Relationships with God
I remember watching a video of a pastor talking about what a relationship with God should look like. His argument, dumbed down, was that a relationship with God should look like somebody who loves God and has a burning passion to follow God all moments of their life.
His view on what a good relationship with God should look like was attractive – what could be bad about having that passion that he described? At the time I listened to that video, I didn’t have that passion that he explained and it caused me to question whether I had a solid relationship with God that was built on a good foundation.
It seems this line of thinking that without passion for God, there cannot be love for God, is popular within Christians.
Imagine a Christian confessing that they are finding the Bible dull, they are not feeling God when they pray, and that they don’t feel any sort of passion towards God. It seems to me that these things are all seen as taboos.
My Thoughts on the Matter
After thinking about this for a long time I came to a conclusion. That pastor was wrong; loving God is not synonymous with being passionate towards Him.
I believe that in many ways a healthy and solid relationship with God looks similar to a healthy relationship between a husband and wife.
Although a married couple most likely wouldn’t have the same passion for each other as they had at the beginning of their relationship compared to years later, it would not be fair to say that the love is gone.
A couple months ago my dad sent me a quote from Vaneetha Risner where she said, “Read the Bible even when it feels like eating cardboard and pray even when it feels like talking to a wall”.
How I Feel Now
In the past month I haven’t been necessarily feeling like what is described in the quote, but in the same regard, I haven’t been waking up and having an urge to read my Bible or pray like I have occasionally in the past.
I truly think that passion towards anything cannot last forever. Passion dies and love stays; whether that is for a sport, person, or for God it is still true.
A Good Example
Another story that my dad told me touches on this perfectly. He was telling me that there is a lady who attends his church and has been attending the church for a couple of years. She didn’t call herself a Christian but kept attending. One day the pastor asked her some questions, talked to her for a while, and at the end of the conversation basically told her something along the lines of “Look, I think you’re a Christian” and she agreed.
The point of this story is to say that there was no one church service that completely changed her life. God did not use one service, one person, one moment, but rather used that church, pastor, and the people in it, over a long period of time.
She felt no “passion” as most people would use that word, but instead grew to love Jesus and love his church.
I find someone’s love for Jesus as a beautiful thing no matter the circumstances or appearance of that love. Whether somebody is young and passionate for Jesus, or old and faithful to Jesus, the love can be there either way.
It is easy to look at two people and think one has more love for God because of their passion; that is just a wrong basis for judgment if their even is any basis in the first place.
I hope that throughout my life I still have more days, months, and years where I am filled with passion and excitement for God, but even if I never have another moment of that excitement, I will still love Him.
Jackson Laninga is a student at Auckland University of Technology. He grew up in Arizona, but moved to New Zealand to study communication