“I said to the LORD, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” Psalm 16:2
Several years ago, as I passed the fifty mark on the calendar of my life, I discovered a new and distinct desire to go deeper and pursue God more intentionally than ever before. I had dreamed a lot of dreams and seen many of them materialize. God, for reasons best known to Him, had been abundantly good to me. But after all those years of fast-paced busyness for Him and of conquering frontiers that loomed large in front of me, I found that beyond and under it all I still had a yearning in the core of my being that kept drawing my attention back to God.
I had given God my best years and maximized my energies for Him, but busyness had not drawn me closer to Him. I discovered that, in some ways, busyness creates a false and treacherous sense of spirituality that leads to the assumption that spirituality is a performance and that intimacy with God is a business arrangement. It creates a flat and dull sort of Christianity that can begin to turn our hearts cold and even sour if we’re not careful.
I am awakening to the reality that we do ourselves no favors when we act and live as though Christianity were a stage on which we perform as if there were no deep need for an intimate relationship with the One who is the focus of our activity.
I have begun to sense as well that in the abundance of God’s goodness to me, I am prone to lose touch with the reality of how much I need Him. I know I need Him—my problem is that I find it easy to lose touch with the reality and ramifications of that knowledge. Early on in my life and ministry, my sense of need was apparent. I earned less than needed to meet my family’s expenses. Without God’s gracious, over-and-above financial provision, my family would not have made it. We needed Him. My insecurities as a minister and public figure also kept me very much aware of how much I needed Him. Each new church I shepherded challenged my sense of self-sufficiency.
When we forget that we need Him, our Christianity becomes little more than a task maintained by responsibilities and requirements. God really doesn’t need to do much for us. We are pretty well set. While we count on Him for the big things—redemption, bailing us out if life goes in the ditch—we miss the pleasure and wonder of needing Him and being in touch with His presence and power that alone can satisfy, sustain, and secure us as an ongoing experience of life.
While my life has not been without God in some ways, it has been a life that has yet to cultivate the kind of adoring dependency that is required to experience Him most fully and to be most powerfully used of Him.
It’s not that I haven’t felt His touch. I have—in some very special ways. In fact, those periodic brushes with His wonderful reality are part of what drives me to live in the constancy of His touch. And it’s not that I haven’t loved Him. I do. It’s that I stand ready and wanting to know Him in a more personal and intimate way. I am hearing the longing of my soul for more of Him.
I want to go deeper with God. Want to come along?
– Does your heart resonate with a longing for a deeper relationship with God?
-Make a list of the things and/or people you lean on to fulfill and sustain you. Where does God rank on the list? How might the others on the list be preventing you from complete dependence on Him?
– Do you sometimes feel as though “spirituality is a performance and that intimacy with God is a business arrangement”? If so, what led you to that conclusion?
– What can you do today to begin cultivating a deeper dependence on God?
– Psalm 16:2 says, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” Recite these words aloud to the Lord throughout the day as a reminder of your dependence on Him.
By Joe Stowell