out of the blue

You’re not good enough.

You’re not worthy.

You’re worthless.

You’ll never be as good as they are.

You suck.

God doesn’t love you.

These are a few of the statements I’ve heard in my thoughts in the past. These are a few of the thoughts that have kept me from building a relationship with my creator.

It’s amazing how the enemy can separate us from the truth. Or, maybe it’s just me? Maybe I’m the only one that ever convinced myself that I couldn’t go to God. Am I? If so, this blog post is a big waste of time for you to read. If I’m not alone, if you’ve ever felt like you couldn’t talk to God, then keep reading.

I’ll even give away the big ending right now.

You are not disqualified from having a relationship with God.

That’s the statement I heard loud and clear this past Sunday when Michael Rockmore DeVore shared an incredible message about prayer.

So if we aren’t disqualified from having a relationship with God, then that means that we are qualified to have a relationship with God. Obvious, I know. But it needs to be stated.

You are qualified to have a relationship with God.

Regardless of what you’ve done in the past. Regardless of who you’ve hurt. Regardless of the choices you’ve made, you still have access to the same God that created the Universe, breathed life into man, and who conquered death and rose again from the grave after being crucified.

Think about how crazy it is that we can talk to Him. We can build a relationship with Him. We can praise Him. We can run to Him. We can spend time with Him as if He was our friend.

Because of the sacrifice Jesus made, we have complete access to Him. You don’t have to be a pastor or a priest. You don’t have to be the Pope or a monk. You can just be you, flawed you, and approach him like anyone else.

And that scares the crap out of the enemy. He will do anything to break that relationship. He will go to extremes to keep us from knowing the truth. Even worse, he will get us in the little things.

I’m too busy to pray.

I don’t know what to say.

I wouldn’t even know where to start reading the Bible.

God doesn’t have time for my problems.

I tried that God thing once, but it didn’t work.

It’s too late for me, I know I’m going to hell.

God could never forgive me.

I’ll pray later.

I’ll give you an example of how the enemy works. Sometimes it’s not a blatant attack, but a much more subtle nudge.

I’ve been focused on the idea of relationship this year. If you recall, a while back, we talked about the concept of My One Word. Well, mine is “Relationship” and so I’ve been working through what that means for me. There are so many different directions one can go with that word, but for the sake of brevity I will jump to the one that’s most relevant; relationship with God.

I’ve been working on carving out more time in my day to spend with God. I started a daily reading plan that takes me through the New Testament in a year. I’ve been using my early morning time at work to get this done each weekday. Recently, we brought in some new people to the department and now my morning quiet time has been erased. I’m no longer the first one there and since we sit in a collaborative space, conversation tends to just happen. There are no cubicle walls for privacy, which is great for working on projects, but not so great when you are trying to focus on digesting Biblical text, and then pray about it. I still get my reading done, but it just isn’t the same.

I’ve also been getting up super early to go run in the mornings. The heat of the day hasn’t quite set in yet, and the streets of St. Pete are quiet. This offers a great time to run without distraction. It occurred to me that I could totally use this as my prayer time. So, I set off to pray during all, or a portion of my 45-50 minute runs. It was great, until I hurt my back and wasn’t able to get out on the road as often. Consequently, that focused prayer time has been greatly reduced.

It’s easy to look at both these situations and say that these are just natural occurrences; un-connected, and not a big deal. But it is a big deal. These were times that I intentionally set aside for God and me, and now I’ve been challenged. I could give up and say it’s not worth it, or I can kick the enemy in the throat and refuse to allow circumstance to dictate whether or not I get my time with my creator.

If it’s that important, then you will stop making excuses, and find a way.

So is it that important?

Matthew 7:21-23

“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’

Not everyone who claims to be a believer will make it. Claiming you are something and actually believing you are something are two different things. I can claim to be the president and go around giving people orders, but that ain’t gonna get me into that chair in the Oval Office.

As Michael pointed out, if you don’t have a relationship with God, then you are breaking God’s law. After all, how can you love God with all your heart, soul, and mind if you don’t have a relationship with Him?

That last thing I’d ever want to hear Jesus say is, “Get away from me.” Ouch.

I would say pursuing a relationship with God is very important.

So what kind of relationship would you want to have with the God who spoke time and space into existence?

John 15:13-15

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.

I definitely want to be friends with Jesus. But, I don’t really dig that statement about having to follow his command. I can only be his friend if I follow his command? What’s that about?

Wait. Just one command? What is it?

Matthew 22:37

Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’

Let me get this straight. If I love God, then I can be friends with Jesus?

That sounds like a pretty good deal. Sign me up.

What’s cool is that Jesus doesn’t say that you have to act a certain way or follow a list of rules. He doesn’t put any exceptions on the deal. It’s available to anyone who wants it.

You are not disqualified from having a relationship with God.