Nowadays, I consider myself extremely blessed to have spent the last 2 years of my life working in what most performers would consider a dream job. Performing in a Broadway show is something that many actors aspire to, and very few are ever lucky enough to ever experience. Not to mention the fact that I get to do something that I love and also get paid for it. I would be lying to you though if I didn’t tell you that some days, I dread going to work just as much as the next person.
I hope this doesn’t make me sound like an ungrateful jerk. I’m very grateful for my job, and my educational experience in high school for that matter. I am simply using these two examples to point out what I believe is a universal truth.
Whatever we have to do, we will inevitably dislike, or even abhor at one point or another. It’s not that we don’t love our job or school, we do. The problem is that when we have to go because of contracts or what it may be, we don’t feel like we have the freedom to choose. And when a person feels robbed of their freedom of choice, resentment is bound to set in. In simpler terms, any obligation soon becomes an annoyance.
I think this is a big reason why God doesn’t force us to love him or relate with him. I’ve often heard fellow Christians say, “If God wants us to pray, study the Bible, worship, love him, etc, why doesn’t he just command us to? Or force us? He’s God isn’t he? Doesn’t he have the power?”
The answer is yes, he is God, which means that he knows how our brains work. He knows that if he were to force us to relate and spend time with him, then just like everything else we have to do, we would inevitably grow to resent him or any of the disciplines mentioned above.
One of the most honest, beautiful expressions of God’s love is that he doesn’t force us to love him in return. God doesn’t want to be an obligation to us, he wants us to choose him every day. This is why prayer, worship, and scripture study are called spiritual disciplines. A discipline is something you don’t have to do, but you choose to do anyway because you know it is good for you.
Perhaps this is also why Jesus leans so heavily on the metaphor of the bride. If you view your spouse as an obligation, your relationship will soon become a chore, and you will grow to resent one another. But if you choose your spouse, every single day, then you will know a joy that surpasses all else. I believe the same goes for our relationship with God, and our job, and maybe even high school.
God does not want to be just another thing on your to-do list.
He has chosen you, and he is longing for your to choose him.