I cannot physically touch God. I cannot literally see Him. I cannot audibly hear Him. I cannot actually taste Him. And, I cannot really smell Him. Yet, He is to be my refuge. My salvation. My friend. My love.
This paradox, if you will, is why it can be difficult for us to lean on Christ. This is why we often turn to people or things that we can physically touch/see/hear to nurse our wounds and give us fast comfort and joy. The quick fix!
But, despite the instant gratification or speedy advice that those things may offer, they can still leave us anxious and needy. Anxious because our hearts were made to find ultimate peace and rest in God (Phil 4:7 ; Matt 11:28). And, needy because, if people (or things) are the first thing that we turn to, then, when a storm hits, we will “need” those things immediately.
That’s why over and over in the Bible – God is exhorting us to put him first.
Matthew 6:33 — “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Proverbs 3:6,9 — “In all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight… Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce.”
Exodus 20:3 (the very first commandment) — “You must not have any other god but me.”
Matthew 22:36-37 — “‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'”
So, while we may not be able to literally see God, we can experience Him and we can have a relationship with Him (Exodus 33:18-20).
God desires for us to put Him first, not just because He is always available, but because our hearts were made to find our needs in Him and not other people. He has set eternity in our hearts (Ecc 3:11).
2 Corinthians 4:18 — “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary and what is unseen is eternal.”
So, how do we do this? How do we lean on Christ and set our minds on things that are above (Col 3:2)?
Get alone with God.
It is a simple answer. Yet, as life and responsibilities and relationships and children pile on, it can become one of the hardest things to do. But, there’s so much grace (it never runs out) and we need that grace as we learn to walk with God through new seasons.
Maybe you learned to lean on God when you had no community and now you have community and you’re tempted to lean on them instead of God. Grace, grace, grace. Go back to the basics.
Maybe you learned to lean on God as a single person but now you’re married and you’re tempted to lean on your spouse before God. Grace, grace, grace. Go back to the basics.
Maybe you learned to lean on God before kids but now there’s all these little people with all these big needs and you’re tempted to skip God to tend to them. Grace, grace, grace. Go back to the basics.
Luke 5:16 — “But He [Jesus] would withdraw to desolate places and pray.”
Mark 1:35 — “And He departed and went out to a desolate place and there he prayed.”
Matthew 14:23 — “And after He had dismissed the crowds, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone.
And, if it’s in the heat of a moment, getting alone with God does not have to look like going to the mountainside to pray. You can go to the bathroom at work, your car at school, your back porch at home. Sometimes, I even just close my eyes and picture myself in an empty sanctuary with God. It’s just about turning to God first with our fragile hearts.
Lean on friends, family, spouses, whoever. But, only secondary to God. Because people make great vessels and helpers but terrible Saviors.
Philippians 4:6-7 — “Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”