I was reading Proverbs this morning and came across this verse:
“People who accept disciple are on the pathway to life, but those who ignore correction will go astray.”
This verse stands out to me because I’ve begun to see the truth of it. For a long time, scripture reading, devotionals, “quiet-times” and other similar cutesy forms were a drag to me. I’d encounter seasons of energetic bursts where reading was enjoyable, but those would quickly die off and I’d slump back into my normal excuses for why I “didn’t have time”. The bottom line was that I wasn’t meeting with God and so all these attempts were futile.
This pattern could probably summarize most of my adult spiritual life.
Somewhere over the last year, I really became fed up with my relationship with God. I began asking some hard questions; things like, “Should I be telling people about God, when the truth is that I don’t really have a relationship worth sharing about? Would I really want people to have the same faith story that I have? Do I know God? Does He know me? Do I know me?”
These questions culminated with a lot of frustration. I felt as if God wasn’t speaking, but if I was honest, I also knew that I wasn’t seeking Him very hard. So I came to the conclusion that I was done “trying”. Instead, I was going to resolutely seek God (no “try” – I heard a Yoda quote this week, “Do or do not. There is no try.”). In a bout of defiance and desperation, I told myself and the Lord, “There is a chair downstairs that is going to become my ‘holy chair’. I’m going to be in it every morning. I’m going to read the Bible, some books that stir my heart and mind, and wait for You to speak. You may not talk to me for a very long time. I haven’t talked with you that much, so it’s easy to understand. But I’m going to be there. And if you need me, that’s where I’ll be. Waiting and available.”
I stuck with that defiance for some time. In fact, I’m in that chair right now. After some time though, things began to change. I began to change. My heart softened. My spiritual ears opened. And not all at once, but little by little, I have begun to hear the Lord and sense the Holy Spirit in my life. There are doubts and failures; I’ve fallen asleep more times than I’d like to admit (I call that “deep meditation”). But I’m still here. And if God wants me, He has full access.
I don’t deserve anything from the Lord. He has blessed me more than I deserve and rescued me from disobedience that leads to death. So my defiance is a little out of place. But it took that discipline and resolution to put me in a pattern that leads to life.
If you are reading this, will you join me in this solidarity protest against the spiritual realm? Be a squatter and camp out somewhere that you can be alone. Be resolute and firm. Tell God that you want Him and you are not leaving. And when you feel nothing for the first month or two, hold out longer. I promise that God will speak and the Spirit will move. It’s just that sometimes, our hearts have been much more disciplined in the ways of laziness and selfishness than they have been in the way of the cross.