Christians don’t have a religion; they have a relationship.
Have you heard that quip? What exactly does it mean?
God came to earth in the form of a man to communicate with us, to bind us together, to understand our weaknesses, to participate in our suffering, and to be tempted to sin,
yet he did not sin. We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin. Hebrews 4:15
Relationship can be defined in the following ways:
1. The state of being related or interrelated.
I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. John 15:15
2. Connecting or binding participants in a kinship
To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God--children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.
3. A state of passionate attachment
I have loved you with an everlasting love. . . Jeremiah 31:3
God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!
1 John 3:1
Jesus fulfills the textbook definition for establishing a relationship. We can love him, because he first loved us (1 John 4:19). But do God’s children have any responsibility in maintaining this relationship? The answer is a resounding yes . . . sort of. Jesus’ action calls for our inaction:
be still and know that I am God.
Being still is not easy; it is more difficult than ever before. We have become technology gluttons, bombarded with a cacophony of smart phones,
computers, tablets, i-pads, i-pods, TV, and radio. From sun up to sundown, the sights and sounds never stop. As we move through our day, we must take some time to unplug—literally—from the world!
Some people stay plugged-in to run from reality. As
long as their minds are filled with outside “data,” they don’t
have to think about or evaluate their decisions in life, their
relationships with others, or their relationship with the Creator (or
For others, staying plugged-in is a habit; they can’t think, work, or
play without background sounds, even needing this stimuli to lull themselves to
On a recent bicycle ride, I came up behind a speed walker wearing
earplugs. The pathway was narrow. To let her know I was coming I called
out, “Good morning!” No reply. I called out again, a bit louder,
“Good morning!” No reply. “Hello, behind you!” I called out
again as my bike inched closer. Again, no reply. Slowing down to safely
maneuver around her, I tried again, “Hello, good morning.” She never
looked up or acknowledged I was there.
I imagine that God calls out to us above the clamor saying, “Hello,
can you hear me now?” If there is a constant stream of noise in our lives and
we’re always “plugged-in,” then we are allowing the world to mold our minds and
determine our thoughts, which makes cultivating a deeper relationship
with God more difficult. The Holy Spirit can certainly penetrate the
constant din—and one way or another he will get through. However, by
allowing stillness in our lives—to think about God, and permit our
souls to marinate on his Word as we work and play, God will speak to us
in new ways; and we will hear him—maybe for the first time!
Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is
right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if
anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. . . .And
the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9.
Dear God, thank you for establishing a relationship with me. I want
you to mold me and make me after your will. Help me to unplug from the
noise and distractions in my life so that I can hear you, obey you,
and use my talents to serve you more effectively. Amen.