I remember when my son was a baby, his favorite toys were those with buttons to push; he would push the button, and the toy would do something or say something. He loved it that he could cause something to happen, something exciting!
Now I see a whole culture of children and adults constantly pushing buttons and touch screen “buttons”:
- On phones
- On tablets
- On computers
- On video games
- On appliances
- And even on such things as lawn mowers.
Yes, it is so much more “cool” to start a lawn mower with the push of a button instead of having to yank that string over and over.
More power with less effort.
But how often do we consider the fact that it is not really we ourselves who are exerting the power to make these things happen? If there is no battery, or the item is not plugged in, or the mower is out of fuel, nothing will happen when we push the buttons.
And in some cases where cords and wires are involved, if the wire is broken, the power cannot reach the machine, and, for that reason, the machine will not work.
The feeling of power we get from pushing buttons can actually be deceptive. We can become convinced that we are the masters when we are really just tapping into a much greater source of power.
I think we often approach prayer in much the same way. We want to push God’s buttons. We offer up a prayer and expect instant action or an immediate message from Him.
When He doesn’t answer the way we want Him to, or as fast as we want Him to, we have the audacity to be upset with Him. It’s as if we subconsciously consider ourselves to be the masters and Him to be our servant.
We may not want to admit it, not even to God or to ourselves, but we think too highly of ourselves. Which, of course, is foolishness and disobedience to God’s command, no matter how unconscious we are of our haughty attitude.
Romans 12:3 says, “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” NIV
And Proverbs 9:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” NASB
God is not some push-button machine.
He is the Power Source itself!
And we have to be connected to Him.
On His terms.
With repentant and humble hearts and with respect and gratefulness for Who He is, not just for what He can do for us.
Prayer is not about getting the greatest power with the least possible effort.
Prayer is about relationship with God, and relationships take time, effort, and communication to create a close bond.
Just like the machines that cannot work apart from the power source, apart from Him we can do nothing. We must make the daily effort to draw close to God. We must keep sins confessed and repented of to keep from breaking the connection. (Psalm 66:18)
God does not want us to try to be as independent of Him as possible and to run to Him for help only when we get stuck. He wants us to abide in Him. Always. (John 15:4,5)
God does answer prayer, and it is exciting to see Him do so! But the most important and exciting thing we can experience is to get to know the loving God of the universe personally, not so we can use Him to our own ends, but so that we might have a close relationship with Him and dwell in His Presence every moment of every day.
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust!'” Psalm 91:1,2 NASB
“The eternal God is a dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” Deuteronomy 33:27 NASB
What better place is there to dwell than close to the loving heart of God with His everlasting arms around us!
Will you begin the adventure, perhaps anew, of discovering the wonder of God as He relates to you and those whose lives you touch as we enter this new year?
This year’s twin words: dwell/abide
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