Our human nature is to seek comfort and security. As Christians, we hear “Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door shall be opened.” So when we seek God and find Him, then many times we stop.
Throughout my life with God, I have sought comfort and ease. I have had spurts of seeking. It was all a cycle that looked a little like the following: First, I would live in the world, doing as I pleased while knowing full well that I was ignoring God. Next, I would get to my rock bottom. It was not always the lowest of the low but it was always the point where I decided to turn back to God. Next, I would immerse myself with God and seek Him in all things. It would look kind of crazy and sprint-like. Then, I would get exhausted from the sprint, slow it down and begin to compromise. Finally, I would go right back to the world where I started and begin the cycle again.
Can you imagine having a relationship like this?
First you’re living contently by yourself doing as you please, then you realize that you don’t want to be alone anymore. You find a person that you want to be with and seek them like a crazy, obsessed person. Then because that type of intensity gets exhausting after a while, you begin to back off and start to date around and eventually leave them.
That sounds pretty crazy… well, kind of, since we all know someone like this. But is this person ever really happy, secure, or at peace? We all know the answer to that.
For many of us, we go through this cycle many times all of our lives, but the cycle spans across many months and years at a time. God knows that we go through this cycle; the Israelites went through this slave cycle time after time which were documented in the Old Testament. And if we haven’t acknowledged that we individually are no different than Israel as a nation, this must be our first step.
The cycle documented above is the slave cycle of the Israelites:
- God Liberates
- Contentment and Compromise
- Repeated Bondage
If you look back on your life, be honest with yourself about how many times you have been through this cycle.
So what’s the solution?
Is the solution to stop sinning? To stop the cycle? To forcefully keep ourselves out of the cycle? Well, haven’t you been trying that already?
Keep the Cycle Short
The cycle can be as short as we want it to be. Most of us who are aware of God knowingly and willingly disobey. We ignore. We get complacent. We compromise. God’s not surprised about this. Just because He is no surprised doesn’t justify our actions. Just because He knows what mistakes and sins we will commit doesn’t mean that He doesn’t expect change and obedience. It does require us to desire holiness, continually seek repentance, and allow God to change us.
As we seek God and deepen our intimacy with Him, our cycle should move from years, to months, to days, to hours, to minutes. The ultimate goal of this cycle shouldn’t be to let us get to the point of complete rock bottom: barely moving, barely surviving. But let that rock bottom continually loom in our memory. The rock bottom shouldn’t be a feeling of unworthiness and self-doubt. The rock bottom is a memory of what God has redeemed us from. The goal of the rock bottom should be that as soon as we turn from Him, to feel the depths of despair that He freed us from.
This cycle can be minutes long and repeat a few times a day. Intimacy with God doesn’t feel like a sprint or an obsessive codependent relationship. It feels like comfort in knowing that the presence of God is the goal, Intimacy comes from acknowledging that He truly requires holiness from us, that He requires an act of obedience and submission from us on a daily or minute by minute basis. But most of all intimacy means that nothing can separate us from God’s love, and as soon as something does separate us (sin, distraction, complacency, compromise), we can feel that separation enough to repent and turn back to Him immediately.