"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. John 1:12-13
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. Romans 5:8. How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! 1 John 3:1
As it turns out, Jesus displays the dictionary definition for establishing a relationship with us! 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, that is to be still and know that he is God.
Being still is not easy; in fact it is more difficult than ever before. We have become technology gluttons, bombarded with a cacophony of smart phones, computers, tablets, i-pads, radio and TV. 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 these noisy distractions, they don't have to think about or evaluate their decisions in life, their relationships with others, or their relationship with the Creator (or lack thereof).
For others, staying plugged-in is a habit; they can't think, work, or play without background sounds. Many even need this stimuli to lull themselves to sleep.
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?" When there's a steady stream of noise in our lives and we're always "plugged-in," 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 if he wants to get your attention he will get through. However, by allowing stillness in our lives---to think about God, and permitting 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.
Copyright 2012 Sarah A. Keith
Teach this to kids, get our Children's Sermon Be Still.
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