On the Cultivate Blog, we try and offer up some stuff you can do in order to improve your personal relationship with Jesus. I think there are some extremely beneficial things that all of us can do. There are some great tools you can use. There are a lot of great things out there that will inevitably help to improve your relationship with God if you will do them.
Stop Doing, Start Living.
But in the same vein, I think that I’m learning that sometimes the best thing I can do to improve my relationship with God is to stop doing stuff. That’s been a huge change of perspective for me, and it’s still something I’m definitely working through. But I think that it’s true.
Right now, I’m participating in Suncrest’s “leadership track” program along with almost 30 other guys from our church. Right now we’re reading a book written by Gordon MacDonald called Ordering Your Private World. One of the chapters deals with the signs of a “driven person,” that is, a person who is always busy, who is always doing something, and is never investing in the internal world of the soul and of the heart. Reading that chapter, I’ve got to be honest; I think that I can see a lot of those signs in my life.
Likewise, earlier this week I had the opportunity to get away for a few days along with the rest of the Suncrest ministry staff for our annual staff retreat. It was definitely a great time, and I really enjoyed getting to better know the members of our ministry team. Yet, for me, one of the big themes I walked away with was that I am not paid as a staff member to do, but to equip. Instead of feeling good about all the stuff I do, Greg posed to us that it would be a much bigger victory if instead we equipped a member of our church to do the same thing, so that we can spend time casting vision for something else. That goes against my natural tendency to always be doing things and to be occupied all the time with tasks. I need to personally move from a culture of doing to investing.
I’ve always read and heard sermons on stuff about how busyness is not necessarily a good thing, but for whatever reason (probably the fear of actually applying those lessons to my own life), I took them worth a grain of salt. But I believe that God is really working on me and showing me that in fact, I am a busy person. And maybe sometimes the best thing I can do to improve my relationship with Jesus is to simply choose to not do some things, no matter how counterintuitive it might seem to me.
Is it really possible that if we would stop doing, we could start living?
Now I’m not saying that you should quit reading your Bible. I’m not saying that you should quit praying. Those are always valuable and worthwhile endeavors that we should pursue. What I’m talking about is making an intentional choice and decision to quit always being busy (and believe me, you HAVE to be intentional about this). It stresses us out, and in my own life, I’ve noticed that it pushes God out of my life as well.
And I don’t think this applies to just the regular tasks of our day. Even in our prayer lives, for example, we tend to be “busy” by coming to God and simply dominating the conversation. Maybe instead of doing all the talking, we could stop doing and start living by simply allowing God to speak to us. Maybe it’s time we learn the truth of Psalm 46:10, in which we are asked to be still and know God. We’re not asked to do something, but simply to be still. Wait. Listen.
In Matthew 11:30, we are told by Jesus that his yoke is easy and his burden is light. I think that’s kind of ironic considering that for the most part, Christ followers seem to be some of the most stressed out, burdened people that I know.
So you’re looking for a way to improve your relationship with God? I think that sometimes the greatest cultivator for us is simply to stop doing and to start living.
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