This weekend, I had the occasion to walk my mom’s dog. Well, technically, I was walking with him. There weren’t too many people around, so I skipped the leash and just stayed close by in case he decided to make a run for it. It was one of those fall days that begs you to stay outside just a little longer. So, Cocoa and I did just that, enjoying the warmth of the sun in the midst of the crisp air.
As we were walking, I noticed a butterfly flitting nearby. Cocoa noticed its shadow. At first, he showed a bit of interest in it, but quickly decided it wasn’t worth his energy. I chuckled to myself that, as a pup, he would have chased that shadow, never realizing it belonged to something more complex, more beautiful than the shadow can reflect. It then occurred to me that we, as Christians, can be the same way.
God tells us in His Word that if we ask, we’ll receive. He tells us He’ll meet our every need. He urges us to come to Him with everything. Sometimes, I think we get that a little skewed. God wants more than our to-do and wish lists. He wants a relationship. He longs for us to seek Him. I’ve heard it said that we should be seeking His face, not His hand.
Just like the butterfly and its shadow, we can spend our entire lives chasing the things of God without ever realizing that there is so much more to this life as a believer. Yes, He wants to, and will, meet our needs, but Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33 ESV. The things He was referring to were basic needs like food and clothes. But, as much as we need those things, there are far greater treasures to be found in a relationship with Christ than material goods.
Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” NASB. Of course, the Spirit is God Himself, Who chooses to inhabit His people when we give our lives to Him. Notice it doesn’t say that you have to try to grow this stuff. In the same way that grapes grow on vines that are well tended, our fruits will grow when we tend the “vine” that produces them. Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5, NASB.
See, God means for us to tend our relationship with Him. Yes, He will meet our needs and respond to our requests, otherwise, we wouldn’t have been told in His Word to ask. But, as much as a father who wants his children to spend time with him without the promise of things, God wants us to spend time with Him in the same way. And it is in this close relationship, this daily walk, that we grow and mature and find a peace and love and…well, relationship….that doesn’t come when we only approach His throne seeking things.
So. What about you? Have you spend time with your Father lately? Do you reach out to Him only when you need something, or do you spend your day engaging Him in an ongoing conversation? You see, just as we learn about people by spending time with them and talking with them, we learn more about our God the same way. Think I’m crazy? Try it. Try Him. Start talking to Him and listening for His answer. You may be surprised to learn that what you’ve been chasing is merely a shadow of the magnificent relationship you can have with the Creator of your soul.
Be blessed and tell someone you love them!