We all want more from our relationship with Jesus. We want more clarity, peace, joy, love, contentment, direction, vision, hope. The list can go on but the essence is we want to be closer to Jesus. We understand that this is exactly what Jesus wants. In fact, in the gospel of John Jesus prayed about our oneness with him. But we expect it to be handed to us on a silver platter.
Our attitude stinks when it comes to our expectations in this relationship. We expect to put in minimum effort for maximum gain. We look at salvation, which is free for those who believe, because of God's grace, and we think this also translates into a no-effort relationship. But that is not what the Word of God reveals. Relationships take work; "Seek my face", says our God and seeking is a thing of effort.
This relationship requires total honesty. The Spirit wants us to examine and understand our motivations so we can confess and repent of the selfish ones and seek our God in purity of heart and mind. Most of us will not do that. We won't even consider how important it is. We get good feelings now and then. The Spirit is manifested from time to time. We experience God's provision and we don't consider how much all of this is by his wonderful grace but not the fullness that he desires to give in proper relationship.
The Israelites also had the manifestation of Yahweh in a major way. He was always visible to them in the desert. How could they forget what happened in a very tangible way in Egypt. They heard his voice and were afraid. Yet, they never entered into the purity of relationship that Yahweh desired. Here is a little snippet:
"The Israelites must no longer sacrifice their communal sacrifices to the goat demons that they follow so faithlessly. This will be a permanent rule for them throughout their future generations." (Leviticus 17:7)
Goat demons? Really? The strange thing is that we are a crazy creature that would rather hold on to an ugly familiar thing instead of a new and wonderful thing. We will do stuff simply because it is what our parents did. We would rather hold on to demon worship than step into the most incredibly beneficial relationship with the Son of God, just because the former is familiar and the latter is not.
I guarantee that there are attitudes, thoughts and actions that are part of us that dishonour our God, just like worshiping the goat demons. Such things prevent us from growing up into the full measure of Jesus Christ. They are things that are so much part of us that we don't even realize what they are or the source of them. This is especially true of the way we think. If only we could grasp how positive our Father is toward us. If only we could see is desire and longing for us. If only our mental barriers would be taken down, the demons evicted, so that the joy and the peace that comes from the Lord's presence would be a permanent feature of our being.
These things could be discovered by every worshiper of Jesus Christ, if only we would pursue a growing relationship with him. If only we would lose our attraction to the things of this world, to goat demons, and rely fully on the Holy Spirit. If only we would learn to love the LORD our God with all our heart, mind, body and passion. If only we would be willing to lose our pride, dignity and allow those barriers to come down, even if it looks shameful in the eyes of the world. Jesus makes all things new, beautiful and full of himself, and if that is all that matters to us, we will have more of him