Escaping God by doing things for God (Friday Soulfest)

Is it possible that the things you do for God are creating barriers between you and God? 

In this edition of Friday Soulfest (about Friday Soulfest, see note below), I want to make connections between Luminous and Alan Fadling’s excellent book An Unhurried Life. In Luminous, I talk about how easy it is to go through the motions for God without having any real deep relational connection with him. I call this living for Jesus. A lot of people do this, from the uncommitted churchgoer to the faithful volunteer to the vocational minister. It’s not about activity level. It’s about lack of having a prayerful life, which I call living with Jesus.

Fadling talks about his drivenness to escape God by working for God.
I know from my own wrestling with workaholism and from my work with others who seek to recover from this addictive dynamic that – and this is a painful realization – we have pursued work for God in order to escape the face of God. We have often felt justified in our out-of-balance life because we were doing the work of God. (p. 127)
Human beings are escape artists, as author Danielle Shroyer puts it. Fadling nails the problem by pointing out how one of our favorite ways to escape from God is by working for God.

In Luminous, I make these comments about the dead end street that is living for Jesus:
There is a vast difference between living for Jesus by knowing and doing religious things, and living with Jesus by walking each day in his presence. Living for Jesus might start out looking great, but it eventually leads to a lifeless existence of going through the Christian motions. We can go to church, be nice, read the Bible, pray, give money, and create a safe home – and over time grow tired and passionless. For practicing Christians, this is an alarmingly common trap. (p. 13-14)
In future posts, I will be offering numerous solutions. For now, I’ll close by recommending some honesty this weekend. Set aside some time with God and ask him if he would like to show you ways in which you have been escaping him by doing things you think he might like. Write down what you come up with and take some small steps to live more prayerfully.


About Friday Soulfest… How better to head into a weekend than a soulfest? That’s a festival for your soul, and it means connecting with God in deeply happy-making ways. Throughout 2014, I will be posting excerpts and prayer exercises from my book Luminous: Living the Presence and Power of Jesus. With these posts, I hope to give you springboards for communing with Jesus. He’s the one who puts the fest in our souls!


  1. Your bio now should state that you're now a grandfather and your responsibility has increased by one.

  2. Soulfest Friday hits the mark again. After reading and digesting the difference between “Living with Jesus” and “Living for Jesus” on pages 13 - 14 in Luminous, I have found myself being nice, reading the bible, praying, giving money and supporting the TM&G families. I do busy myself with work. “The more hectic life gets, the more I want to gobble up information for solving my most urgent problems and hunker down with my to-do list.” (Luminous, p14)

  3. Profile has been amended. :-) And thank you for your comments on Luminous!


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