I used to look at spiritually strong women and assume they got lucky. I used to think that God gifted them with something I could never attain, a spiritual understanding that I just didn’t receive. It took me a long time to learn that this is not the case! We all have the opportunity for an intimate relationship with our Creator, the difference is in those who are willing to work for it. Do you feel like you have an intimate relationship with Christ, or do you also find yourself looking around, craving the closeness that is so evident in others?
I’ve learned that desiring closeness to God and being willing to work for it are two completely different things. If you aren’t willing to work to be close to God, by default you will be distant from Him. I know this to be true because I was someone who lived in default mode. It is a horrible existence for a believer, yet so common among us. It is where we end up when there is a lack of action on our end, when we start wishing instead of working for our relationship with Christ. It’s such a sneaky place because we don’t consciously choose to end up there, distant from God, it just kind of happens. We find ourselves unfulfilled, stagnant, and often going through the motions but still spiritually weak.
It’s hard to feel spiritually strong when we're living in default mode. It’s hard to trust God when we're not spending daily time getting to know Him. It’s hard to lean on faith when we really don’t have much of it. But having a close relationship with God isn’t easy either. It doesn’t happen without our willingness to put in the work, the time and the effort. It may be hard, but our relationship with the Lord is the one area in which we cannot afford to be lazy.
This world is not designed to benefit the lazy. You must work in the areas in which you desire to grow. We know this to be true. You want to be physically fit? It takes work. You want a healthy marriage? It takes work. You want to be financially free? It takes work. Kids? Work. A Home? Work. And yet for some reason, we think our spiritual growth and relationship with the Lord is passive, easy, automatic. This is such a lie. Default mode is automatic; separated and distant from God is automatic.
But are we willing to put in the effort it takes? Chewing the meat of Scripture takes so much more work than sipping on the milk! However, the reward is well worth the endeavor. Spiritual laziness never leads to spiritual strength and a passive relationship never leads to intimacy. If you find yourself in a season of wishing instead of working, I encourage you to make the change now and start putting in the effort.
Being willing to work for my relationship with Christ has singlehandedly changed everything. Recognizing the fact that I was living in default mode and acknowledging the effort it takes to change, was the first step in what I refer to as my own ‘spiritual makeover’. I started working for it. I quit wishing and I started working. It didn’t' fall in my lap. It didn’t happen automatically as I went about my day. I had to become willing to put in the effort.
I became willing to wake up early to study God’s Word. It was hard, but worth it. I became willing to try out different methods of studying until I found one that really worked for me. It took a while, but it was worth it. I became willing to slow down and take notes as I read the Bible. I had to have patience, but it was worth it. I became willing to pray even when I didn’t know what to pray, sometimes I just humbly hit my knees in silence. It was often awkward, but worth it. I became willing to lean into my weaknesses, such as memorizing scripture. It was challenging, but worth it. I became willing to ask questions and even look at trusted commentaries to learn more. Studying began taking up more of my time, but it was worth it. And I became willing to do this day in and day out.
Little by little, I no longer lived by default.
Little by little I began to crave time with my Savior.
Little by little, He began to strengthen my faith.
Every amount of effort was worth it because as I became willing to work for it, as I began to seek Him with all my heart, He became so clear to me. Suddenly, I realized I had found Him, just like He promised I would. (Jeremiah 29:13)
Digging deeper: Are you in a season of wishing or working for your relationship with Christ? How have you recently put in the effort to strengthen your relationship with the Lord? Are you willing to work for it?