There is no such thing as a perfect relationship, but there is such thing as an honest relationship. A good relationship is one in which you know when you are close to each other or distant. This goes for marriage, family, dating, and friendships.
One of the biggest challenges we have in relationships is being aware. Often times, we are caught off guard by each other because we are in denial or just unaware about the distance the other person feels in the relationship.
O LORD, why do you stand so far away? Why do you hide when I need you the most?
Psalm 10:1 (NLT)
David had a clear awareness of when he was close to God and when he was far from God. Awareness can sometimes be half the battle when it comes to building a close relationship with God. The challenge that many of us face is that we need someone else to tell us if we’re close to God or far away from him. When that happens, we become more focused on what people think of our spiritual condition than we do about God, and we can end up drifting further away from what God really thinks and feels.
This doesn’t mean we don’t need human relationships—because we do! But it does mean we each need a personal relationship with God that is built on honesty and awareness.
Spiritual Drift: How Did I Get Here?
We ought, therefore, to pay the greatest attention to the truth that we have heard and not allow. ourselves to drift away from it.
Hebrews 2:1 (JBP)
We begin drifting from God and become self-deceived when we stop paying attention to truth. We can settle for right behaviors, doing things just because we know they are the right things to do, but no longer have the right heart or motives behind them.
When we’ve drifted, we stop being aware of simple truths. Ask yourself the following:
- What distance am I creating between me and God?
- What distance is creeping in between me and my family? Spouse? Friends?
- What are we “not discussing?”
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame.
When my focus isn’t on Jesus, everything starts to become about people (i.e. blaming, bitter, belittling). Envy makes me drift. What sins are signs of you drifting?
The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles.18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. 19 The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.
Psalm 34:17-19 (NLT)
Many of us don’t like to be “broken-hearted”, let alone rescued. We can avoid feeling broken-hearted at all costs. In my pride I want to be the one who “rescues” others, without having to be “rescued” myself. I build relationship where I can be in control, “over” someone, better than someone, not needing anyone, and not needing God.
When we harden our hearts, we grow numb and avoid feeling any emotion, especially those that are negative or painful. How is it possible to have a good, intimate relationship with God without allowing ourselves to feel again? Our culture values being being cool, calm, and detached. Be believe the myth that emotion makes us weak instead of the reality that emotion reveals where we need to grow and shows us our need for God.
4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
- Can I be happy and honest without submitting to God?
- Is what I’m doing right now what God really wants?
- Am I helping the people God put in my life?
- Am I reaching out in my community and neighborhood as a friend the way Jesus would have?
- Am I using my talents to build God’s kingdom?
- Am I working at my own relationship with God and leading others to God?
- What’s keeping me from submitting to God?
The way to turn back to God is by submitting to Him. God says he will come near to us when we submit!
Verse 9 says: “Grieve, mourn, wail.” You’re going to have to feel again, and it might not feel good, but it will help you find your way close to God.
Responsive Hearts Take Action
19 O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. He will be gracious if you ask for help. He will surely respond to the sound of your cries.20 Though the Lord gave you adversity for food and suffering for drink, he will still be with you to teach you. You will see your teacher with your own eyes. 21 Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left.
Isaiah 30:19-21 (NLT)
Who influences you the most? The most influential people in our lives are those we spend the most time with. We become weak when the people closest to us don’t help turn us towards God. But we become strong when the people closest to us help turn us back to God.
What action is God calling you to take this week?