The strain on my mind and heart feels near-constant sometimes as I struggle and yearn to maintain my relationship with the Lord. There are days, weeks, entire seasons of my life where it’s a battle, a struggle, a fight to pursue the spiritual disciplines that I know will yield spiritual growth in my life. It can be exhausting to feel the pressure of pursuing God in my daily life. That’s weird to type out, but it’s no less true.
In the quiet moments before sleep, my mind runs a recap of my day, and I feel the internal self- scrutinizing begin, as I question how well I pursued the things of God.
I wake up with the sun, strain to pursue God in the midst of earthly things, and run through the same self-scrutiny at the end of the day.
In the midst of these seasons, I wrestle with feeling like this shouldn’t be the case. Jesus proclaims that His yoke is easy, and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30). Yet in every church service and small group setting, I’d be reminded of the importance of my relationship with God. I’d be reminded of the priority it should hold in my life, the priority the pursuit of spiritual disciplines should hold in my personal life. This would push me right back into the weight of feeling responsible for maintaining my relationship with God.
Maybe you’ve experienced the same feelings and struggles.
Maybe you feel an immense pressure and weight to make sure you do everything you can to maintain your relationship with God.
What shatters this weight, what sets us free to have renewed joy and energy for our days, free from the shackles of feeling wholly responsible for our own spiritual growth, is when we remind ourselves that God is a pursuing God.
Consider the following verses.
There is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. – Romans 3:11
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day. – John 6:44
See! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. – Revelation 3:20
I know that I’ve stripped all three of these verses from their contextual passages, but it is widely attested and widely circulated in theological circles that all of these have implications regarding God’s pursuing grace. Most often, these verses are used in the context of salvation, of people coming to know the Lord. In this context, we see that God does the first pursuing in the onset of our relationship with Him. It is His grace that draws us to Him.
Look next at the words of Paul to the church at Galatia:
You foolish Galatians! Who has cast a spell on you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? I only want to learn this from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by the Spirit, are you now finishing by the flesh? – Galatians 3:1-3
Paul was combating in Galatia the doctrine of false teachers who were saying that newly converted Christians had to follow all of the Jewish laws and regulations. In essence, new believers were being told they had to adapt to Jewish culture, and become culturally Jewish in order to be right before God.
So Paul is calling the Galatian churches foolish for straying into this false doctrine. The point he is making in these verses is that God draws us to Himself when we first enter into a relationship with Him, and our continued growth in spiritual things is dependent upon His grace as well. We didn’t start our walk with Him via grace, only to be dependent upon our own flesh for the rest of our walk with Him.
HOW FREEING THIS IS.
I am incapable of pursuing God in my own strength, in my own sinful flesh. No one seeks God without God first drawing them closer to Himself.
I forget this truth, and God graciously reminds me of it time and time again. When God brings renewed vigor and understanding of this truth, it changes how I view prayer.
Prayer is easily my least practiced spiritual discipline. This is a hard admittance to make, but it is true. I can go hours in studying the Word and memorizing Scripture, but it takes all of my effort to get into my prayer closet and have personal times of prayer with the Lord. I too often begrudgingly meet my quota of prayer time because it feels like my way of maintaining the relationship.
Yet when I meditate upon the fact that God is the one pursuing me, drawing me into communion with Him, this changes prayer 100%. It is not burdensome any longer (I don’t say this as if prayer should ever be burdensome, this is merely just a confession). It is a precious and wonderful gift of God’s grace, as He draws me into deeper intimacy with Him!
What a wonderful gift! Any time I feel prompted to pray, that is God present grace. God is not distant, He is here, drawing me into communication with Him.
There is so much here, so much of God’s character that is worthy of praise.
He knows that I need Him. He knows that prayer changes my outlook, attitude, heart, mindset, and passion for Him.
Because He knows I need Him, He draws me, calls me, prompts me to pray.
Since no human heart naturally seeks God or can come to God without his drawing, no one even thinks about praying unless God is prompting or leading us to pray by his Holy Spirit… – Timothy Keller
Whenever you feel led to pray, study God’s Word, or worship with other believers, God’s grace is drawing you into deeper intimacy with Him.
In His Name,
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