My best friends in middle school were Barry, Zach, and Jared. We all lived in the same neighborhood, so it was easy to hang out. We often rode to school together and would take turns going over to each other’s houses. Barry had the best house to visit. His dad built a barn, so it was fun to climb the rafters and goof off. We had a blast!
At the time, it felt like we would all be friends for the rest of our lives. Most of us have tried to stay in touch, but honestly, things changed.
Have you had that experience? Maybe you had friends in middle school that your whole world revolved around. How many of those people are you still close with? How many of them would you still consider to be your best friend? My guess is, it probably isn’t many.
Do you know what happened? Did you have a falling out? Was there a big fight? Or did you just drift?
Chances are whatever happened isn’t all that memorable. You just aren’t close anymore.
You just aren’t close anymore.
So let me ask you about your relationship with God. Have you ever felt the same way about him? Have you ever felt like you used to be closer, but now, for whatever reason, you aren’t?
I think we all want to be close to someone. We all want to feel like someone knows us, likes us, and cares for us. In theory, the idea of being close to God seems appealing. It sounds great, but it can be intimidating.
I think this is true in college: the idea of being close to God can sound a lot better than actually being close to him.
- I believe that we’re afraid that God may ask us to do something that we don’t want to do.
- Other times we’re afraid that if we get close to God, we’ll have to give up anything that’s fun and just be miserable all the time.
This is crazy because we hear the opposite message at church. We hear that God has big plans for our lives that we don’t want to miss. We hear that God created us to have a relationship with him that is real and personal. But deep down, we have this suspicion that there is more to the story than that. That being close to God is complicated. And that staying close to Him, especially in college, is nearly impossible.
But it’s not.
Staying close to God is possible.
Do you remember Abraham? He was a pretty big deal in the Bible. (He has his own song.) His story is in the very first book—Genesis. It all starts in chapter 12, where his name isn’t Abraham yet, but Abram. And in Genesis 12, the first thing we learn about Abram is that God shows up and speaks to him. He tells Abram to leave the country he’s living in—basically to leave his family and everything he has ever known—and go to a land that God will show him.
But what’s so interesting is that God doesn’t give Abram a command and then wait to see what happens. God tells Abram to leave, and then He keeps talking.
God continues, “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you”(Genesis 12:2-3 NIV).
God was asking Abram to take a big step, but before he started, God also wanted Abram to know that He had a plan in place. He wasn’t just asking Abram to leave his life so that he would be miserable, but so that God could use him and give him a life he had never imagined. God wanted more for Abram, and it was all going to start with Abram taking one step.
Abram’s story didn’t end there. It started there. Over and over, God walked with Abram and made promises, giving him bigger glimpses into the role he would play in the future of the people of God. But the point was never to get Abram to do more things. God was continuing to draw Abram closer to Himself. The point was for Abram and God to develop a history together so that when the time came and it seemed like God was asking Abram to do crazy things, Abram could look back at what God had done for him already and say, “God is trustworthy. God is good. More than my obedience, God just wants me.”
In the same way, God is always drawing you in His direction.
Sounds nice, right? It sounds like really good news. But the question isn’t whether or not it sounds good, but do you believe this is true for you? Do you make decisions based on a belief that God approves of you and wants a relationship with you, or are you distancing yourself because you think He disapproves? Because the truth is, when we believe God wants to be close to us, it changes things.
What would you do differently if you really believed what God says about you? How would you live differently? How would you think differently? What if, just for today, you decided to live as if the things God says about you are true? And what about your relationship with God? Do you think you’d be more likely to stay close to Him if you trusted Him?
So today, I want you to take a step toward being close to God. When you think about Him and you start to feel guilty or want to pull away, choose instead to think of how He sees you. To believe what He says about you and what He did through His Son Jesus to show you His love. Draw close to Him. In fact, even as you head out tonight, ask Him to help you understand just how much He wants to be close to you.
This devotional is one in Sugar Hill Church’s First 30 devotional series for college students. To access the entire series & podcasts be sure to check SHC’s site each day, as new ones are added daily.
(Because we know you are busy, just click here & save as bookmark.)
Listen to Today’s Devotional: