So many times man wants to know what the rules are. What can we get away with once this game starts? How close can I come to cheating before it is actually cheating? I see good. I see evil. Now I want to know where the line is between the two. I want to know how close I can come to the line without crossing it.
We do this with God. We ask these questions in many different ways. We ask it differently because we don’t want God thinking that we sometimes desire evil, as if He doesn’t already know our thoughts. But we ask; What must I do to be holy? What must I do to gain eternal life? What do I have to do to keep on God’s good side? How many committees do I have to sign up for to make sure the pastor is off my back?
It’s like a young teenage boy asking how often he should write love notes or get flowers for the girl he loves. Son, if you have to ask, you’re not in love.
But we treat God so differently. How often do we have to do devotions? How often do we have to pray? Can’t I miss church just one week? Ladies and gentlemen, let me offer this kindly; if you have to ask, you’re not in love.
One does not clock out of a relationship like you do at a job. One does not call it a day in a relationship. When you are madly in love with someone, you don’t put off saying the words ‘I love you’ until the next time. There might not be a next time.
In a relationship with God, one does not submit a minimum payment required like we do for a car payment or a mortgage. There is no making a double payment next month. God is not charging interest or offering money-back guarantees. When He said His gift was free, he meant it.
When we ask how much do we need to do in correlation with our relationship with God, we are often asking how much we need to do before we don’t feel guilty anymore. And when we ask that question, we are revealing that we do not ‘get God’. When we ask what we must do we are avoiding answering His question of what we desire to do.
We see good. We see evil. But how often have we seen God? How often have we gazed into the face of our Creator and allowed awestruck wonder to hold us there? How often have we allowed our hands to run across the pages of His Bible, like we might do with a hand-written note from our beloved?
Perhaps those of us who have been married for longer than 15 minutes have allowed the necessities of life to drown out the love song that once played so loudly in our dating relationships. Maybe the problem is that the last few notes we’ve gotten from our spouse read, ‘Don’t forget to pick up milk and diapers before you come home.’
Perhaps, like any marriage, we have become so accustomed to our ho-hum relationship with God that it no longer carries the passion it once did. We no longer ditch some other responsibility to be with our beloved. We no longer choose to lose sleep just for a few more moments with the one we say we love more than anything else in this world.
And maybe, just maybe, it is because we somehow slipped into thinking that checking items off of a list would be the equivalent to knowing and to being known in a relationship.