Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. – James 1:17 (English Standard Version)
God is constant and unwavering. If we don’t understand that, we often bring our experiences from human relationships to our relationship with him. We try to change him. We make inaccurate assumptions about him. We accuse him. We blame him.
And then we expect intimacy with him. We want him to comfort and coddle us; bless and favor us; counsel and confide in us. When he does, we exploit what he gives, or twist the words and meaning of what he confided. No wonder, when we mishandle the priceless things he entrusts us with, he stops sharing them. He still is nearby, but the intimacy of the relationship is compromised.
What happens over time, for those who mistreat him this way, but still want to be close to him? We have no choice but to be the ones who must change. Thankfully, with God, change is possible. Where we were captive, we become free. Where we used to be weak, we become strong. Where we were confused, we become certain. Where we were manipulatable and timid, we become secure and confident.
Those are but a few of the inevitable outcomes of a right relationship with God. We don’t change him — he is constant and unwavering — it’s we who must change. As he makes us more like him over time, we become constant and unwavering too. That constancy impacts our values, interests, purposes on earth, and relationships with people.
As we gain secureness and strength, the dynamics of any unhealthy relationships are disrupted. Some people don’t like how we’ve changed. They had come to expect our weaknesses, and habitually capitalized on them. Relationships might dissolve as a result. If it were up to God, we wouldn’t have been in relationship with some people in the first place.
What can friends or family do if they simply don’t want to lose you? As long as constancy prevails in us, over time the only option to resolve the friction is for them change, too. Their changes toward God-likeness can salvage the relationship. Thankfully, what happened in us can happen to them too. Some will initiate change solely to retain the relationship, even if they wouldn’t have otherwise. All of that change was compelled not by confrontation or demands, but by constancy in God.
God does the same thing with us. While he remains constant, we are compelled to clean up our hearts and alter our thinking to conform to his heart and mind. If we will do that, intimacy with God grows. He lets us near his heart. He shares what’s on his mind. Beyond that, he is intimately involved in listening to our hurts, interests, and thoughts. That intimate, healthy relationship is the foundation upon which the remainder of our lives are built. No small thing, indeed.