And the angel said unto them, "Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings
of great joy, which shall be to all people."
It can be so easy to do things ritualistically. We can pursue rituals, religious practices and feel a false sense of accomplishment. Once we say our prayers and read our Bibles as often as possible and go to church every week, we can feel good about ourselves and as if we have accomplished our religious duty for the week.
But what if God expects and wants more from us? You may say, "More? How much more can He possibly want? I'm giving my best, my all, my everything." But are you really? God is a God that desires relationship. And in any relationship quality is certainly more important than quantity. Even we, in our relationships, don't just desire ritualistic acts of kindness or good deeds, we want to know that we are cared for, that our opinions matter, that our desires and needs are deemed important and not just another burden or chore to be carried out. We desire to be treated with more than just face value. We desire relationship too. So, our time with God should not be another religious "chore" to tick off our list. We should look forward to spending time with Him, communicating with Him, being in His presence, learning from Him. We should get excited about spending time in His Word and not just reading a chapter a day.
That's what my "relationship" with God was like when I first got saved. Each day I said my prayers and read my Bible. That was like a chore. I didn't enjoy it but did it with the understanding that this was what was expected of me. I went to church because I was supposed to. When I backslid and returned to the Lord, I finally somehow understood that christianity was about relationship not ritual, not just good deeds. It was about an intimate relationship between me and my God. I was getting to know Him and I was understanding and seeing for myself how much He loved and cared about me and still does and always will. So, my prayer time changed, my Bible reading time gradually expanded to include Bible study time. I was no longer just reading the Bible but reading to learn and grow in my relationship with my Heavenly Daddy. It became about understanding who God is so I could relate to and serve Him better.
When it ceases to be about religion and becomes instead a relationship, everything changes. Your attitude, your thoughts towards God, your desires, most importantly, begin to change and to conform to His desires for you. You're no longer living for yourself but you're now living for your God, your personal God because He is no longer just God, someone far away and unreachable. Now He's near and extremely accessible. You don't have to go far because He is right there waiting, loving, covering, protecting you and doing everything in His power to give His best to you. When you put things in that perspective, how can you possibly go back to a dry, unfulfilling religious lifestyle when you can have and experience and enjoy an intimate, all-satisfying one with Him?
I have been doing a bible study on the book of Ruth for the past several months. I’m finally almost at the end of the book where Boaz agrees to and puts things in place to be Naomi and Ruth’s kinsman redeemer. When you look at how Naomi’s life had been and at what she had been through, you can indeed marvel at how God turned things around for her in the end. As I looked at how blessed indeed Naomi’s life turned out to be, the following thoughts flowed through my mind and I wrote the following in my bible study notes.
Things may seem bad, desperate, hopeless but there is nothing that we go through that isn’t a part of God’s purpose for us. We see stress, frustration, persecution, oppression, in short, no way out! But, if we stick with God and hold on to His Word and His promises, we will see that God had a plan all along, that even if we were out of control and in a mess, God was in control all along and He knew what the end of our situation would be. When we’re going through the hurt and stress, it’s hard to see clearly but we don’t need to see clearly. Once God can see clearly, it’s enough and we’re going to be okay. Even though it looks like it’s over and that’s how Naomi must have felt, God still has the final say.
Naomi’s latter days were way greater than her past. She couldn’t see it when she was going through. According to Joel 1:4, “That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hah the caterpillar eaten.” This is what Naomi had gone through. She had lost everything, even her dignity and she returned home and to her God filled with shame, discouragement and bitterness. But God!!! In Joel 2:25 it says: “And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.” God restored Naomi. He blessed her above and beyond what she could have ever dreamed or imagined.
That is what God will do for you. So stand on His Word; stand on the reality of what He has done for you and others in the past, knowing that if He did it before, He will do it again. He may not do it the same way but He will do it!!! Where there seems to be no hope, God will restore!
Stand on His promise of restoration!
This blog provides inspirational nuggets inspired by the Word of God and serves to encourage and motivate Christians in their Christian walk.