How to Connect with God

Originally published Friday, 22 January 2016.

“Teacher, which command in God’s Law is the most important?”

Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. Matthew 22:36-38 (MSG)

I recently succumbed to the adult colouring fad.

At the beginning of my colouring book it says there are no rules. It goes on to say, “In order to truly enjoy this colouring book, you must remember there is no wrong way – or right way – to paint or use colour.”

I've found this liberating.

I also didn't realise just how many rules I have for myself. 

I constantly speak to myself (in my head) while colouring and my dialogue goes something like this:

Can I do that colour?

Wendy, you’ve just messed it up by choosing that colour.

You are pressing too hard.

Now that you’ve coloured red there this picture won’t work out. 

Should I put these colours together?

Relax, there are no rules. 

I know right, colouring in sounds like a pretty stressful exercise for me when you get inside my head?

As I’ve been colouring I’ve been thinking about all these rules I’ve made for something that is meant to be fun and relaxing. 

For instance, rules about colours that can and can’t go together. Yes, colour theory can help when choosing colours but it wasn’t ever meant to take the joy of colouring away.

It's also got me wondering about all the unnecessary rules I have about how to connect with God.

I must read the bible once a day

I must pray every day (at least once, but preferably every morning and night)

I must listen to Christian worship

I must hang out only with others who love Jesus

I must read books about God

While those are all good things and they can help me connect with God they are a bit like worrying over colour theory. 

God didn’t invite us to fulfil a checklist of tasks every day under a heading, “Connect with God”. He invited us into a relationship with him. 

This has made me think of the Pharisees a bit. The Pharisees were a group of people in Jesus’ day who allowed their relationship with God to be reduced to a legalistic list of rules and rituals. 

In Matthew 22:36-38, the Pharisees came to Jesus and asked:

“Teacher, which command in God’s Law is the most important?”

Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list.

I love that when Jesus replied with a command it was about loving God, many versions say with all your heart, soul and mind. Loving God like that doesn’t come with a set of rules, like colouring it leaves many of the options about how we want that to look open to us. 

My long list of “do’s and don’ts” might be keeping me from connecting with God. (tweet this)

I recently read Donald Millers book, Scary Close, in there he writes about how he connects with God through work. I connect with God running and being creative and writing. I know others who connect with God through gardening, or playing with kids, or going to Church. 

There are a million different ways to colour every picture, and there are a million different ways for each of us to connect with God. (tweet this)

Ponder: What are you currently doing that makes you feel connected to God? What are you currently doing to connect to God that does nothing for you?

Prayer: Lord, show me how to better love you with all my passion and prayer and intelligence. Amen.

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