Nourishing Our Relationship With God

Our relationship with God is based on our love for Him and His love for us. And because we have this two-way love affair with God we want to to please Him. A good marriage is a little like this, when we truly have a loving relationship with our spouse we want to please him or her and our hope is they will want to please us. 

Doing what God wants and not what we want is at the heart of pleasing God. We should know however, that pleasing God is not the reason God loves us. His love is unearned. God’s love is not given to us because of what we say and do. We are not in good standing with God because of works. We are in good standing because of faith. This is what the Bible means when we read that we are justified (in good standing with God) by grace and faith. 

Yet, because we love God, pleasing Him keeps us close to Him. If we do or say anything we want, without thinking about what God wants our relationship with God is strained; positive feelings  are temporarily broken down. We feel separated from God. We don’t feel or sense His love. So God must discipline us to get back on track. This inward correction is like sandpaper in the soul and heart. Our heart is heavy and we feel guilt and regret. Until we truly fix this with God it will be very difficult to sense the love of God again. And we may not sense His love for a while even after we fix it, like a child might feel after they have been disciplined because they displeased their parents. The good news is, we will eventually feel close to God again.

Doing what God wants and not what we want is at the heart of pleasing God. This is how we nourish our love affair with God. We should not put ourselves in a compromising or a vulnerable position to risk displeasing to God and a feeling of guilt and shame. The Apostle Paul described this as making no provision for the fleshThe more we experience life the more we know ourselves and our weaknesses. We should not put ourselves in a compromising or vulnerable position that we know could put our relationship with God on hold. It’s just not worth it!

Recognizing there is so much in life we can enjoy and much less that we should stay away from is very important to know. My first experience with God was when I was about ten years old. But I didn’t get serious about my faith until I was a teenager. I remember thinking my life will be over, no more fun for me if I get serious with God. Well, I found out this was and is not the case, far from it. There is much we can enjoy in life and still do what God  wants and not what we want so we can keep our love affair with God running smoothly.

God does not ask us to live a life with little or no fun or meaningful experiences. In the beginning God placed two trees in the Garden of Eden. One was the tree of life and the other was the tree of knowing and experiencing too much. Not all things are worth knowing and certainly not worth experiencing. In the end they are not helpful for us and our relationship with God.

An interesting detail about The Garden of Eden is both of the trees (the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) were in the midst of the garden, the middle point of the garden surrounded by an abundance of fruit that God let them know was good to eat.  Only one tree was off limits for Adam and Eve. So they had many good choices. They had to walk past, dare say, trample over an abundance  of available fruit they were allowed to eat to even get to the one prohibited fruit that was smack in the middle of the Garden. They ignored the good and embraced the bad. The forbidden fruit was not necessary for a good life.

Paul wrote that we love God because he first loved us. Because we know we are loved, we will do well to continue to feed and nourish our relationship and love affair with God.  We must do what God wants and not what we want to do this. It really comes down to Thy will be done.

Joseph C. Hutchison

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