Sometimes we think we are in a relationship with the real God but we are really just serving a deified version of ourselves. How do we know the difference? The real God offends us. You know you’re in a relationship with someone when they disagree with you and drive you nuts. We don’t begin relationships expecting this to be true but it turns out very true!
There’s a huge difference between a dream and a reality. Think of marriage, the most universal relational institution in human history. You can grow up dreaming for years about who you will marry, what it will be like, what you will do together. You imagine how you’re going to go for walks in the park, vacation in the woods every summer and rock out at Billy Joel concerts. Then there’s the reality. The person you choose has serious allergies that make the park and woods miserable and they prefer Michael Jackson. Suddenly you realize that the person you dreamt about wasn’t spending their time dreaming about how to make all your dreams come true. They were dreaming about you making their dreams come true. Now you have a REAL relationship with a REAL person, not a dream.
This is not bad! This is how you grow. Every relationship, whether between Medieval kings or current nations, brothers, sisters, neighbors and business owners is loaded with frustrations worked out in compromise and agreement. You know you are actually in relationship with a real person when they disagree with you and start to shape how you live. You make different choices because you need to learn the important lesson: you’re not the center of the universe.
What we rarely anticipate is that this will happen with God. Of course it happens in a different way. God is unchanging. The reason He doesn’t change is because He’s already perfect. You – not so much. You need a LOT of change. Just ask your neighbors, sister, spouse or a Medieval king. There’s probably a freshly made resolution in your history to prove you think so as well. But here’s the most important question: Does God disagree with you? I honestly hope He does. I hope He drives you crazy about some part of your life that you are convinced you are doing right and He says is wrong. You know why I hope this for you? Because that means He has business with you. He is relating to YOU. He is drawing you OUT of your self-centered image of Him and revealing to YOU what He is REALLY like.
So what is it? Are you busy dreaming about God? Imagining that He is always in agreement with your way of life and just happy that you exist? Or is there Spiritual conflict in your life? Are you wrestling with His Word? Paul talked about this constantly in the New Testament:
Philippians 2:12–13 (ESV) Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
1 Corinthians 9:27 (NIV) I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
Romans 8:13 (ESV) For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
Are you wrestling with God over the things that need to change? Are you confessing sins and relying on His mercy to forgive and cleanse so that you can learn how to obey? This is a good thing and a sign of your relating to the REAL God.
I hope you’re not dreaming of a god you’re comfortable with – he or she is powerless.
I hope you’re working in relationship with the Almighty to CHANGE and TRANSFORM into His plan for your life.