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But It’s So Easy for Him…

Part of our fallen human nature goads us into envying what others have.

We wish we had his athletic ability. We wish we had her organizational skills. We want that one’s speaking/motivational prowess. We want that one’s writing talents.

I’ve been in a lot of places where I’ve been privileged to lead worship and almost every place someone has come up to me to ask if I will pray for them so they will be able to play and sing like me.

I pray for them, but I also ask them questions they don’t like. Questions like, “how much do you practice? Do you play your scales? Have you ever taken singing lessons?”

As far as music goes, I have spent of lot of time playing/practicing, worshipping, participating in classes, going to college, and practically leading groups of musicians and congregations into worship for over a decade.  Within a few seconds of my explaining what it takes to be a better musician/worship leader, most people are headed for the door because they are shocked at how unspiritual I am to suggest that it might actually cost them something to gain a skill. Jesus paid it all, right?

He did pay it all that we might have entrance into the Presence, but He leaves it up to us to develop the skills, hunger, and godly passions He placed in us.

When someone pays the price to be skilled, it looks easy, and relationship with God is no different. You may have even been envious of someone’s closeness to God at times. It looks so easy for him or her. You want that ‘anointing’ or you want them to pray for you.

The truth is that not everyone can be a basketball star or famous musician (no matter how much they practice), but every single person was made with the capacity to grow in relationship with our God.

A.W. Tozer explains it this way,

Receptivity is not a single thing; it is a compound rather, a blending of several elements within the soul. It is an affinity for, a bent toward, a sympathetic response to, a desire to have. From this it may be gathered that it can be present in degrees, that we may have little or more or less, depending upon the individual. It may be increased by exercise or destroyed by neglect.

Our receptivity to His heart, His voice, His love, His passion, His presence–it may not be at a level 10, but you can grow from your level 2 by exercising that intimacy.

The converse reality is sadly true as well. If we neglect it, no matter how much we have gained, our relationship will atrophy and diminish.

You may genuinely have a harder time than others for a variety of reasons (like past relational problems, emotional hurts, etc.), but you don’t have to wish for a greater closeness to God. He is drawing you and enabling you by His grace for a beautiful experience of His love and blessing.

Each one of us needs to drop the excuse that it’s “so easy for him.” We can stop being envious of others’ intimacy, and we can press in for ourselves. The veil has been torn. What are you waiting for?

Have you struggled with envy in this area? Or have you ever made an excuse about how hard it is to know God? What are your thoughts on this?


Welcome to week 10 of our book club discussion of the Pursuit of God (disclosure) by A.W. Tozer. We are taking a sentence, paragraph, or passage that inspires, encourages, or challenges and writing about it, and to fully digest this book, we’re spending two weeks on each chapter. If you have a response on your blog, add it in the link widget below and be sure to check out the other entries. Also head over to my friend and co-facilitator, Sarah Salter’s blog for another great take. Whether you’ve read the selection or not, please share your thoughts! We always appreciate a vibrant conversation.

18 Comments

  1. I thought of the epic account of David and Goliath as I read this… David chose to go to battle with the skills he had practiced and perfected in his daily life. He trusted God to deliver the victory, yet he didn’t run to battle wearing unfamiliar armor or wielding unfamiliar weapons.
    Dusty Rayburn recently posted..The One Certainty in My LifeMy Profile

    • Absolutely! He was confident in His knowledge and relationship with God. He had already killed a lion and bear. He knew He was and knew who God is. That’s a recipe for great exploits! Good thoughts, Dusty. Thank you.

  2. I wrote a post on envy as well today (well, the word I used was begrudge). You covered it much better than I.
    Scott Couchenour recently posted..To Begrudge Or Not To BegrudgeMy Profile

    • Awesome, Scott! I look forward to reading it. Thank you.

  3. Like How Dusty said David did battle with what he had. The same can be said for Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.(The 3 Hebrew boys whenever I teach on this I use there real names) There tools where faith, wisdom & knowledge, and most importantly prayer. Most people would think because there where captured to Babylon that there skills where developed in Babylon. But in reality they weren’t Daniel was schooled by Ezekiel Then Daniel Schooled The 3 Hebrew Boys. And that my friend is why its important to learn and mature in The Word of God. To be an affective Minister you have to experience the thing your talking or preaching about. That’s what makes your relationship with God stronger.
    andrew singh recently posted..Christmas-Winterland Photo ExtravaganzaMy Profile

    • You’re right--God doesn’t call us to memorize some words or the right doctrine, He calls us to live out His word as we experience His amazing grace. Without it, we’re just trying our best to be “good people” and that righteousness doesn’t stand up when we see what Jesus purchased for us! Thanks Andrew.

