God Pursues Relationships With You
Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.(John 14:21)
God has created you for intimate fellowship with Him. A life spent walking closely with the Lord is both exciting and rewarding. God does not want you to miss out on what He has intended for you from eternity. Sin causes us to follow our own selfish desires, but in doing so we reject God’s best for our lives. So God takes the initiative to draw us closer to Himself.
This love relationship, however is not one-sided. As you accept His love and forgiveness, He wants you to know and worship Him. Most of all, He wants you to love Him. Your love for God and your obedience to His commands go hand in hand. Jesus declared, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”(John 14:15) When you obey Jesus, you demonstrate that you trust Him. Obedience is the outward expression of your love for God. If you have an obedience problem, you have a love problem. Focus your attention on God’s love. Could you stand before God and describe your relationship with Him by saying, “I love You with all my heart and all my soul and all my mind and all my strength”? Jesus said He would take those who respond to His love into an ever deepening experience of love and fellowship with Him.
The daily presence of God should be the most practical aspect of a believer’s life. His plan for the advance of His kingdom on earth includes working in real and tangible ways through relationships with His people. God can make a dramatic difference in your relationships, your home, your church, and your workplace. His involvement in your life should be visible and evident to you and those around you, like it was in the lives of countess others revealed in the Scriptures.
Henry and Richard Blackaby
The two questions that I hear frequently are these: How can I ever live for God since I seem incapable of keeping His commandments? And, How can I influence my family and friends to come to know Christ?
Far too long we have asked another question. It’s literally the same question asked by humans since the beginning. Adam and Eve saw the issue as whether or not to eat of the tree. Yet we find God, after their disobedience finding them and offering redemption to them after the sin. We see the Israelites rejecting the presence and lordship of God in the wilderness and yet we see God still keeping His promise.
In the New Testament, we find Jesus still pursuing the traitor, Judas, right up to the end and the denier, Peter all the way through reconciliation by the seashore. Though all of these in some way abandoned their fellowship with God, the power, promise and commitment of His love never changed.
What does God want from us? The simple answer is our hearts. If we enter a love relationship with Him, the rule keeping is the outcome and not the input. We obey God because we love and trust Him. If we know someone loves us, their request ought to be a command for us. In other words we respond because we love. We seek to fill that other being with expressions and action of love. Jesus was clear, we keep His commandments because we love Him, nothing more and nothing less. Often people attempt to approach God from a position of keeping the law. Many who have never committed their lives to Christ use the objection that because of their sins, they are not qualified to do so. I’ve heard them say that as soon as they get their lives straight, they will become Christ followers. This is backwards. The true question is not if we can keep His commandments but if we love Him. No relationship can last if it’s rule driven, but all relationships that are love driven adapt to any change that occurs. Like our human relationships, if our relationship with God is love based, it will stand the test of time.
As we continue to process the effects of Covid-19, we as the church must ask about our relationship with God. Whether we meet for worship in a parking lot or gather online; whether our old familiar ways to serve God and touch our communities ever return, or whether the ways we worship, fellowship and serve take on new methodologies, our question must be about our relationship with God. Perhaps this may be easier for Sherry and I as we have been in a variety of church communities in our years of ministry. Lots of things have changed over the course of 40+ years of marriage, but each new thing is met with relationships with each other and God.
The second question can be answered much the same. We as the ambassadors of Christ demonstrate His love to the lost. The important question to ask is not whether they want to cease their sins or to come to church but whether they would consider returning God’s love back to Him. In other words, whether they can love God. This was the question Jesus asked Peter after his colossal failure. Notice Jesus never mentioned the denial but focused on the question “Peter, do you love me?” Prior to this moment it appears that Peter’s relationship was one of obedient following that was up and down. After this, there is an evident change in Peter. No longer Simon the reed that bends whichever the wind blows but Peter, the rock who stands firm in his faith and ministry. What happened? He fell in love with Jesus. You can also see the same in Paul.
“Open the eyes of my heart Lord, I want to see You.
Dr. John Thompson