A Relationship > A Rule
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track—Proverbs 3:6
We men like formulas. We like bullet points. We like bright lines. They make life easier. They cut through mystery and doubt. We’d love it if such things could govern our relationships with God. They would make following him easier, too. At least we think they would. So we try to create them. It starts innocently: Someone seeks God and finds him—through a specific prayer or practice, through a particular way of studying Scripture, or through being in community or doing service. But then that person decides that’s “the” way to find God. Others are persuaded, of course, because they want to find God too. And a formula is born, a bullet point, a bright line, a rule about how our relationships with God must look.
The thing is, while God never changes (James 1:17, Hebrews 13:8), our relationships with him do. They’re ever changing, ever challenging (2 Corinthians 3:18). There’s always more with God. There’s always mystery. And there’s always something new. But because we fear change and fear being challenged, we often cling to what’s worked in the past or what’s worked for someone else. We create a rule, repeat a ritual, but we may not grow and mature in our relationships with God.
Okay, so what do we do?
“Don’t set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; let him tell you what to do” (Matthew 23:8-10 MSG).
Set aside some time to pray and to listen. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you. Ask where you might find him next—maybe in Scripture; maybe through serving; or on a short-term mission trip; or out in his creation; or something else. Let him guide your thoughts. Let him keep you on track.