It is the desire of God’s heart to be in a relationship with each and every one of us. God calls our hearts to hear His voice in so many different ways. He waits for us hoping that we will take His hand and allow Him to transform our lives as He transforms our hearts. In this two part series let’s reflect on what it means to be in a relationship with Jesus.
Let’s begin our journey today by reflecting on God’s call to holiness:
God says, “I am the LORD your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.” Leviticus 11:44
Holiness is not just an attribute of God, it is the summation of all that He is. God is holy, infinitely perfect.
We can only become holy by surrendering to God’s love, dedicating our lives to Him and aligning our free will to the Holy Will of God. We don’t do this on our own, we do this in partnership with God; through God’s power and grace we can become ‘holy’.
The beginning of the divine relationship is marked by faith and by two important characteristics revealed in the following Scripture from the Book of Isaiah.
“For this is what the high and exalted One says– he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.” Isaiah 57:15
The two important elements that mark the beginning of a relationship with God are: HUMILITY AND CONTRITION.
“My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.” Psalm 51:17
To enter into a relationship with Jesus we must be ready to repent of our sins and acknowledge our infinite need for the grace of God to succeed.
The man who feels self-sufficient has no need for God. Self-sufficiency born out of ignorance or arrogance precludes the type of disposition God is looking for. God wants us to believe in Him, to bow down our heads and acknowledge our wrong doings. He wants us to humble ourselves acknowledging our nothingness, our unworthiness and our profound need for His love, mercy and grace.
With penitent hearts and a humble spirit let us approach God’s Son Jesus Christ, Our Redeemer, for forgiveness.
“Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” Proverbs 28:13
Jesus embraces all who are sorry for their sins and are desirous of entering into a life-changing relationship with Him.
Jesus says, “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.” Revelation 3:19
God is always working on improving and changing us and He uses our conscience to open us up to see our faults and shortcomings.
Offering Jesus our humble and contrite hearts is a first step in beginning on a new path with God.
Trust is the next ingredient Jesus so desires.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” Proverbs 3:5-6
Faith, humility, contrition and trust are critical ingredients in the formation of our relationship with Jesus and in fact they are important foundational elements in our relationships with one another too.
No one likes a ‘know it all’ person, because no person can ‘know it all’ but in our relationship with God we must always remember that JESUS DOES KNOW IT ALL!
We can trust in the love and power of God’s Only Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus knows what is best for us. He knows what we need before we ask Him. He knows how to turn an ‘ugly duckling’ into a ‘beautiful swan’. The question is do we want a spiritual makeover?
Jesus gives us some specific instructions. These instructions define our relationship with Him.
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” Matthew 16: 24-26
In a world that preaches self-indulgence the instructions to ‘deny oneself’ may invoke a picture of a thirsty person sitting in the middle of a desert dying.
But here’s what I learned. When I turned 40 years of age I found myself in a deep personal crisis. I wasn’t sure I wanted to be married anymore and in fact I wasn’t sure I even wanted to live. I remember I was reflecting on both suicide and divorce, neither option was pleasing to God. It was during this crisis that I felt God speak to my soul.
God asked me a question.
The voice in my heart said, “What is love?”
I thought I knew what love was so I answered “Love is a feeling” and to this I heard a gentle voice within me say “wrong”.
So I asked God “What is it then?” and
God said, “Love is a choice.”
Through the power of the Holy Spirit I realized that the options I was considering were not ‘choices called love’. In fact I realized that love is born when we make choices that please God. I realized I had a lot of thinking to do.
I took God’s hand that day and I never let go! It was the beginning of a new relationship with Jesus that would change my heart and my life. I realized Jesus loved me so much and that He would help me get on the right path. I had been on the ‘make money path’. I had achieved the six-figure salary I wanted. My boss said I had potential to become a Vice President and still I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t happy because I wasn’t in a relationship with Jesus!
Ultimately I decided to leave the business world and take some time to recharge my life. God detached me from money, power and the career I was building and I began to study God’s Word in a quiet ‘exile’. After a few years of doing this in the silence of a new life I realized that I was healing and finding a peace I had never before known. I gave up my life and learned the meaning of Jesus’ Words “whoever loses their life for me will find it.” Matthew 16:25
Jesus calls us to deny ourselves so He can have some room to work. If our lives are full of ‘pleasure pursuits’ how can God intervene to guide us and transform us.
Jesus loves us much more than we can imagine and we should reflect on the depth of His love for us as we look upon Him on the Cross dying for our salvation.
I encourage you to do this one small thing for God. Stop every day at the Time Jesus died for us, 3pm (in your local time zone) to remember Jesus dying on the Cross for you! Look into His eyes and tell Him you love Him. Confess your sins and surrender your life to God’s omnipotent, unconditional love for you and pray for all souls that all may come to know and love their Saviour Jesus Christ. And if you can’t do this at 3pm locally, pick another time zone and know that so many Christians, all over the world, will be united with you in prayer and contemplation of the Passion of Christ.
This concludes part one of “In a Relationship with Jesus”. Join in next week for part two as we reflect on the virtues of Jesus Christ and reflect on how well are we imitating Him and following Him.