The latest series my pastor has been teaching at church is about missing Jesus, and the most common way we do this is by trying to make him fit neatly into our lives, trying to make him in our image instead of us in his.
Think about it for a moment. You want to make more money, so you pray for more money, instead of praying that God will guide you financially to be responsible and to have what he wants you to have. You want to get the career you've set your heart on, so you pray you'll get it instead of praying that God will guide you into the career he wants you in, or if you know you're on a career path that is good for you in his eyes, you pray that you'll do well instead of praying that he'll use you at the workplace.
Colossians 1: 15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
This is not the language of someone who is supposed to fit neatly in our American dream.
Revelations 3:15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
We are called to live for Jesus, not Jesus for us. He is not a cosmic vending machine. He is not someone who stays in the guest bedroom of our heart, conveniently there when we need him. This is the savior of our spirits.
Too often, when we choose Jesus, we ask him to come into our hearts, and forget to give him our hearts. We want him in our lives, but only so far as our lives can fit him in. We want him to save our spirit, but we forget to follow his Spirit. We want his forgiveness, but we don't live out the gratitude we should have for receiving it.
I know when I was Mormon, I didn't understand this concept in the least. I didn't understand what it was to have God on my mind constantly, and to want to live for him. I was too occupied with following rules and trying to be "worthy," thinking that would please him. This radical relationship of love is something I didn't expect. I never made God the spiritual head the same way that a husband is the head of the household--after all, Christ is the bridegroom of the church, and we, the church, are his bride. Should we be treating him as if he were exactly that--the love of our life, who has and will spiritually provide for us like no other can?
Who is Almighty in your life? Is it God, or is it your dreams, wants, desires, hopes, fears, anxieties, and opinions? Most of us will automatically want to say that its God, but most of us would be wrong. Remembering him out of duty a couple of times a day is not a relationship with him. Following a bunch of rules to try to please him is not a relationship, its an obligation, and frankly, its an obligation we could have with or without God, if we thought that obeying all those rules would be good for us completely aside from a belief in God.
I have come to have a great awe and respect for the God I now know, the God who took on flesh and died for me himself so that I could be forgiven of my sins if I choose him. That's frankly beyond my comprehension. I'm just a creation. He chose to give me all I have--my ability to have emotions, to desire life beyond the grave, to live--and he could chose to give me no more than that, but he didn't. He chose to give me the ability to find eternal life. That's amazing to me, and I want to live a life that shows him that I know how amazing that is.
He is my rock, my redeemer, my comforter, my savior, my lord, my shepherd, my friend, my father, my Abba, my counselor, my creator, the almighty, the messiah, the alpha and omega, the first and the last, the king of kings and lord of lords, who is and was and is to come. He is my God, and I will serve him.