Silhouettes of raised hands in Hillsong Church with believers in close proximity.

The Power of Proximity: What an Ed Sheeran Concert Taught Me About Faith

Picture this: your favourite singer has arrived and their concert is the only thing people are talking about. You’ve been waiting for this moment for what seems like forever. To see their face in person and in close proximity. This is literally what dreams are made of.

Of course you have just paid over $300 for a ticket to their concert. Front row seats, duh. None of that ‘up the back’ business. You need to be in their presence. Soaking it all up. Breathing it all in. This is the real deal.

A couple of weeks ago, Ed Sheeran was in town. I had seen him live in concert before, so I didn’t really look into going, but when my friends approached me offering a ticket, there was no way I was going to turn it down. I mean, it’s Ed flipping Sheeran, hello. Sorry, I’m just thinking out loud here 😉 (if you got that, I appreciate you).

Once we arrived and found our seats, we waited for the man himself to come on stage. We were seated a fair way away and I remember looking down at the mosh pit thinking, if I paid $165 for a seat here, I don’t even want to know how much those guys paid.

It probably would have been more than double the cost of my ticket. Crazy hey. It made me realise that there are two types of concert-goers. So let me introduce them to you.

1. nigel nosebleed

You know the type. You’ve probably been the type. Nigel Nosebleeds are the ones who are comfortable with paying the cheapest amount possible to sit in the nosebleed section. Or perhaps they left it til last minute and they scored the only tickets left. But you know what, a concert is just a concert and as long as they are there, they’re happy.

2. francis front seat

Again, you have probably been this type too. And let’s be honest, if you are an avid party- or concert-goer, then it is likely you have only ever experienced this. These are the people who have spent a fortune. They have probably pitched a tent outside the night before to ensure they are the first ones in when the doors open. Their enthusiasm in the mosh pit is next level and they intentionally position themselves to be in close proximity.

Concert tickets can be a lot of money. I mean, seriously, I could buy a small fridge for my room with the amount of money it costs to be in a mosh pit. Let’s be real, I could probably fill the fridge too.

All this effort, just to be up close and personal with someone. To experience it from a different perspective. To intentionally position themselves to be near this person they desire so much. To be in close proximity.

So how come it’s so different when it comes to God? Think about it. Where are you positioning yourself? Would you say you are an enthusiastic Francis or a comfortably satisfied Nigel?

Are you intentionally choosing to place yourself at the feet of Jesus, or are you okay in the nosebleed section? Sometimes we feel comfortable with paying the smallest price for the general admission ticket, because hey, we’ve made it to the concert and that’s still pretty good, right?

It doesn’t sound that bad when we use concerts and celebrities as an example. But it leaves a different kind of taste in your mouth when we start comparing it to our faith, doesn’t it? When we start likening this power of proximity to our relationship with God.

I attended a youth camp last month and the speaker’s message was all about this topic. Here are three of my favourite points from the weekend:

  1. There is someone who is positioning themselves close and clinging to you, because they see something special and something different in you.
  2. This specific generation has been called at this specific time to be the difference in this conversation. God has positioned you to make a move, so why aren’t we moving?
  3. Be willing and open to getting close. There is power in proximity and allowing yourself to be intentional about where you go, who you speak to and what you do.

Boom. There is power in proximity – and not just in our relationship with God, but with our relationships with other people, too.

Perhaps we need to start being more meaningful in our behaviour. We need to make deliberate efforts to draw nearer to Him. Let’s make a conscious attempt to position ourselves in environments where others don’t know Him yet. We need to be a reflection of Jesus, so we can walk with purpose and show others theirs.

So here’s the hard stuff. Stop allowing yourself to fold. Stop feeding off the constant lies that society convinces you that you are hungry for. That you are inadequate, not enough, too broken, too messy and too much to handle. That you need to be a certain way in order for God to want you.

Hold up. I’m going to tell you straight out that He wants to be made manifest in your brokenness. He would rather have you messy, than not at all. Because at the end of the day, you can surround yourself with many opinions but there is only one that truly matters. I heard someone once say that God says, “stop resisting me”, rather than “stop living like that”.

So what is your body language saying? Are you leaning in or are you complacent with where you are? Of course, He is just happy that you have shown up, that you are interested and you have made it. But are you comfortable with sitting in the nosebleed section or are you intentionally seeking ways to position yourself closer to him? Are you in this halfheartedly?

Because sorry to break it to you, but He isn’t a ‘sitting on the fence’ kind of God. When He says He wants you – He wants it all. Every single piece of your heart. He wants you to want to be in the front row seats. None of that ‘up the back’ business. After all, your relationship with God is the real deal, remember?

Keep smiling. x

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