My pastor is the type of Christian that wears his relationship with Christ on his sleeve. He’s not pushy or self-aggrandizing in his love for Christ. But when you speak with him privately, hear him preach, watch him lead meetings, he just oozes passion for Christ.
He is the leader of four churches with hundreds of parishioners, but I honestly believe that if all of it was taken away from him tomorrow it wouldn’t matter. Because he would still have his relationship with Christ. And to him, that’s everything.
He doesn’t say that. He lives that.
But as much as my pastor loves Jesus, he, just like you and I, is programmed to drift away from Christ.
Isaiah 53:6 says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way…”
Peter echoed these words when he spoke to the early church.
“For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the shepherd and overseer of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:25)
Left unattended, our default mode is to DRIFT AWAY from Christ relationally.
Apparently, even the man after God’s own heart dealt with this issue.
Psalms 119:33–37 says this: (Most commentators agree that David wrote Psalm 119)
- (33) Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, And I shall keep it to the end.
- (34) Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law
- (35) Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, For I delight in it.
- (36) Incline my heart to Your testimonies, And not to covetousness.
- (37) Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, And revive me in Your way
This passage shows us a man just as in touch with his humanity as he was his spirituality. David knew that He needed God’s divine help if he was going to be the true worshiper he desired.
The same is true for you and me.
Thankfully, Christ knew this too and made provision.
Grace for the Undertow
Despite the fact that we’ve been redeemed from sin, our sinful nature stubbornly pulls us away from Christ like an undertow pulling a victim out to sea. Unfortunately, this is something we’ll continue to deal with until we shed our immortality.
The Apostle Paul aptly captured this paradox when he said, “we have this treasure in earthen vessels.” (2 Corinthians 4:7–9)
An experienced swimmer knows that to escape an undertow they must swim parallel to the shoreline and out of the deadly current. Tragically, many swimmers point themselves to the shore and expend all their energy fighting the current’s direct force.
We often use the same strategy when our sinful nature pulls at us.
Instead of crying out for God’s help, we swim harder. And sink deeper.
Not Human Love
Perhaps part of the reason we are reluctant to ask God to help us love Him is we are operating under the concept of human love.
According to worldly principles, a request such as this would make true love impossible. After all, we as free-willed beings need to CHOOSE to follow Christ. This is what makes our love for him true. We choose Him over other options.
But one only needs to look to the Cross as proof that God’s love and human love are not the same things.
Further proof of this distinction is found in an analogy made by Jesus during His earthly ministry.
A Father’s Love
Matthew 7:9 -11 says:
(9) Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?
(10) Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent?
(11) If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!
I have four children. Although they disappoint me at times, I never refuse their cry for help. In fact, I love for them to run back to me. I receive them with open arms and gladly help them love me more.
A father’s love is powerful like that. And that’s just the human kind.
Can you imagine how much more your heavenly Father loves you?
But you should try.
Especially when you feel unworthy of it.
Refusing to ask God to help you love Him is not what God wants. Nor is God impressed by pompous displays of human strength as you flail defiantly against the undertow.
What Christ wants…what He paid the ultimate price for…is for you to cry out to Him for help.
Just like David did.
Maybe this is how he became the man after God’s own heart in the first place.
So if today is your “time of need”, remember Hebrews 4:16:
“Let us, therefore, come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
Get unstuck by believing the TRUTH about yourself.