About a year ago, after the death of our beloved family dog, I decided to allow my boys to have another pet. This time, however, it would be a different kind of animal. After some careful research, we finally decided on a bird that seemed to fit with most, if not all, of our preferences--our first cockatiel! It took some time before we could really get to know our new bird... and vice versa. We taught him new songs to sing and how to say his name (Chaco). We would take him out of his cage and let him explore his surroundings. Although he would often perch himself on our hand or shoulder, once his wings grew longer, Chaco began to fly around the room in circles. If we weren't careful about keeping the door closed, he would fly out of the room and all throughout the house, making it almost impossible for us to catch him!
After a few months, however, I noticed a change in Chaco's behavior. A bond had been established over time that caused our sweet bird to want to interact with and stay near his owners. The moment we entered the room, he began to say his name and sing his newly learned songs. And even if he flew around the room a few times, he began to quickly return right back to our hand or shoulder. We no longer had to be so worried about him flying away, because he willingly chose to stay close to us.
Dear reader, that is exactly the kind of bond that God desires to have with you! He wants you to look forward to spending time with Him just as much He enjoys being with you! He beckons His people to pray about everything (Philippians 4:6) and promises to draw near to you as you draw near to Him (James 4:8).
Because He is a loving God, our Heavenly Father has given you a free will. You have the freedom to choose how to live your life. You have freedom to make decisions, both big and small. You have the ability to leave Him and what you've learned from His Word to go in the complete opposite direction the moment an opportunity presents itself. In fact, that is what most of us do or have done at some point in time. But what happens afterwards is what truly matters. Do you continue to distance yourself further from God, or do you make it a point to quickly return to Him?
Consider the following scripture verses:
"The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth."
"Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water."
"But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works."
"Therefore say to them, 'Thus says the Lord of hosts, "Return to me," declares the Lord of hosts, "that I may return to you," says the Lord.
One thing is certain...the closer you stay to God, the more you will want to stay close to Him. All the freedom in the world doesn't compare to the freedom that He offers!