So many of us want a gimmick for relationship with Jesus rather than just actually interacting with Him. Four easy steps to blissful worship, three easy leaps to rapturous Bible reading, the ABCs to an amazing prayer life—all in hopes of our relational nirvana with God. But I can assure you that even if we reach our gimmick goals, at best, the gimmick will only give a momentary satisfaction. Actually, lasting fulfillment is never found in a gimmick.
Humanity, as the endless addict, ever seeks the golden ring of relief from our gnawing ache of need. And we’ll often go to great lengths to alleviate it. Like an Arab merchant, we haggle and wheel and deal to get the best we can, all the while, the Lord just wants relationship, not a deal.
The “If…Just” Gimmick
To be honest I can remember times of deal making with God. And it goes beyond, “If you just do this, I won’t ever ask for anything else…no really!” It goes a little more like this, “If I can just wake up early every morning, then I would have a great relationship with You.” Or, “If I could get free of this struggle, then I would be pleasing to You.” Or, “If I just didn’t have this situation in my life, then I would have the time to focus totally on you, God.” Do any of these sound familiar? They each are illusive mind gimmicks, which promise something, “if…just!”
This isn’t how God works. He doesn’t desire our mind tricks and patterns. He just wants us to come as we are. He isn’t looking for a set of human protocols that we devise to make us worthy. He has made us worthy in the Life of His Son. My additional steps toward having intimacy are usually steps back, not steps forward.
A gimmick just makes us a yo-yo on a string, trying the next trick. “If ONLY” statements prevent us from having actual relationship with God. “If ONLY” statements are needless stops and limits I enact on my life and relationship with God. Christ has paid for my entrance with His sacrifice, so why would I place additional requirements on our relationship? And who are these requirements intended to satisfy, because it isn’t God!
No Gimmick with Relationship
I was reading a book yesterday and in it they quoted a statement from the movie Garden State. Though the quote isn’t about God, for me it rings true of our relationship with Him.
“Safe. When I’m with you I feel so safe. Like I’m home.”
God not only wants to make our hearts His home, He also wishes us to be at home in His heart. This makes haggling profane. Our attempts to earn, placate, work the newest how to’s, or devise a gimmick to have intimacy—all these just prevent us from actually enjoying what we have been given: amazing intimate access to the Father of all.
Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Ephesians 3:17-19 NLT