“Our righteousness doesn’t depend on our present performance but on Jesus’ finished performance.” – Judah Smith.
I’m going to be honest with you guys. I’m sort of a huge fan of lists. I’m not kidding. I have a list for practically everything. I have a bucket list. I have a list of goals for the semester. I have a list of people that I need to buy presents for every Christmas—that I strategically check off as I go. I also have a to-do-list, which usually isn’t a bad thing, but lately, it’s sort of turned into one.
You see, almost every day I make a list of goals that I have for that day—read my Bible, study for tests, write an essay for school, do some chores, prepare for youth group on Wednesday night…it’s sort of my way of keeping my head on straight and reminding myself to do all the things. However, somewhere around halfway through the semester, my list-obsession started to catch up with me
Somehow, in the midst of it all, God wound up on my to-do-list.
Somewhere along the way, I began to turn my time with Him into something to ‘check off my list’. Something that I’m ‘supposed’ to do. But if you think about it, this isn’t how we see any other significant relationship in our life. We don’t think of spending time with our parents or our friends as something that we ‘have to do’ to check off of a list. It’s something we get to do. It’s quality time with the people closest to us.
This is the kind of relationship that God wants with us. It’s about more than just reading a chapter in the Bible or trying to pray for a set amount of time (one of my Christian professors literally told me to do this). It’s about encountering Jesus’ love on a daily basis. It’s about nourishing a close intimate relationship with the God who laid down His life to save us.
A while back, someone asked me a good question prompt for this blog—about how to put God first in our lives. And at the time, I wasn’t sure how to answer outside of the basics of having a daily quiet time with God. But lately, He has been reminding me that it’s about so much more than that.
He’s been reminding me that He knows every detail on my soul and every longing in my heart and every hope buried deep inside of me. He’s been reminding me that even on the days when I feel off or the moments when I struggle to feel Him, He’s still there! That He doesn’t want my works. He doesn’t want my ‘perfection’ (as if that actually exists anyway). He doesn’t want anything from me except my whole heart. He’s the only thing that can truly fill me—He’s the only thing in this world and outside of it that can truly satisfy!
Here’s the thing guys—God doesn’t just want to be first in our lives. He doesn’t just want to be the first thing we check off when we wake up in the morning, before we go to school or work. He wants to be in every part of our lives! He wants to be the one we go to at our lowest low, and the one that we praise through our highest mountaintop moments. He wants to be with us at our jobs, in our relationships, and in every part of our day.
When we approach God with a “checkmark” mentality, it can get exhausting really quickly. But when we approach God with everything inside of us, and just show up and say, “God, you already know all of this—but this is where I’m at right now. The good, the bad, and the ugly” It brings us more life than we can ever even imagine!
But somehow, even for those of us who are seasoned Christians, it can be so easy for us to forget this. It can be easy to forget to approach God with a mindset of relationship and exchange it for works. It can be easy for us to forget how present God truly is in every moment is, and how great His love is for us. It can be so easy for us to get so lost in ‘being a Christian’ that we lose track of Christ Himself.
This week, I want to challenge you—if you haven’t reflected much on it lately, to remember how great our Savior’s love is for you!
How His sacrifice on the cross isn’t just the thing that forgives us from our sin and saves us for all eternity but the ultimate act of love and the ultimate bridge between God and humanity!
How He is the only one who can truly bring us life, and purpose, and true fulfillment—and how our relationship with Him is about so much more than a checklist!
Set a fire inside of my soul that I can’t contain and I can’t control, I want more of you God. – Jesus Culture
“But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.” – Jeremiah 20:9 (NIV).