Is Your Relationship with God Like Trying to Herd Cats?
The expression “That’s like trying to herd cats” paints a picture that always makes me laugh. It perfectly captures the idea of trying to manage competing priorities and thoughts, each scurrying off in its own direction. Cats in a group have no central focus. They are here one minute, and there the next. Is your relationship with God like trying to herd cats?
For example, your pastor who is preaching a series on praise, exhorts you to begin your quiet times with praise. Then you hear a TV evangelist state that you should read the Bible through in a year. And of course there is that book that you’re reading about the importance of confessing God’s Word each day. You know you need to do that, too!
Thank God for all those who instruct, correct and encourage us. But if we are not on guard all these important items on our “To Do” lists become like cats scurrying about. By focusing on doing, we can lose sight of The Great I AM. Our relationship with God is the source from which all other things must flow.
What is a relationship with God focused on God?
I like to think of my relationship with God as “being” before “doing.” There is an element of rest and relaxation that comes from being in His presence and trusting Him to be God.
In a season of busyness, have you ever experienced the joy of sitting down with one you love and enjoying their company? It’s a treat because the time of intimacy is a refuge from the pressing demands we face. You emerge with a sense of connectedness and further strengthening of the relationship.
I believe that our intimate encounters with God bring about what the apostle Paul prays for the church in Philippians 1:9: …our “love abounds more and more in knowledge and depth of insight” (NIV).
But subtly and without our realizing it, we can drift into performing our spiritual “To Do” list as a way to earn love, avoid punishment or receive a benefit. And by doing so, we distance ourselves from the intimacy we were created to long for (Psalm 42:1).
What keeps us from pursuing a focused relationship with God?
There are many answers to this question but let’s look at three possibilities: feelings of unworthiness, impatience and lack of knowledge.
It’s common for people to feel the need to “clean themselves up” before coming into intimate contact with God. Even though they can never get quite clean enough. But, guess what. It was a Jesus-sized job to clean you up and He did it willingly! He shed His blood for your sins. In God’s eyes, you can’t get any cleaner than you are at this very moment.
Another reason people don’t pursue intimacy with God is their impatience with the process. God is complex and beyond our ability to understand. Yet He invites us to know Him. Focusing on God does not come with a formula that guarantees a specific result within a specific time frame. There are no short-cuts or crib sheets. It is your unique relationship with Him that you are called to.
Many people simply lack the knowledge that God is near, that He loves them and that He loves spending time with them. And that’s only a small portion of the Good News. Being in God’s presence and coming to love and know Him more is a position of limitless blessing.
There is nothing we can do for the Maker of the Universe, the One Who Has Done Everything For Us. There is nothing we can “do” to make Him love us more or less.
Are you saying we don’t have to do anything?
No. Placing intimacy with God as a priority doesn’t mean we don’t respond with some form of doing. Doing is a result of knowing Him, NOT the path to knowing Him. It’s just that the motivation behind all of our doing comes from knowing Him, fellowshipping with Him, and enjoying Him. Within the flow of such intimacy, doing is an outpouring of response to Him because it is grounded in Him.
How do I pursue a focused relationship with God?
The point of this topic is that there is no list of 5 things to do. Coming into deeper intimacy with God is between you and God. Be still and seek Him. Be patient. God doesn’t give you a set number of attempts to make a connection. He simply loves that you have come into His presence.
It is your relationship with God that empowers you throughout your time on earth and that you will take into eternity.
Don’t chase after spiritual “To Do” items like those scurrying cats. Instead focus your relationship with God on God. Allow Him to direct your “To Do” list. Cultivate intimacy with Him and watch your love abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight so that you will know Him ever better.
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