“To just read the Bible, attend church, and avoid “big” sins – is this passionate, wholehearted love for God?” was the question Francois Fenelon, a French theologian and poet who lived in the 1600’s asked in his writing, The Seeking Heart. Whether you are a CEO of a corporation, a Christian leader, or even a stay at home spouse – Francois Fenelon’s question is one that can be asked of all of us.
A malaise has overtaken Christianity in some parts of the world, primarily due to a cultural mindset that as long as we are connected to “the church” in some capacity, that we have checked the box signaling we have fulfilled our duties as a good Christian. If we serve, or have taken a leadership role in a ministry, it can become easy to be deceived into thinking that we are giving God all we have. There are times though that God begins tugging at us, attempting to get our attention, because there is more that He wants out of us. Here are 3 signs that God needs more from you:
1) Your Key Relationships Are Suffering In Spite of Your Success.
Relationships are one of the greatest gifts God has given to us. Both marriage and friendship are underscored in the Bible as being vital. Often, when our passion for God has waned, one of the first areas it becomes evident is in our relationships. Sometimes, it can be hard to recognize because we can clearly see God blessing us in other key areas of our lives. For example, if one has a thriving ministry, career, finances or another part of their life, it can be easy to assume that God would not allow for us to be successful in those areas of our lives if we were not doing well in all the areas of our lives. Yet, you can be a success in ministry, in your career or another area, and still be a failure in marriage, as a parent, and in your friendships. The friendships that encourage you to remain stagnant will thrive, while the friendships that stretch you to grow will become distant.
Your key relationships will start feeling empty. It will be easier to disconnect emotionally, even if not physically. Relationships play a key role in our lives. They provide companionship, help and accountability. Additionally, God often uses relationships to speak to us, to stretch us beyond the point of vision and depth perception of our own eye. (Genesis 2:18; 2 Samuel 12 NLT)
2) Obligation Plays a Bigger Part In Your Life Than Passion.
The God of the Universe loves us with a radical, unconditional, passionate love. (1 John 4:8 NLT) God loves us ardently that He even styles Himself a jealous God. (Exodus 34:14 NLT) When we first have an encounter with God, we are often filled with joy, zealousness, and unashamed passion. Over time though, if we do not oil the engine of our relationship with God by remaining connected to Him, we will find ourselves continuing to serve Him without even liking Him. That’s a bold statement.
The irony is that many of us love God, but when we lose our passion, we no longer like God. During these times, we feel obligated to serve and acknowledge Him in ways that have become tedious to us, because we are no longer passionate about Him. God desires a passionate, loving relationship with us. Although we may feel like we can’t step away from, sometimes it is necessary to separate ourselves from whoever or whatever we feel obligated to, so that we can reconnect with God, that He might revive our spirits. Remember, you can’t effectively serve whom you’re disconnected from.
3) There Is No Growth In the Areas With No Spotlight.
There are certain areas of our lives that we readily open up to God, and ask us to transform us. The irony is that God never wanted access to certain areas, but to all areas. Growing up, there was always a room in the house that was just meant to be occupied when visitors came over. It was not to be played in, or even in sat in if you could help it. Often this is the room that was closest to the entrance of the house. From the outside looking in, the assumption would be that the house was pristine based on the look of this family/company room.
Yet, while the other rooms in the house were maintained, they usually were not as well kept. God does not just want our visitor’s room; He always wants our closet, under our bed, and all the other hidden areas we may not readily show the average person. (Ezekiel 36:26; Romans 12:2) No matter how long we have known God, it is easy to plateau when we stop giving Him access to all areas of our lives. True growth comes from complete surrender – DAILY!
The Lord declares, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT) The very fact that a holy, eternal, all knowing, all powerful merciful, fair, and just God loves you and me is nothing short of astonishing. The wildest part is that He does not have to love us – HE CHOOSES TO. Our response to Him should surrender. He wants more of us because we belong to Him. Paul describes us as being “slaves of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 7:22 MSG). God’s one goal for us is Himself. We don’t really begin to live life until we are full of Him!
Written by Jermaine T. McNeil
Connect with Jermaine @ www.jermainemcneil.com
Bio: Jermaine T. McNeil is contemporary spiritual leader, practical bible teacher, success strategist, and author. He is devoted to igniting "everyday" people with a holistic message of radical faith, the overwhelming love of Christ, and relentlessly impacting the world through the power of God.