One of the things that is hardest for me to live with is my own human nature. Put aside interacting with other people and practicing showing grace and love in all actions and words. Put aside learning what it means to have a bold and fruitful testimony that shines when you’re spending time with others. Zoom in for a minute on the times when you’re alone; look at the aspects of your relationship with Christ that no one else can really see, the parts that are usually easy to hide – and what’s there?
I will honestly admit that I struggle with consistency. I’m so quick to get on spiritual “highs” where I’m in the Word daily, my prayer life begins to really flourish, and I genuinely feel like Jesus is the axis on which my life is spinning. And then it crashes. One missed day of devotionals turns into a week. One day of feeling too tired to talk to God turns into days of saying shallow prayers.
The worst part of it all is that when I’m in these ruts, I know it. It’s not as if I’m blind to the spiritually unsatisfying choices I’m making. It’s not like I’m a child who doesn’t know any better. And yet, I always find myself so discouraged by my sinful nature – so saddened that I let myself lose the momentum, that I always find myself saying the same prayer. It’s usually along the lines of asking that God would just take away my complacency and laziness, and that I’d feel a renewed passion and love for him.
James 4:8 says “draw near to God and he will draw near to you…”. God is always faithful to keep his promises and to remain firm in his word. But perhaps the thing that I love most about God is that he went to the cross fully aware of the fact that I would be prone to take it for granted, that I would be prone to wander. And yet, in midst of all the reasons why I am undeserving of this crazy and wild love, he relentlessly pursues me.
Loved ones, if you ever think that you have the ability to ruin your chances with God, that you have the tendency to wander too far, or to not care enough – I say this with so much love – you are not that powerful. God is far bigger, far more divine, and is in every essence love in its most pure and fulfilling form, to ever give up on you, to ever neglect you, and to ever leave you.
None of our walks with God are flawless – but that’s the beauty of it. Because every time I wander and every time Jesus pulls me back, I grow a bit stronger and I develop a deeper love for him. Every time I wander, he pursues me just the same. So I rest in this. I thank God that even when I begin to go my own way, he graciously grips my shoulders and directs me back to himself. In my wandering and in your wandering, his pursuit remains greater.
With that being said, the faithfulness of God to never let us go is not an excuse to continuously pursue our selfish desires – just like his grace is not an excuse to keep sinning. This is something that I’ve painfully but beautifully been learning over the years. When God forgives us, when he pursues us, when he draws us close, our love for him should be exploding. Our hearts should desire nothing more than to never lose the intimacy of those moments. As a result, I’ve been seeing how God’s continued faithfulness is what makes me fall more in love with him, which then becomes a never-ending desire for me to grow continuously closer to him. And I pray that my tendency to wander becomes less and less, and that I cling to Jesus more and more.
I pray that these words, more than anything, are encouraging to you. I pray that you’d see just how loved you are, how pursued you are, and how God desires nothing more than to bind your wandering heart to himself.