Remember the story of the prodigal son? Remember what happened when he finally came to his senses and returned to the father? Remember when the news came to the older brother out in the field? When he heard his younger brother had returned and the father had killed the fattened calf the older brother got ANGRY and refused to go in the house!
Finally, do you remember the first words of the Father to the older son? They are so powerful…
The Father’s first reminder to the older son was this: “You are ALWAYS WITH ME”. The older son got upset that Dad celebrated the return of a very irresponsible and wayward child. He also chasticed the Father for not giving him a single goat to celebrate with his friends. For the older brother, the relationship with the Father was purely performance based. “Look at how I have served you compared to him, and now you are honoring him instead of me… I deserve better based on my performance.”
THAT is as religious as we can get.
The point of knowing Jesus is being WITH Jesus. It is not performing for Him. it is not earning His respect, admiration and rewards! It is His presence that produces our joy and wonder. The Psalm sang, “in your presence there is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11) He is the GOD who came to “dwell with us.” He left heaven and it’s glory to be Immanuel and familiar with our suffering at the same time.
Are you stuck in the trap of the older brother? Trying to prove religiously to God how good you have been? Isn’t it time you realize that NOTHING you do for God makes Him love you more? Isn’t it time you realize that God isn’t looking to you for fulfillment in Himself? He is fully full within His own being. And He created you to be WITH HIM. To enjoy His fulness. To know His abundance.
We forget that. We get up in the morning, have breakfast, get to work have lunch, go home, have dinner, clean up, watch TV and go to bed. We have schedules, meetings, early appointments and deadlines. We have recreations and hobbies and then we have to make it to church once in a while to make sure God is happy with us still.
What we don’t realize is that God has come in Christ Jesus to BE WITH US. What did Jesus say about the Holy Spirit? He said, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” John 14:16–17 (ESV). TWICE in this passage Jesus tells the disciples the point of the Holy Spirit is first to be WITH US.
The treasure of knowing God is being WITH HIM.
Now, stop worrying about what you think you deserve, put your work gloves down and come join the party.
It’s what we are made for.