Posted by: glorifyhim1 | December 31, 2012

A Relationship that Matters

This year for Christmas I received a brand new Bible. While I miss the well-worn pages of my old Bible and all the underlined passages and scribbled notes, I admit that I still love breaking in a new Bible. I love to touch the soft, smooth cover that is still all intact. I enjoy turning the pages and smelling that fresh, new book smell. And I especially like not having to pull out some of the pages in the back of the Bible from where they’re all coiled up in the broken spine. I guess you could say that I really needed this new Bible. But as I thumbed through my old Bible, I happened upon the following quote by Oswald Chambers that I had scrawled on one of the front pages. “There is only one relationship that matters and that is your personal relationship to a personal Redeemer and Lord. Let everything else go, but maintain that at all costs, and God will fulfill His purpose through your life.”

A simple statement, but oh so profound! I cannot remember when I actually copied this quote into my Bible, but I do know that it’s message still resonates within my heart. My relationship with Christ truly matters. Nothing in this world is more important to me than knowing and walking with my Savior and Lord. Yet I also know that my relationship with Christ has had its ups and downs. Why? Because I haven’t always maintained my relationship with Him – as Chambers declared – “at all costs.”

Like any relationship, the one I have with Christ can require a lot of hard work. Good relationships do not just happen. I think about the relationship I have with my husband. When I first met my husband I wanted to learn everything about him. I wanted to spend time with him and do things together. Those first things I learned, however, were just the tip of the iceberg of all the things that I would come to know as we lived and worked together as husband and wife. I discovered that sometimes we had different opinions and that we didn’t always agree. But as we learned more and more about each other, worked through our differences, and shared both the joys and struggles that we faced, our relationship grew stronger and deeper.

Now as I look back over the thirty-something years that I have known Christ as my Savior, I realize that the same is true in my relationship with Him. I loved Christ then, but that was just the beginning. We’ve been through a lot together. I’ve cried to Him, argued with Him, pleaded with Him, and poured out my heart to Him. I’ve also rejoiced with Him, thanked Him, and basked in His mercy and grace. And through it all, as I’ve turned to Him in good times and bad, I’ve come to know Him so much more. Our relationship has grown stronger and deeper.

Jesus spoke of His relationship to the Father and our relationship to Him in John 15. In verses 9-10, we read: “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” I think this Scripture holds the key to our relationship with Christ – abiding in His love.

Abiding in His love does not mean –

  • Going to church, studying my Bible, and similar things out of habit or obligation
  • Obeying God and keeping His commandments just because I’m supposed to
  • Serving others and telling others about Jesus just because I’m expected to

Abiding in His love does mean –

  • Hungering to know God, learn from Him, and grow in Him
  • Longing to do those things that please Him and obeying His commandments out of love and gratitude for what He has done for me
  • Desiring that others come to know the God I know and eagerly telling others about Him

If I approach my marriage out of duty or obligation and just do things because I’m supposed to or expected to, I think it’s safe to say that it will likely not survive when we face trials and hard times. In short, we wouldn’t have a relationship, but an arrangement that works when things go the way we want them to.

It’s the same thing with Christ. Life is not always easy and just because we say we’re Christians doesn’t mean that we’re immune to trials, problems, injustices, and all the things that come from living in a fallen world. But when we have a true, “honest-to-God” relationship with our Lord and Savior, when we love Him and abide in Him, we’re never going to go through those things alone. Why? Because we have a relationship with Him. I know I can trust Him for whatever I face today because He was there with me yesterday and the day before.

I carefully opened my new Bible and wrote the quotation from Oswald Chambers on one of the front pages. I am so thankful for the relationship I have with my Savior. Yet I know that I have to maintain it. It doesn’t just happen.  It requires faith and trust. It demands obedience and surrender. And sometimes it can be hard, but it is well worth the effort. As I abide in Christ and in His love and as I walk with Him daily, I can learn the joy of true relationship with my Savior and Lord. I pray that as we enter this new year that I will do just that and that I will seek to maintain my relationship with Him whatever it takes. Will you join me in this prayer?

“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

(Ephesians 3:14-19)

 

 

 

 

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