I’m tempted to approach life as a series of to-do lists. I have my work list, my home list, that list that stays in my purse, the one on my phone, and one in my mind.
Some weeks, as I constantly add to said lists, I feel progressively “behind” in all areas of life. The natural progression is to let go of the things that I know are good and healthy but don’t necessarily have a looming deadline—things like prayer and reading Scripture. It is in the name of productivity that I lose sight of fellowship with God. And the result is always the same. Sin creeps up over time, in small ways at first. God’s voice becomes unrecognizable amidst the loudness that fills my life.
The other day, I found myself in this cycle—overwhelmed by all that had yet to be accomplished, frustrated by my sin. I missed my time in the Word, but I felt like I had no time to prioritize it. So I quickly prayed, “God, I’ll get my life together, then I’ll read my Bible.”
I surprised myself with how easily that promise escaped my lips.
There I was, trying to “clean myself up” to be presentable before God. I wanted to do all the right things before welcoming Him into my life. But I think I can say with certainty… That’s not how a relationship with God works.
At the time of publishing this piece, Pentecost has recently passed (Acts 2:1-41). In the last few weeks, as I have reflected on what that day means for you and I, I realized that my “promise to God” written above reflects a stark misunderstanding of who God is and how He relates with His children.
Pentecost is the day in the church calendar in which we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit. Over two thousand years ago, God sent His Spirit to literally live inside of all believers in a new and powerful way. He has gone to such great lengths to be with us, to offer Himself freely to us.
Pentecost reminds us: It is not our doing that brings us to the Lord; it is His.
By God’s Spirit, we are drawn closer to the Father (Ephesians 2:18). By God’s Spirit, we are convicted of sin (John 16:7-8), enabled to walk in holiness (Galatians 5:22-25), and assured of our coming inheritance in glory (Ephesians 1:13-14).
We will never be “ready” to go to God on our own. Often, to-do lists feel pressing and the weight of sin feels unbearable. But we would do well to step back in surrender and approach Him as we are. You and I are invited to participate in the work that God is already doing, not the other way around. He offers to help us walk in step with Him, that we may pattern our lives after His promptings.
We cannot solve our own sin problems, get our priorities perfectly in line, or curate a desire to know the Lord from somewhere within ourselves. But neither do we have to.
What a joy it is to live in a post-Pentecost world!