We're not talking to a rule-obsessed, boring, uptight God. Growing up, I based my understanding of God solely on Christians who were much like the Pharisees in this story. Unfortunately, there are followers of Jesus who aren't much like him, including myself from time to time. Sadly, we Christians seem to grumble and mumble a lot. Often, we are uptight and just plain weird.
While that might be true of some followers of Jesus and religious people in general, it's not true of God. He's just the opposite. He's full of life. There's joy in his presence. He's quick to celebrate. And God has a great sense of humor!
When we pray, we're talking with a Father who gives his deadbeat kid a ring, the best robe and bagpipes when he comes home.
This is the God we're in a relationship with. This is the God we're coming near to. This is the God we're talking with.
When we talk with God, we're talking with a God who loves to throw parties.
Knowing this changes prayer. At least it does for me. I don't need to be uptight and serious when I pray. Yes, it's good to have a healthy reverence of and respect for God. But you don't have to be emotionless or somber. There's no need to practice our prayers before speaking them. God is abundantly loving and gracious. It isn't a sin to smile or laugh when we're speaking with God. For God's sake, we should express joy and laughter and have fun. These emotions come from God. He's the one who created us with the ability to laugh.
I can talk with God about something rad that happened in my day. I can laugh with him about something hilarious that took place. Even more so, I speak with him when I've screwed up. When I've blown it in life.
Whenever I decide to come home. Whenever you decide to come home. This is the God we come home to: a party-throwing God. Have I mentioned he's wild about us?
The more time I spend with God, the more time I spend reading the Bible and talking with him, the more I see his heart and who he truly is. When we pray, a party-throwing God is the God we're talking with.
Just to be clear, it's deeper, though. It's one thing to throw a party when a person deserves it or has a special occasion. And it's another thing to throw a party when you'd be justified in throwing rocks or insults at someone. The truly good news about God is this: No matter how far we are away from home, no matter how long we've been away from God's side—days, months, years, a lifetime, even if we've walked away from him, if we've been out looking for life on our own, if we haven't talked with God in years, or ever—we can still come home any time. We can still speak with him.
Excerpted from Talking With God by Adam Weber. Copyright © 2017 by Adam Weber. Excerpted by permission of WaterBrook, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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