Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Guilty As Charged!

Recently, I was on a trip and I was going over the speed limit.  I know, I shouldn't have been, but I was.  I was tired, it was late, one of my boys was not feeling well and I just wanted to get to the hotel.  In the median, there he was, hidden in the dark of night.  I didn't see him until I was just a few feet away.  Immediately, I saw his lights come on and I knew he had me.  There was no getting out of it.  I was guilty.  So, before he even got out of the median, I pulled over to the side of the road.  I wasn't angry or upset with him, as I knew I was speeding and he was only doing his job. When he told me how fast I was going, it was the absolute truth and I knew it was.  No sense in trying to dodge the truth.  The truth is the truth.

The same holds true when God speaks the truth to you. There's no getting around it. He speaks a truth to you regarding an issue in your life and immediately you know He is spot on.  After all, He's God, right?  When He speaks there is no real reason to try and run from it.  You're caught and you know it.  I wish I could say that these "truth encounters" with God are growing fewer as I grow and mature, but to be honest I think they are getting more frequent.

Recently, in my quiet time one morning, I was struggling to stay focused. My mind was racing with all the things on my to-do list.  And, He spoke to me clearly and said, "You're here but you're not really here. You're here in body, but your heart and mind are elsewhere."  Ouch!  I had no defense for that.  I couldn't deny it because I knew He was right.  He's God so, He's always right!  Much like the officer that stopped me that night, I was blindsided by what I knew was truth.  I couldn't run and hide.  I was caught and I knew it.

I felt much like the disciples who fell asleep the night Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane.  While I didn't fall asleep, it really is not much different.  They were distracted by sleep, I was distracted by all the things I have to do.  What's the point of setting an appointment with the Creator of the Universe if I'm not going to really be engaged?  I'm certainly not going to fool Him.  Sure, on paper it'll look like I'm being faithful with this spiritual discipline as I put a check mark beside prayer and devotion time on my to-do list.  But in the end, how shallow is that?  I wonder if the disciples that night felt good about just being with Him?  Although, they were clueless as to what He was truly dealing with, I wonder did they pat themselves on the back that they were willing to go just a little further with Him that night than all the rest?

How often do we diminish our relationship with God to a set of spiritual disciplines?  How often do we pat ourselves on the back because we managed to get our gluteus maximus out of bed in order to make it to church on a Sunday morning?  Is that all there is to this?  If so, then what's the point?  What an absolutely pathetic attempt at relationship.  It's no different than playing with our kids but not being fully engaged.  We may be throwing the football with them or having a tea party with them but all the while we are watching the clock and thinking about all the things we have to do.  It's like being out on a date with our spouse, but having our hearts and minds on other things.  It's not real! While we try to convince ourselves that we are fulfilling our duty, it's a complete facade.  True relationships are not duties.  They aren't produced as a result of meeting a list of obligations.  When it comes to our approach to God, religion so desperately wants to reduce it to just that.  Read your Bible, pray, fast, and go to church.  All the while, the Creator of the Universe is longing for us to truly know Him. He wants us to be engaged in an ongoing relationship with Him not simply going through the motions.

Maybe you're there.  Perhaps you have this thing down.  As for me, I get off track sometimes.  I find myself on occasion going through the motions.  I'm thankful for a God who so desperately wants relationship with me that He'll pull me over when I'm doing this thing wrong.  And, I am extremely thankful that when God pulls me over it doesn't come with a fine!