God has given commands, and it can be difficult to see all that God asks of faithful believers and all that He requires for spiritual growth and maturation and still choose to have a relationship with Him.
Part of the curse was that our lives would require us to work (which in the beginning was a perfect, balanced, good thing) by the sweat of our brow. This doesn’t negate the inherent goodness and necessity of work, but it does mean that work that is unchecked and unbalanced by Scripture is toilsome, painstaking, and exhausting.
So our poor human bodies and minds are left drained. And as we examine our lives we find it overwhelming to imagine taking on even more. This is what a relationship with God can seem like sometimes. It can seem like another item on the to-do list, like just another box to check off saying that you read your Bible today so you’re a good Christian.
And here’s the thing. I’m not saying that a relationship with the Lord is always “Oh I just love God so much that the love just oozes from my pores and flows from my heart and it’s so easy to commit myself to spiritual disciplines and the process of sanctification because I experience nothing but JOY and PASSION when I do these things.”
Gah, that’s just so false. It’s true that there can be seasons of that passionate pursuit that make following God seem like nothing but a joy that comes easy and yields fruit in every way. But in reality, that’s just not the common daily experience.
Loving God is work. Following Him is work. Being transformed into His image is work. But it’s the most worthy work you’ll ever have the opportunity to take part in. For goodness sake, Christ tells us to take up your cross daily to follow Him! That’s not an easy journey that you’re dedicating yourself to.
But it’s such good work that when God says something like, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Luke 12:18b) we had better evaluate what we’ve been given and get working!
The thing is, life isn’t about our happiness. In fact, it’s not about us at all! God cares so much more about our holiness because our Christlikeness reflects Christ, a.k.a. the one who it really is all about.
A relationship with God is a lot of work. Spiritual disciplines, time out of your day, self-motivation, it’s can seem like just too much for us to handle sometimes. But it’s not, God says that “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3). Do you see what this is saying? He has given us all we need for a godly life through the knowledge of Him. We know who He is through the Word, we know who we are through the Word, and we know what He says we should do through the Word. And He says that’s all we need!
You and I, we have been equipped with the knowledge that enables us to live a godly life. But just because we are equipped doesn’t mean that we always use the tools given to us. You want to live a godly life? Choose to have an intimate and obedient relationship with God no matter what you’re feeling. Choose to apply your knowledge of what God says to your life. That’s it.