Have you ever heard that too much of a good thing can turn into a bad thing?
Before I started my freshman year of college I heard about the “Christian bubble” at Texas A&M and longed to be a part of it. I couldn’t wait to sign up for all the clubs, bible studies and groups I could squeeze into my schedule. Once classes started I eventually found myself attending meetings or bible studies every day, and I was pumped.
I thought I was doing so great. I was being a “good Christian” because I was getting my daily dose of Jesus every single day. My schedule became so busy, I would only read whatever passage my groups were studying, and occasionally I would read a page of my Jesus Calling book. I rarely found myself praying or spending any extra time with Jesus, because my meetings were enough for the day, right?
At the time I would say my life was going pretty well. I wasn’t facing any major challenges – but maybe that wasn’t such a great thing. I thought I didn’t need to pray as much because I didn’t really have anything to ask of Jesus. I didn’t need help from Him because my life was going okay. But I did. I needed to spend time with Him in order to give Him control of my life. I needed to spend time with Him so that He could better use me. I needed to spend time with Him because He is the ultimate source of everything I need. I needed to spend time with Him in order to allow my faith to grow.
Imagine your faith as a flower. It’s not going to grow tall and beautiful unless you both water it and give it sunlight. You can’t only water a flower, or only give it sunlight and expect it to grow to its full potential – it constantly needs both. It needs constant attentiveness, like our faith.
Later on I realized that my personal relationship with Jesus was lacking. I was so focused on joining these clubs, making Christian friends, and fitting into this “good Christian” standard that I neglected spending time with Him. It’s like I was only watering my flower, but never gave it any sunlight. It wasn’t going to grow.
Two lessons I learned were 1) just because I talked ABOUT Jesus every day doesn’t mean I didn’t need to talk TO Him, and 2) just because life is going great sometimes doesn’t mean I don’t NEED Jesus; because I did, and I still do. We all do.
In 1 Samuel 15 God spoke to Saul through the prophet Samuel and told him to destroy all the Amalekites and their possessions; “men, women, children… babies… cattle, sheep, camels, and donkeys.” Saul and his army killed everyone except King Agag, and destroyed everything except the best sheep and cattle; they only killed the animals that were “worthless or weak.” Saul and his men planned to sacrifice these good sheep and cattle to God – they thought they were doing the right thing. God then told Samuel He regretted making Saul king, because he disobeyed Him; He didn’t want his sacrifices, He wanted his obedience. God wanted HIM.
Maybe we all have a part of Saul in us – we try to do these “good things” with good intentions, but we’re still missing something. Maybe we think we’re doing the right thing, but we’re not actually listening to what God is saying, or we don’t have the patience to wait for Him to reveal something, or we’re not spending enough time with Him to even recognize what He’s trying to show us. We sign up for groups, bible studies, mission trips; have bible verses written on our mirrors, laptops, arms, bracelets, and even Instagram bios to shape this “good Christian” image, all with good intentions. We surround ourselves with so much STUFF that we blindside ourselves and forget to cultivate our personal relationship with God. We water our flowers without giving them sunlight.
My prayer for you is that you find discernment between what is good and what is right. The enemy will do everything he can to make you believe that filling your schedule with organizations, bible studies, clubs, etc. is the key to achieving the “good Christian” standard, when in reality it could serve as a distraction from your personal relationship with Jesus. We have a God that desires ALL of us, not just the energy we have left to spare Him. So make sure you are giving the flower of your faith the water and sunlight it requires, because the more it grows the closer it is to reaching the arms of our Creator.