Matthew 6:6 (the message)
“Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.”
Simple and honest. Wow, these aren’t always the first thoughts we have about the best way to approach God. Even though we know, at least mentally, that God already knows our thoughts and deepest motives we try to hide ourselves from Him. Sometimes we put on our “game face” when we pray. I know all about it. I used to do it and I think I will fight the pull to perform and earn God’s nearness and approval my whole life. But even when it feels hard…like I can’t quite reach Him…Jesus finds a way to my heart. Finds a way to help me to slow down and rest. Be simple and honest with Him. Yes, yes. Greater is He in me than all the effort and earning and striving I produce. Thank You, God, for Your grace.
Maybe the whole prayer and getting alone with God thing just feels like a mist that slips through your fingers. Maybe you don’t really try or want to try because for one, it doesn’t appear to do much good in your life. Or two, it’s boring and you feel like a failure at it. I don’t know…maybe you feel such a weight of shame or condemnation when you think of talking to our Holy God. I just want to encourage you this morning before I head up to the grocery store with my now out of school for spring break girlies…smile. Indeed our God is Holy. He’s beautiful. Majestic. He will not ever rest snugly in your pocket…won’t let you nail Him down into a formula or 5 point plan for managing Him in your life. He also will never reject you because of Jesus. Jesus choked down and bled out the penalty for our sin. Whatever clings to your soul and convinces you that God needs a ten foot clearance from your stained heart can be broken through forgiveness and grace. Please hear me and realize you can come to God because of Jesus. Do you ever stop and ponder the whole thing? God, Creator, loves us so much He left His throne in Heaven and chose to inhabit a little boy’s body. He, being Divine and Holy…all man and all God, humbled Himself and died a criminal’s death on a wooden cross. All for you. So you need not peer at God from afar…you can come close. Really, really close. No need to earn it…you can’t top a crucifixion and resurrection. Just bring your heart. Simply and honestly.
There is an amazing freedom and sweet comfort when we find this quiet place. Sometimes in our simple honesty words gush forth and God listens to them all. Sometimes, we have no words and in our silence He speaks.