Relationship or Results
Many dump a diet if they’re not dropping weight. They abandon an exercise plan not meeting expectations. We want to see results.
Yet, making results our only focus can have consequences. A young person may pursue a career based on salary rather than satisfaction. Later on, however, they may look back with regret for not pursuing their passion. Chasing results can lead to missing the bigger picture.
The same is true when it comes to spiritual matters. It is easy to focus on the end result. Sadly, this can lead to completely missing a relationship with God along the way.
Some of our Mormon friends have described this. They grow up in a culture that emphasizes outward performance. Women are well-dressed and project that they have everything put together. Men are expected to be successful in their jobs. It can, at times, be very difficult to live up to the expectations.
But you have to — if you don’t it can lead to spiritual confusion.
This is because Mormons are taught that God’s blessings are dependent on our obedience. One of their scriptures teaches: “There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundation of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated – And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to the law upon which it is predicated” (D&C 130:20-21).
If things are going well, I may pat myself on the back. I see these blessings as evidence that God is pleased with me. If things are not going well, I begin to question what I did wrong. Now I’m concerned about where I stand with God.
This can lead Mormons to race after results to prove God’s pleasure.
A missionary who comes home early due to anxiety may return to disappointment. A girl with an unplanned pregnancy can face a spiritual crisis. Some feel they’ve fallen too far for grace’s reach. They may turn to drugs and suicide in despair.
At the moment they need God’s love more than ever, he seems most distant.
Praise God that our relationship with him isn’t based on our performance! We don’t have to wonder where we stand with God. We are clothed with Jesus’ perfect record right now so we never have to doubt his love.
This is why Paul prayed that we might have the power “to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge” (Ephesians 3:18-19). God’s limitless love can’t be programmed. Nor can it be earned by obedience. It is only fully experienced in a relationship which trusts in him for the results.
This relationship completely transforms our view of hardship. Instead of God seeming distant, he is near. Instead of looking over our shoulder as judge, he stands ready to help. Instead of expecting us to carry our burdens, he lifts them from us.