Posted by: mikenicholsblog | June 9, 2010

as close as we choose

One of the statements I can honestly say I hate to hear is, “he or she is very religious”. That declaration can have all kinds of meanings, all very dependent on the essence of a person’s faith. A person can be religious … and lost. Some religious individuals think that good works are what matter. Some have a corporate religion that they hope will get them into heaven. But the Bible is clear. Jesus answered,I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Some may call it narrow or intolerant to say there is only one way. But our Bible, and Christ’s words are quite plain and crystal clear. Faith in Christ is what gives true salvation. And the way it exists and is lived out, is in relationship, not religion. When someone by faith accepts Christ as their personal Savior, they are changed internally and eternally. Scripture tells us that  “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone and the new has come”! (2 Corinthians 5:17) You probably affirm these same principles, but I must ask you, how is the relationship?

Most meaningful relationships will have times of warmth and seasons of emotional distance. Think about the relationship that you have with God through Christ. Are you in a season of closeness or a period of “not so close”?  Dr. Oswald Sanders gives all believers in Christ a great framework of how to view our most meaningful relationship. He stated  that “each of us is as close to God as we choose to be”. Now that’s food for reflection and growth.

For a moment please evaluate with me the closeness of your relationship to the Father. Some may be at a great spiritual place, while others are feeling a bit distant. The key in this assessment is an honest heart. I am a firm believer that when we are living at a distance, the Holy Spirit will make us aware and draw us back with love, to a more intimate relationship with the Father.

Our authority, the Word of God, gives us the path to more intimacy. James 4:8 says, “Come near to God and he will come near to you …”. If you have the relationship, but are feeling even the least bit distant, just choose to move towards God. When I was young, I heard these words: what we give God, God takes, what God takes, God cleanses, what God cleanses, God uses. You may not feel like moving towards the Father, but step out anyway. The joy of your relationship can be fresh again.

I accept that we have religion, but what we really have in Christ is a relationship. It is designed by the Father to be the closest, most meaningful relationship of your life. But He lets us “choose just how close we want to be”. Draw closer and leave the results to Him.

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