God’s love and mercy for us comes free of charge. We can’t do anything to deserve it any more or any less. The fact is we don’t deserve it at all. Still, the love of God is such He gives it to us anyway. We cannot work harder to be more deserving or earn more favor. He has already given everything on our behalf. Regardless of what we do or don’t do, He sees us as having unsurpassable worth and loves us unconditionally.
No matter how much we may want it to be otherwise, none of our efforts will change these facts. However, when it comes to our relationship with Christ, we have a very direct influence on how close we are and how much our lives look like Jesus to those on the outside looking in.
Here’s the uncomfortable truth: you are as close to God as you want to be. How much work you put into the relationship will determine how much better it gets. If Christ is always an afterthought, you will never experience the closeness of the relationship He designed for you to have with Him. Your relationship with God is in the state it’s in as a direct result of the decisions you’ve made to this point in your life. How much better your relationship gets in the coming years will directly correlate to the amount of effort you put into it.
God is always close (Proverbs 18:24; Psalm 119:151); we are not. We like to wander and turn away from our omnipresent Father. While we intellectually recognize we can’t go anywhere He is not (Psalm 139:7-12), we still like to pretend. We imagine we can hide things from Him, can engage in behavior without Him noticing, or slip from His gaze just long enough to indulge our selfish desires. It’s so easy to live this lie, but it is still a lie. God never leaves us (Hebrews 13:5; Deuteronomy 31:6). He is always a breath away, but it is up to us to acknowledge His presence in our lives. It is up to us to desire the relationship to blossom.
If you want a close relationship with God, you’re going to have to work at it. The most important thing you can do is to follow Christ’s example and die to yourself. You’ve got to surrender everything and trust what God has for you is better. Perhaps He will restore some of what you give Him, perhaps not. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is Jesus and we can’t fully know Him until we put away our selfishness and pride.
Jesus left His throne in Heaven for you. He set aside all His authority and power, and He would have done it for you alone. This is the love and devotion He has for you. Your relationship with God depends on you loving Him in kind. Is He worth it to you? Is Jesus worth putting aside your hopes, dreams, ambitions, desires, and comforts? Is He worth surrendering everything? Do you trust Him with everything to come? This is the commitment He demands in order to build a relationship honoring to God. I promise He is worth it. Do you believe that’s true? Is He worth everything to you? How is your relationship with God?