I heard a quote from Rick Warren in my Sunday school class this past week that crushed me in a humbling way. I could read it daily for the rest of my life and it would never get old,
“God is more willing to talk to you than you are to listen”
We were discussing why Christians often complain about not hearing, and even not knowing how to hear the voice of God, as well as why we neglect prayer and scripture when they seem like such simple and obvious ways of communicating with Him. It was John Piper who once very plainly stated that if you would like to hear God speak, “read your bible out loud.” And yet, we seem to never be satisfied by such an obvious truth.
A big part of the problem is that we either don’t like the answer, or our lack of patience has us presumptively assume what we believe it would be when we get tired of waiting on His timing. Technology has spoiled us more than we are aware of or would like to admit. In this age of googling what you need to know, and truly being able to find answers on the spot, our addiction to instant gratification has become an idol standing in between our prayers and God’s timing.
I struggle with a bigger issue when it comes to communicating with God—I never feel worthy of a relationship with Him. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I have met and been eternally saved by Jesus Christ. I know how incredible He is and I have every reason to want to know Him more, yet every day I ask myself how He could possibly want to know me.
Life, according to the world, is a giant competition where everything is performance based, and in my own honest evaluation, I haven’t performed very well. I’ve let down way more people than I’ve made proud; I’ve burnt more bridges than I’ve built; I’ve made more excuses than I have memories; and I’ve squandered way more opportunities than I’ve taken proper advantage of. None of which magically stopped when Christ saved my soul, as I am still struggling to set the baggage down. In light of Christ’s perfection, I now see that admitting that I am a hypocrite might be the only non-hypocritical thing I’ve ever done.
That being said, I have experienced success by the world’s standards, but none of it was ever enough, and I always could have performed better. With more effort, I could have earned more of whatever I was working for. In the endless race towards a bar that is always being raised, it’s easy to feel like a failure who will never perform well enough to achieve success in the wide variety of forms the world defines it as.
But, Jesus, the embodiment of God’s mercy and grace is extending His hand towards you and I, and there will simply never be words sweet enough to explain it. You absolutely have to experience it for yourself.
Make no mistake about what I am saying—contentment and laziness are two completely different things, but in a world where we are taught to earn everything, God’s love proves itself to be so incredible because it is based upon who He is instead of our performance. We foolishly try to earn it.
So much so that we often find ourselves neglecting our actual relationship with God because we are too busy trying to earn something we never could. Which, ironically contradicts the very meaning of grace in the first place. My hope in overcoming the feelings of unworthiness through passionate prayer, is that I somehow learn how to serve and obey out of gratitude instead of trying to earn what’s already been given.
If you don’t feel worthy today, have faith in the cross and talk to Him anyway. You are worthy, just not by your own merit, and it’s only your ego that finds that to be a tough pill to swallow.
“for all of you who were baptized into Christ, have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Galatians 3:27
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” Ephesians 1:7