Friday, August 20, 2010

instantaneous change or a process?

Well, I forgot to order decaf when I got a coffee a couple hours ago, which means I had caffeine way too late this evening and I have a feeling that I am going to be up late tonight. That means I have time to write about what I have been thinking about lately. I just hope that my fingers can keep up with my thoughts to get this written in a coherent fashion.

For the last few weeks, I have been thinking a lot about how we will hear something that challenges in our spiritual life and so we pray to God about it once - usually in some sort of a response to what we just heard. Then we get up and go on our way, only to find ourselves frustrated a few days, weeks, months down the road when we find ourselves still dealing with the same thing. "But I prayed about it back on . . ." is our usual response then - like praying about it once is all it takes to bring about change in our lives.

It is so easy to assume that any change that needs to happen in our lives can happen in one prayer and that God just does it all. I know I have done that many times. But, lately I am learning that it does not always, or even usually, work that way. More often then not, actually implementing what we were challenged to at the time takes far more time and effort then the prayer afterwards took. Most of the time change is not an instant thing; it is a process that we walk through, with victories and setbacks along the way.

Lately, I have been wondering if God has a method to it working that way. Well, I know He does, but I have been thinking more about it. I wonder if part of the reason most change in our lives is not instantaneous is because then we would have little need for relationship with God. We could just go to Him and ask for Him to change a certain part of us and that would be done. Then we would go on through life until the next thing and we would ask God again and the change would happen. And on and on the cycle would go.

Not really much of a way to build a relationship. But, if the change is a process, then we are in a position where we are needing to constantly turn to God for help because we need Him to be pushing us and providing us the strength to carry on when we cannot do it on our own strength. Change being process forces us to rely on God - forces us to build that relationship with Him.

I have heard many teachers and writers who I respect say things along the lines of "God is more interested in the relationship than in the end result." That is not to say that God does not care about us actually removing an area of sin from our lives or gaining victory over something. He does care about those things. But, it does mean that He puts a greater value on the relationship that grows from needing to return to Him daily for the strength to make those changes to find victory.

God desires relationship with us. When I stop and think about that - really think about it - it amazes me. Why would to Creator of the Universe care about me? Why would He desire to have a relationship with me? It seems absolutely absurd! Yet, He does. And sometimes that means the process of change in my life is slow and painful. But through that time my relationship grows deeper as I depend on Him for each new day.

The same is true for you. The Creator of the Universe cares about you! He desires a relationship with you! He wants to bring about change in your life, but He wants to build your relationship with Him through the process of that change.

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