Eight years ago I was in a slump. God seemed very distant from me. I was tired. I had been taught and had taught others that we can live with the assurance that everything that happens in our day-to-day life will work out for the best…for God’s best which is ultimately for our best. I knew God’s promise that He would take care of me. I had experienced God lifting the burden off my back, and Him carrying it for me. I had experienced God’s peace. But at the moment none of that mattered to me. I was in a slump and God seemed very distant from me.
What was wrong with me? It wasn’t my faith. I knew and even believed the right things but slowly, over time, I had closed the door of my heart to God. I had relegated God to a safe place in my intellect that allowed me to say and teach the right things, to do my job, without the principles I was sharing with others impacting my own life. My problem wasn’t my faith it was that I had forgotten that what really mattered was my relationship with God not how much I knew about God. I needed to reopen the door of my heart — and my life — to God.
Some of you need to do the same thing I did. I had to humble myself before God and say, “Jesus, I give my entire life to you. Thank you for all you did and do for me. Take the lead and I’ll follow.” But hadn’t I done that before? Oh yes, and I have had to go back to that relational square one many times since. The wonderful thing is that no matter how often I retreat to my intellect Jesus is always there ready to gently welcome me into relationship with Him once again.
Maybe you have been following Christ for years, but, like me, you stubbornly keep putting yourself back in charge. As a result, you find yourself trying to do everything on your own. You’re attempting to build your own house, and watch your own city — and you’re discovering that what Solomon said in Psalm 127:2 is true:
“In vain you rise early and stay up late.”
From experience I can tell you that when you try to do it on your own, you find that there’s just no peace. You find no peace no matter how hard you work, no matter how great your accomplishments, no matter how much you possess, no matter how much effort you put in your relationships, or in anything else. There’s only one place of peace in this world: living everyday — all day, day-in, day-out, in dynamic relationship with the living God.
Being in relationship with God is different than our normal human relationships. It is not a 50/50 arrangement. We’re not equal partners with God. To put it in sports terms (sorry, but that’s the way I roll!) He’s the coach; we’re the team.
When Vince Lombardi took over the Green Bay Packers in 1959, they were at the bottom. They had won only one of twelve games during the 1958 season. As the players arrived for camp in June 1959, Lombardi greeted them with this speech: “Gentlemen, we are going to have a football team and we are going to win games. You are going to learn to block, run, and tackle. You are going to outplay all the teams that come up against you. And, most of all, you are to have confidence in me and enthusiasm for my system. Hereafter, I want you to think of only three things, because only three things matter: your family, God, and the Green Bay Packers!”
Lombardi was probably the best coach who ever lived but our Coach is infinitely better! I want for you what I have: full confidence in God and enthusiastism for His “playbook”.
God’s promise to each and every one of us is: Enter into relationship with Me through My Son. Follow My lead, and I will make you more like My Son than you ever thought you could be!