Things change when I approach Him

Sitting with the church yesterday I heard a phrase from the pastor that staggered me with its implications: "things change when we approach Him." In my note taking I gave it eight stars and a double underline to make sure that I remembered it. Through the closing songs of the service and even into my preparation for an upcoming teaching time I have with the Junior Highers with Northridge Church I meditated on it as it shaped me and what I wanted to share. It seems simple, really, but there are so many times that I have shouldered a burden here that I was not required to bear alone, or suffered an injustice there (whether it was done to me or to a loved one) that I needed to lift up to Him and entrust Him with. Yes - things do change when I approach Him.

But then I got to thinking that, well, things change when I don't approach Him too. I mean, eventually, the circumstance that I am dealing with loosens its grip on me or just goes away. Eventually the acute feelings I have at the death of a loved one lessens to a degree and I don't think about them nearly as often as I did. I know for certain that the struggles I had even a year ago are no longer a part of my life; they're just not in front of me anymore. So what of those changes? They would have vanished even if I didn't approach Him, right? Yes. But...

I liken this whole dilemma to the times when Jesus spoke to his followers in parables. Now it would have been great to hear Christ speak the words he did. His authoritative teaching impressed a bunch of people and changed their lives. But the degree of change was so vastly different. There were those who listened, were impacted, and then walked away back to their living either confused about what he said or imagining an interpretation that he had not intended. Then there were those (his Apostles included) that approached him and asked him the meaning of the parable. To those, to the ones that approached him, he gave the meaning of the story and revealed the secret things of the Kingdom of God. How much more blessed they were having approached him!

All this to say that there is a change that God wants for me that only comes to me when I approach Him. These changes are much more than relieving a source of stress in my life or getting rid of a headache or two. They are the ones that make me more like Christ and allow me a glimpse into the life that is Life. Sometimes, and I truly believe this, the changes are a more complete foretaste of heaven or a greater participation in His divine nature. All of that and a million other things are what changes when I approach Him. I need to do that in ever-increasing measure over an ever-increasing amount of happy and challenging circumstances in my life.

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