We all drift from Jesus.

For quite some time, I had been feeling distant from God. I had slowly halted in following Him and became hardened by the sin I found myself trapped in. There would be a few days in which I'd try and repent and return, but the words of repentance always came out halfheartedly. No matter how broken I felt inside, I still remained passive about it and neglected Jesus even further.

Yet, as I continued to try and open my heart to His word, I find myself being overwhelmed by truths we hear constantly, but never really think twice about. God loves me. God will never leave me or forsake me. God will provide for me - the list can go on and on. We hear these truths nearly every time we walk into church, and yet, we still live as if they are untrue; they do little to stir our souls like they should be. Why is that? How can something we hear so often be forgotten so quickly?

Looking back, I think that is one of the Devil's greatest ways to hinder believers. We hear them so often that we end up taking them for granted. You see, we hear them with our ears, but that is where it ends. We don't ponder them or meditate on their true meaning. We look at these simple truths about God and just assume we've already mastered our understanding of them.

"Of course God loves me. Everyone knows that. Of course, He'll never leave me or forsake me. We hear it all the time. When am I going to hear some actual theology?"

The more we hear these simple reminders of God, the more we tend to view them as something out of "Level 1 Christianity". So to speak, we tend to see those simple truths as being meant for new and beginner Christians. Yet, the Apostle Paul warns us of that exact kind of thinking.

'Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldlymere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.'

1 Corinthians 3:1-2

As were the Corinthians, we, too, are still not ready. We have developed this mindset where we just want to rush everything, but a relationship with God is something we can never rush. Just like any relationship, it takes both constant work and time, even more so when it comes to the King of Kings. We're so quick to push past all these 'obvious' truths about God and want to go straight into intense, advanced theology. Yet, if you don't even meditate on the simple things about God; what makes you think that you'll meditate on the advanced things about Him? You don't give an infant a steak when they're hungry (at least, I hope you don't.. unless you're from Texas), you give them milk. They aren't ready for solid food yet, they need time to get used to the milk before they can move on to truths that are much more difficult to chew and stomach (okay.. no more food metaphors).

Before we can further grow in our relationship with God, we first must learn to meditate on the truths we already know by heart. For me, it was Luke 15, the Parable of the Lost Sheep.

4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

Luke 15:4-7

I had heard this Parable so many times before but when I finally started to meditate on it was when things became a lot clearer in my life. You see, while I was straying from God, I would still find myself being blessed immensely - whether it be through new friendships or just an overwhelming peace at heart. Despite my resistance towards Jesus, the blessings kept coming, and for the life of me, I couldn't understand why.

God, what are you doing? Every day I choose my sin instead of you. At this point, I don't even feel bad for choosing it. My heart is so cold and callous. Why do you keep giving me good things?!

Now, I'm able to see God more clearly. As the Parable states, our God is an unrelenting God. When you accept Him into your life and come into a relationship with Him, He does NOT let you go. Ever. You are His child and He will pursue you to the ends of the earth and further just to bring you back. No matter how far we stray, even then, He is right beside us, beckoning us to return home with Him. All the blessings I had been receiving were God's way of trying to call me home. I can just imagine Him calling out to me, trying to overpower my self-doubt and pain.

Jonah! What are you doing?! My love and your worth far exceed the sin that traps you. There is so much more than the temporary happiness it brings you. My goodness is everlasting and I want to give it to you! Take these blessings! Keep having them! Open your eyes and see that I AM GOOD!

I believe that a lot of our problems we face today as believers can be fixed with pretty simple answers - the ones we so often overlook. Try it with me now. Wherever you are at the moment, just be still and ponder these simple truths.

God LOVES you. God loves YOU. There is nothing that you have done, are doing, or will do, that will EVER change that. Nothing, as in, no-thing can ever separate you from the love of God. He looks upon you and sees so much beauty and worth, beyond your own comprehension. (Romans 8:31-39)

God will NEVER leave you or forsake you. You are HIS child and whether or not you have dedicated your life to following Jesus, He still pursues you relentlessly. He wants nothing but the best for you and He wants you to partake in His goodness. He wants you to live a strong and courageous life. He has so much for you, all you need is to accept Him. (Joshua 1:9 - Romans 10:9)

God WILL provide for you. The God of the universe and everything in it can and will provide. He knows your needs before you even ask. He knows your own heart's desires. All He asks is that you rely solely on Him for these things. (Philippians 4:19 - Luke 12:22-34 - Psalm 37:4)

Again, we hear these truths day in and day out, but when are we going to start living like they're true?

Don't wait! Today is a new day and it is never too late to get yourself back on track to strengthening your relationship with Christ!

Be strong and be blessed.

J.R.H.