for the “least of these”? Forget it! And then suddenly, we're painfully aware of the pesky Holy Spirit convicting us of our sins and calling us out to live like a Christian. See what I mean? Too much God!

Then there are those Christians who honestly believe that they have just enough God. Let's do the math: I spend two hours in church on Sunday if I include the hospitality time. There are 168 hours in a week so my two hours in church is 1.2% of my time engaged in a religious activity. But I'm a good Christian so I pray for about 7 minutes a day which is 49 minutes a week. And sometimes I pray longer if there are a lot of things on my list to ask God for so let me round up my weekly prayer time to one hour. And then there’s my devotional reading and sometimes I even read my Bible so let me add another hour to my spiritual balance sheet. So now.. Two church hours, an hour in prayer and an hour reading and now I'm up to four hours a week. Whew! Let's see..That's about 2-3% of my life I'm doing a religious activity and that's just about enough. So I'm good! Don't need to be a fanatic about it! I mean really.. I got a life to live! So I’ve got enough God now, thank you very much!

Of all Christian believers, the second category of having “just enough God” is by far the largest. The first category of “too much God” is the second largest group of believers. And then there's that small group of radical Christians...

Those who just can't seem to get enough God. They long for more of Him. They thirst for His presence in their lives. God is never far from their thoughts. Prayer to Him is not a brief, compulsory religious ritual but a conversation that they periodically enter into throughout their day. Whether their prayers are extemporaneous or from a prayer book, they find themselves spiritually refreshed and filled with the peace of God. They also find themselves singing hymns and worship songs; sometimes not even aware of it. Hymns and worship songs have become the intrinsic background music of their lives and often spring spontaneously to their mind throughout the day. In every disturbing, stressful or worrisome situation, the first thing that they typically will do is to pray for guidance and often a Bible verse or thought will come to their mind that is specific for what they are experiencing and feeling. They find themselves being effortlessly thankful to God in all things for there is always something in every situation to be thankful about. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 If you were to call them a zealot for God, they’d blush at such a high compliment. Their faith is their passion and priority, and if you were to ask them, they’d answer that they never have enough God and wonder if it is even possible for anyone to have “too much God” in their lives.

As we begin the year 2020, which category are you in? Stop for a moment. Think about it...
❑ Too Much God. 
❑ Just Enough God. 
❑ Not Enough God.

Which category does God want you to be in? Do you have a faith that’s alive and powered by the Holy Spirit? Are you enthusiastically walking on a spiritual journey with Jesus becoming more like Him every day or are you just napping by the side of the road? Too many good church-going Christians have left their love of God behind and simply become dedicated patrons in the museum of religion on a Sunday morning. Or, are you perhaps at a stage in your life where you just want to be left alone and are annoyed that Jesus persistently stands at the door knocking? Revelation 3:20-21.

Wherever you are at, on your spiritual journey today, as we step over the threshold of 2020, I believe that God wants to say something to you at this very moment...

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