No Strings Attached?
I recently went to see the romantic comedy called No Strings Attached. Emma (Natalie Portman) and Adam (Ashton Kutcher) are life-long friends who one day decide to sleep with each other. But in order to protect their friendship, they make a pact to keep things strictly “no strings attached.” By “no strings” they meant no commitment, no vulnerability, no becoming emotionally involved. It meant they could reap the benefits of an intimate relationship while still doing whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted.
I wonder if sometimes we approach our relationship God with a similar “No Strings Attached” clause. We want all the benefits a life with God has to offer, but we don’t want to have to put in the work that is required of a deeply intimate and personal relationship.
For years, I called myself a Christian, reaping the benefits of forgiveness, salvation and having Someone to turn to whenever I was in desperate need of something. But rarely did I open my Bible to spend time getting to know God. Rarely did I interrupt my daily activities to pray. Rarely did I ask God how He was doing or what it was that He wanted. I was on a quest to get what I wanted and on my terms. I was a Christian dragging God along side my life just in case I needed Him along the way.
Finally I realized there was so much more to having a relationship with God. His gift of grace is free and awesome, but getting to know Him on a deeper level takes time. Energy. Effort. Investment. Sacrifice even. Jesus says the primary way we can get to know Him and show our love for Him is to do what He says:
“Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” -John 14:21
Keeping his commands is what He asks of us. Keeping His commands is ‘attaching the strings’. It requires obeying when we don’t understand. It requires connecting with Him through His Spirit and His Word when we don’t feel like it. It requires we persevere in believing in the unseen even when what we see is hopeless. It requires confessing our wrongs and forgiving those who have wronged us even when we are hurt. It requires letting God into our life so intimately and so deeply that we can’t help but be molded and made to His image.
“No Strings Attached” doesn’t exist with God.
But guess what? The benefits far outweigh a few cheap thrills and some temporary moments of bliss. Jesus says that when we obey His commands, when we put in the effort to know Him, when we ‘attach our strings to Him,’ then He WILL love us and show Himself to us. What an awesome promise!
We can be like the couple in the movie choosing to live with “No Strings Attached,” letting our fears, doubts and selfish needs keep us from a total relationship investment. Or we can we can dive in fully, deeply, totally, and completely with God, trusting that the benefits of an intimate relationship with Him are sooooooo much more than we could ever ask for or imagine.
Which will you choose?