Mistaking Gimmick for Relationship with Jesus

Looking for a Gimmick Rather Than Jesus

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

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. Jesus 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 anyway, because it isn’t God!

No Gimmick with Relationship

No Gimmick with Relationship
Relationship is natural, and God wishes for us to interact all the time. There isn’t God time, work time, family time, and me time. It’s in the fullness of all time that He and I interact.

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

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    • Jack

      Oh John, how your posts have grown in depth and maturity over the years. I’m just so very proud and thankful for youl

    • Seth

      This hits right at home and exposes a gimmick I have been running in my mind with God that I didn’t even realize it till now. After reading this I took a deep breath and released the pressure I have been putting on myself i.e. if only I get up early enough to spend more time with God then I will have that closer relationship with Him I desire. All the while He is knocking on the door of my heart through out the day.
      This hearkens back to a portion I read this week in the book Adoration about Mary pouring out the spikenard and it dawned on me at that reading that spending time with God is also because He desires it, He has a need and desire to pour His love into me. It isn’t all about me and how can I withhold from God myself. It has given me a new perspective that is like a seed starting to grow and this post is like water and fertilizer on that seed.

    • Rachel

      “Relationship is natural, and God wishes for us to interact all the time. There isn’t God time, work time, family time, and me time. It’s in the fullness of all time that He and I interact.”

      This statement goes right along with the book I am reading (“Practicing His Presence” by Brother Lawrence and Frank Laubach). I want to just be in Him without trying to “get” there with my own hard trying. 🙂

      Psalm 31:15 New American Standard Bible
      “My times are in Your hand;
      Deliver me from the hand of my enemies and from those who persecute me.”

      I interpret this verse to mean: deliver me, not only from the enemy who is in the world, but also from myself and my standards and the methods I set for myself! My learning to be in Him is in HIS timing and under HIS direction.

      • I absolutely love, The Practice the Presence. Living to do all for the love of God is not for the faint of heart. But oh what a Reward!

        Yes Rachel! In my experience I am the biggest boogeymen in my life. I have often been my own worst enemy. I am the only one who can prevent me from knowing Him. But the good news in this is that Jesus is bigger than me too! Hallelujah!

        Love to you! Thank you for sharing and commenting.

    • David

      Thanks so much again, John our beloved! The simplicity of receiving His Life and Love- trusting in His Life!- safe at home in Him- resting- after all these years- it’s finally sinking in. True Peace is Christ. Amen.
      Thanks my brother!!

      • Well summarized Dave. Love you much!

    • Sue

      John, you have hit the nail on the head again……too much of the old woman, trying to find a way to God , getting cleaned up, set up, do something……I agree with Rachel sharing too.
      Bless you thank you for sharing HIS heart and His wisdom with me.

      • The old man is always “trying” isn’t he?! Nail on the head, and nail in his coffin. Bless you Sue!

    • arleen robbins

      Not proud to say that my early years of faith started there- if/ just… it was the continual need for Him that transitioned the change to relationship- the how to books are lame to me now- but they did start the hunger….

      • And as part of your sovereign journey to know Him, it brings Him pleasure. Sometimes finding out who Christ is, is find who He is not. Bless you Arleen!

    • Wanda

      Once again you and the Lord are speaking to me the same message. He is so good to confirm to my ever doubting mind that He is really speaking to me. Thank you so much for sharing. Love

      • Perfect, as long as we are saying the same thing I am happy! ? I love when He brings confirmations like that, it brings me such peace! Love you Wanda!

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