Does God exist? Romans 1:18-32 tells us that “what may be known about God is plain…..so that they are without excuse” The question I found myself asking many times in the past was “what is God like?” “How do I get to know Him better?” “ Do I want to know Him better?” I am certain my friend Sal has had the same questions. So I asked him, “have you always been a Christian?”
I was not surprised to learn that like me he had been raised Roman Catholic. He explained that while in college, he met and dated his future wife. She attended an evangelical church. She asked him to come to her church one evening to listen to her sing. “Well” he responded, “I’ve already attended Mass” and she said firmly, “This is not an obligation but an invitation. It would make me happy if you came to hear me sing”. “So to please her” he said,”I went to her church, heard her sing, met her friends and after that experience I never went back to the Catholic Church.
His life changing event mirrored my own. My wife and I made friends at a CMA Church play group our children attended. We soon realized that these people had a relationship with God that was not born of a sense of obligation but in response to an invitation.
Jesus said “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Matt 11:28
Sal and I wrestled with the idea of God, not so much about His existence, rather it was about relating to Him. Our view of God and how to approach Him was distorted. We had a bad relationship with God. ¹
This may be difficult for some people to accept but a true relationship with God does not come by obligation, the works of man, ritual or tradition but by the cross of Christ. Col 1:20
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6
According to Jesus a right relationship with God is vital ;
“On Judgement Day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you….’ Matt 7:22-23
Even those who have done so much good have placed the foundation of their faith on works, obligation, ritual and tradition rather than the intimate relationship that God has designed for us to desire.
Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. Psalm 73:25
We tend to design our relational approach or non- approach to God according to our view of God. These distortions range from passive indifference to fanatical terrorism. Skye Jethani writes
“a great many people have settled for a darker existence… in which they relate to God in a way that leaves them discontent”.²
He explains that most people mistakenly relate to God from four postures of religious life, spending their lives trying to live “over, under, from, or for God” never having been given a more beautiful vision of a “life with God” pg13 –“With” ³
How about you? Do you have a vision of living life with God? Can you relate?
¹Notes from lecture “The Psychology of Disbelief” Dr.John Coe ACC2014
² Skye Jethani, “With” pg3
³ Skye Jethani, “With” pg 13
2 thoughts on “Can You Relate?”
“We tend to design our relational approach or non- approach to God according to our view of God.” Could you replace the word “view” with experience? Do these go hand in hand? Someone could have the correct view of God but not experience Him in relationship. On the flip side, someone could experience God but not have any kind of understanding of who He is. Relationship is built on the faith
that someone is interested in you, has your interest at heart. But how does this faith grow? You have to take that person at their word and then see/experience their response. Even if it’s not what you expected. For example if you were introduced to someone who you believed to be a cold fish, yet when you stretched out your hand, perhaps out of social obligation, to shake their hand and received a warm hand shake and smile from them, your relational approach to them would be radically different.
I love how you’re new perception of God was through a group of church families! Thats the sort of community that invites the holy spirit and inspires true faith. Great job!