Relationships don’t just happen
When you become a Christian it is the start of a relationship with the living God, who speaks stars into existence; the one who knows every fibre of your being, who loves you with a love impossible to change or destroy. It is the start of the most incredible journey you could ever make.
Relationships don’t just happen; they all require time and commitment. Our relationship with God is no different. He wants us to live life to the fullest, not to mess around wasting it until it’s time to go to heaven. We are to use every moment to get to know him and live our lives in a way that shows we believe what we say we believe!
A few years ago I read a book by John Piper called Don’t waste your life, which really challenged me about what I was doing with the life God has given me. We only get one shot at life!
The problem is we all want the reward without paying the price. We want a fit body, but we’re not prepared to put in the effort to become fit.
Imagine you were to join a gym and tell your pals you want to get fit. You buy all the right gear, put it in your diary for three mornings a week, pay a joining fee, but then never go! Good intentions aren’t worth anything if not followed through with action!
Christianity is about commitment to a person, Jesus. You don’t start out on the journey knowing all there is to know. You don’t suddenly become a perfect person; you become a redeemed person.
Something happens in heaven: God clears your debt because he paid it by dying on the cross. Something happens on earth: God’s Spirit comes into your heart and breathes life into your soul and you are changed for ever!
It is the start of getting to know the Creator God. ‘Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent’ (John 17:3).
A boat set loose on the sea to drift faces many risks. Sure, it is free to go wherever it wants, but it is directionless and at the mercy of weather and tide. It stands a much better chance if there is someone on board who knows where to go and a compass to find the way there.
We might think of freedom as being ‘free to act or move without restriction’. But real freedom is discovering and living by the truth. God doesn’t want us to just drift around aimlessly. He wants us to follow him: ‘Come, follow me’, Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men’ (Matthew 4:19).
So how do you begin this journey? How do you live in relationship with God? The same way you start any relationship — you spend time together and talk — both of you. God mainly speaks to us through the Bible, and that is the best place to start.
If you have used a social networking site, you will know all about setting up your profile — a summary of who and where you are. If people want to know more, they have to become your friend, and then the real two-way communication can begin.
Think of the Bible as God’s introductory profile. The Bible can remain a stale, dull book if we don’t communicate with the author. If you want to begin communication, then you will have to become his friend.
We don’t read the Bible to fill our heads with facts; we read it to discover his heart, ‘I will bring him near and he will come close to me, for who is he who will devote himself to be close to me?’ (Jeremiah 30:21).
It is not just about facts; it is about coming to know Jesus Christ, and then knowing him even better.
One thing to remember, though, is to come to the Bible with an open mind, to avoid trying to make it fit your own ideas about God. We need to come prepared to have our ideas blown out of the water by truth, because ‘the truth shall set you free’ (John 8:32).