I have to admit I am working on not making God a duty in my life. Gasp! I can’t believe you said that and sometimes I can’t believe it either because I have been taught most of my life a good Christian makes God his first duty in everything. The really interesting thing is God doesn’t want to be a responsibility in our lives.
Making God a duty will always lead to guilt. I don’t know how many classes I’ve attended or sermons I’ve heard over the years that declared that God wants to be in my life and here’s how you do it. Now here comes the list of rules…
- Get up at 4:30 in the morning
- Get your Bible
- Find a quiet place
- Pray for at least 15 minutes or longer (the longer you pray, the better Christian you are)
- Read and study what you’ve read
- Memorize scripture
- Oh yea, be sure to fast at sometime during the month.
Also here are your printed out cards to help you remember what order to do these thing in. All of this may have been said completely different, but this is what I perceived.
First of all let me say there is nothing wrong with doing any of these things. In fact, we should. The problem with it is the motive behind it. This would be the difference between grace and legalism. Do you have to do it or do you want to do it? How you do it is between you and God.
Personally I find this extremely boring and if this is what God is, then I guess He’ll have to do without me. What’s the real truth about this? Well, first you feel guilty for not having a quiet time with God. Then you feel guilty that you’re so disorganized and if you were a good Christian, then you should sacrifice the sleep and get with it. You may accomplish this feat a few days, but the first time you miss you feel guilty again.
This whole program is lined with guilt and shame and I have to tell you this is not how God works. This is how man works and controls. If God won’t force His will on us, then why do we let men force their will on us? Love never forces its will on anyone.
When I recalled a situation that happened in my past it helped me to understand. I have a wife that likes to make lists. (This is not just a wife thing, there are husbands that do it too) This would help her to be organized plus it made her feel good when she got to scratch an item off her list. I’m so much the opposite of this, but over the years I have learned to write things down to get them out of my head and also I have more difficulty remembering as I get older. Anyway, one day I happened to notice her list and I was shocked that I had made the list…”Time for Garry.” I have to admit this really hurt me and I discussed it with her. You see, I didn’t want to be an item that needed attention. I wanted her to want me and want to spend time with me because she loved me. I didn’t just want to be another duty and responsibility.
God doesn’t want to be a duty or a responsibility in our lives. He wants to be a part of our lives and to be life itself for us and He wants to be number one. Not on a list, but in our hearts. I feel the 10 commandments say it very clear. You shall have no other gods before me. Exodus 20:3 He’s referring to “Self.” Also in verse 4 He says, "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.” He wants a real relationship with us. I just realized the title itself of this story creates a sense of guilt because many of us don’t think we make God a high enough duty in our lives.
My encouragement to you is to learn to have a genuine loving relationship with God and take Him with you everywhere. Don’t leave Him at home when you go to work or out shopping. Learn to see Him as real and with you always. God wants to be the priority in our lives because we want to, not because we have to.