June 16, Sunday

Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought is written by John Lee who serves as a youth pastor at the Church of Southland, Anaheim, California.

 

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“In Search of a Perfect Relationship”

Exodus 20:24-25

You shall make an altar of earth for Me, and you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen; in every place where I cause My name to be remembered, I will come to you and bless you. 25 If you make an altar of stone for Me, you shall not build it of cut stones, for if you wield your tool on it, you will profane it.

Being recently married I’m often asked, “How’s married life?” And my response has often been, “It’s good, I’m learning to be a better husband everyday.” However, this wasn’t my initial thought going into marriage. I had a romanticized thought that everything would fit perfectly together; that every difference of opinion would be settled in perfect harmony. Deep down inside I thought I couldn’t fail at being a husband.

Soon I discovered that my high expectation created the pressure of having to do everything in marriage perfectly (i.e., high performance). This soon led to judging what was acceptable and unacceptable in our marriage. It came to the point that everything I did or touched had to be 100% perfect in my eyes. Little did I know that this mindset was pushing away my wife when the reason I was doing these things was to draw her closer. I was too busy tinkering with date plans or cooking meals that I didn’t have time to simply talk and rest with my wife. However, if I’m completely honesty, a part of me wanted to be validated for being a good husband by my wife, our family, and friends. So the truth is that I was too busy trying to validate my place in our marriage that I wasn’t fully enjoying our marriage.

Sometimes, in our “marriage” (i.e., relationship) to God, we can become too busy validating our place before God that we forget to fully enjoy our marriage with God. Sometimes, we can feel as though we are not good enough to approach God. Or we are caught in seasons where we feel that the circumstances are too difficult to reach God. Other times, the enemy traps us with the thought that you are failing as a child of God and there’s no hope – “how can you still be struggling with the same issues?” And these thoughts eventually make us feel like we can’t approach God until we perfect ourselves. Yet, God calls us to approach Him so he can perfect us.

When God called the Israelites to build an altar for Him, he emphasized not to build the altar with stones that were cut and decorated by their hands and tools. Instead, they were called to use the stones as they found them on the earth – raw, uncut, and unpolished. Obeying God meant giving up their desire to perfect the rocks so that they could have an altar that seemed perfect in their eyes. It wasn’t up to them to create perfection to approach God. God was reminding them to keep the rocks as they were to build an altar of sacrifice so that they could trust His perfection.

Coming to terms that I wouldn’t be a perfect husband has given me a greater freedom to approach my wife. Realizing that I don’t need to perfect everything in my life allows me to approach God without validating my place.

Maybe there are rocks in our lives that seem raw, uncut, and unpolished. Maybe there are things we’re too busy tinkering with and perfecting that prevent us from trusting God in His perfection. Come freely and lay down lay down your tools. Come raw, uncut, and unpolished to approach our Heavenly Father.

Prayer: Father, cause me to remember You. Many times, I want to perfect myself and be in control. But allow me to give up my tools and come to you even if I don’t feel perfect. And in doing so, may you perfect me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.   

Bible Reading for Today: 2 Samuel 9

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