  4. Excellent post. The world is all looking for short cuts, quick fixes, and the easy way out. I learned a long time ago; if you want something your gonna have to work hard to get it. No one is handing out free passes to experience. Even if they were there would be no gratification because it cost us nothing.

    When we seek God in those terms it pays the biggest dividends. When He is the priority all else falls exactly where they should.

    I like the way Tozer nailed it: “A generation of Christians reared among push buttons and automatic machines is impatient of slower and less direct methods of reaching their goals. We have been trying to apply machine methods to relations with God.”

    He saw this thing coming didn’t he?

    • Something you said reminded me of the story where David, after falling under the judgment of God, was told to go and offer a sacrifice on a man’s threshing floor. The man offered to give it, but David insisted on paying the full price because he “would not offer to the Lord what cost Him nothing.” We certainly do lost sight of that principle. We become accustomed to both instantaneous gratification in our lives as well as becoming desensitized to His presence. David could have argued and said, “the earth is the Lord’s and all its fullness so what difference does it make,” but he didn’t. We can argue it’s all God’s gifts so what’s the big deal, but we miss the point. It’s a beautiful thing to develop our gifts and talents with Him, but we have to offer them first. Thanks Floyd.

  5. We live in an instant gratification society and people want instant growth in their relationship with God too. It doesn’t work that way though! It takes hard work and discipline. Many people forget that Paul tells us to “work out our salvation.”
    Kevin Martineau recently posted..Discipline turns ability into achievementMy Profile

    • Those are the scriptures we ignore, Kevin! And it is a bit confusing because Paul says both. We are adopted and eagerly awaiting our adoption. We are finished in Christ but pressing on toward the goal. In the view of eternity it is finished and we have access to the finished work that pulls us along into that freedom, life, and fulfillment! Thanks so much, Kevin.

  6. I used to be envious of my good friend from college and the seemingly easy intimacy he had with Christ. He just had one of those personalities that was awed by, we’ll, everything. I was new to the faith and it seemed like God spoke to him in ways He didn’t speak to me. Fast forward a few years, he’s now ruined his family, in a “church” that allows sexual immorality among its leaders and really is far from God. Just because something is easy, doesn’t mean it’s good. Sometimes the tougher road is the one that makes our relationship with Christ deeper.

    • Great point, Jason. Just because it looks easier, doesn’t always mean it is. So sad to hear what happened to your friend too. Wow. Thanks for sharing this, Jason.

  7. People have no idea what they are asking for when they want something to come easily. I believe that it’s not just the ability that you gain while practicing whatever skill you’re developing, but also the ability to deal with the preasure to cope with the responsibility that comes with what has been gained. “To whom much has been given, much will be required.” If I work towards the goal and really appreciate what went into it, the requirement that comes along with it will most likely be easier to handle. Not sure if that makes sense, but it’s kind of something that stirred in me when I read this.
    Philip recently posted..Hey, Remember the 80′s?My Profile

    • Even on the slow road, you can be prone to take things for granted, but at least, you can wake up and realize what got you there and how far you’ve come so that it snaps you back to reality. I’m a firm believer that God wants His blessings to be a blessing and not a curse. If we gain our inheritance quickly, it won’t be blessed in the end (Proverbs 20:21). Thank you, Philip!

  8. I LOVE this, Jason! Thanks for making me think like this! (Even this early in the morning.) :-)
    Sarah Salter recently posted..The WhisperMy Profile

    • Ha! Just doing my job, Sarah. :) Thank you.

  9. I not only struggled, but I made every excuse in the book. Have to admit sometimes knowing God better, or closer, means going places physically, emotionally, or even spiritually, where you know you have to go, but yet you also know it’s the hardest and most undesirable thing/place that you don’t want to go or deal with. But God is there with us, even though He may not appear to be.
    Ed recently posted..BullyMy Profile

    • Oh man, I totally understand what you mean. I have to keep reminding myself that not dealing with it is more painful. Still takes Him to get me there! His kindness leads us to repentance. Thanks Ed.