February 22, 2021
Scripture: James 4:5-10 “5 Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the spirit he has placed within us should be faithful to him. 6 And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.' 7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. 9 Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor."
Relationships are an interesting piece of life. We all need relationships with other people. To know and be known. We often crave a place to belong if we don’t sense we have one. We desire people who understand us and love us. We also each want attention from others and want others to be considerate of us. I believe that every person has an inner desire to have deeply committed relationships. Unfortunately, these relationships are hard to find, difficult to cultivate, and can develop very slowly over many years. Many of us find people that we naturally click with and can quickly get to know them well because we spend so much time together.
But one thing that is often not talked about is that no matter how close we get to another person, we will still feel a void, as though something is missing. The void may be covered or hidden for a period of time, even a prolonged period. But it eventually finds its way back. It's as though we are constantly looking for more, peering around corners to try and find it. When we are not looking for it to be filled in relationship we are often looking elsewhere. A new hobby or skill we are developing, working extra hard at school or work. We decide if the void isn’t filled from our relationships with others, then it must be that I am not succeeding as well as I need to be. Maybe, I just need to achieve more and this void will go away. Perhaps you are reading this and find yourself in disagreement. I would challenge you to take some time to really reflect on where you are emotionally, physically, relationally, financially. Is this where you thought you would be at this age? Is life everything you thought it would be? Our expectations absolutely have a role to play here, but there is still a reality that a void exists. So now what?
The reality is that we simply were created this way. Created with an inner longing for something bigger… something more than what life is right now. But in our foolishness we think that we have the ability to fill the void. It's not possible. It's not something we are able to do. In all reality, this is just another way in which we try to play God in our life. Wanting to believe that we are able and capable. But this is a lie that comes straight from the pits of hell. We are not able, capable of filling the void in our life. We are able to run from the void, ignore it, and keep looking past it, but it always comes back.
This void is in your life for a reason. The reason is to remind you of your need for God. He is the healer, the one who is able to complete you. There is no one and nothing in this world that has this ability. Only God. He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6), It is by pursing Him, surrendering to Him, and loving Him above everything this world has to offer. It is when we put God in His rightful place in our life that the void is filled. We were created to be in relationship, specifically relationship with God. When He is the focal point of our life, our main concern, our main interest there is not only freedom from sin, there is a completeness there. We find a wholeness that we did not know existed. The reality of life is unless I'm wholeheartedly pursuing a relationship with Christ, all other relationships will be a hopeless attempt to fill that void.
No matter what we try or where we turn, God has to be number 1 in our life. Because when we elevate anything or anyone else above God, we make an idol out of them, we loose our focus, we drift from God, and we sin in significant ways. But when we walk in relationship with Him, surrendering to Him each day, He honors that (1 Peter 5:6-7). When we focus on God in this way, it changes everything. In fact, it has significant influence on our ability to love and serve those around us. To be vulnerable and real with them in ways we didn’t know how before.
Challenge: Take time to reflect on how you have pursued God. What have you given a greater priority to than God? Have you elevated your need to be friends with someone? To date a specific person? To have a certain job or make a certain amount of money? Are your grades more important than spending time with God?
Consider everything in your life that may have too much priority. Turn to God and ask for forgiveness, He will forgive you (Psalm 86:5). Then commit to praying each day, for the next 10 days, that God would help you to openly and honestly surrender each of these areas to Him.