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Is it enough to attend church on Sunday morning? Are you settling for a weekly dose of Jesus? Does that get you through the week? Or perhaps you also go to a midweek prayer service, maybe even an occasional small group meeting. All of these things are beneficial to your walk with Christ, but is your relationship with Jesus flourishing? We’ll discuss this at length on this episode of The Kingdom Hero Show, so stick around.
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What’s the status of your relationship with Jesus? Are you close, or just casual acquaintances? Let’s examine that. Ready? Let the Kingdom Heroics begin!
– Show Intro –
Alrighty folks, let’s start with our mission statement: To advance the Kingdom of God through study of the Word and making real-world application of Godly character and Kingdom-mindedness.
Our central theme passage of scripture is from Micah 6:8… “Seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.” With all this in mind, let’s jump into today’s episode. Okay…?
So this isn’t a new topic here, but it’s good to periodically remind ourselves just how vital it is to cultivate a strong relationship with our Lord and Savior. This is something that many people who call themselves Christians seem to struggle with continually. Today, I want to break down why that is, and what we can do about it.
First, I think we should ask ourselves honestly how we view being a Christian. What does that mean to you? Do you hold yourself to a higher standard, or do you live pretty much like anyone else in the world you’d consider a decent person?
Second, are you pursuing a closer relationship with Christ, or do you view that as just something that other people should do – like preachers or other church leaders? How often do you talk to God? Is your prayer life active? Is that even important to you?
Now, be honest. As I progressed through the questions I just asked, did you begin to feel uncomfortable? Did you start to feel bothered by thoughts that there’s more you should be doing as a Christian? Did you perhaps begin to provide yourself with excuses as to why you aren’t doing more?
Let’s consider for a moment what God’s own desire was (and is) for mankind. He created us in His own image, to be like Him. He walked and talked with Adam in the Garden of Eden, communing with His most prized creation. It’s apparent that He wanted to be close to us, to love and care for us, and fellowship with us on a daily basis. Then sin wrecked all of that when Adam and Eve disobeyed.
But even though there was punishment, God still loved us. Even when mankind became so wicked that God sent a great flood to wipe them out, He found one good man and spared him and his family. God treasures us so much, the Bible tells us that at the He sent us His own Son as the final means to redeem the human race from its sin.
These are the acts of a loving Creator who desires a close relationship with us. He has done more to demonstrate His great love than anyone else ever has. The sacrifice made through Jesus was the final solution to assure a way for us to spend eternity with Him. So, ya think maybe a strong relationship with the Lord is kinda important?
Now, I can picture a lot of your heads nodding and I can hear a few amens. It’s likely that most every Christian would say, “Yep, that’s right, I agree 100%!” We even have this saying a lot of us use from time to time – I’ve said it myself: “Christianity isn’t about religion but about a relationship.” And I’m not knocking that – it’s a true statement. But saying you believe it and actually living like it are two very different things.
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I’m talking to Christians, here. This is a clarion call for self-examination. If you are listening to this and feel the urge to give the old “but-but-but” defense, then your relationship with Jesus probably needs deepening.
Here are some classic examples… But I go to church every Sunday. But I pay my tithes. But I listen to the preacher. I sing along with the worship team. I read my Bible sometimes. I do this, and I do that, and I even avoid doing these other things that God doesn’t like. What more does He want? He wants a relationship with you.
Sure, it’s great to do all these things because you love Him. But there’s more to a relationship than the things you do. Husbands and wives, you hopefully enjoy doing things for each other that demonstrate your love and affection for one another. But is that all there is to your relationship? No, of course not. You also place great value in other things, like just spending quality time together. It should be the same with God.
The deeper we examine this, it becomes less about what you do and more about how you live. I’m referring to how you prioritize your life, who and what comes first, and so on. How do you prioritize your time? Who or what would the evidence suggest is most important to you?
I’ve often mentioned how the marriage relationship is a picture of the kind of closeness God wants to share with us. Would your relationship with your spouse grow if you only spent a couple of hours together one day a week? How long do you think that marriage would even last? Crazy, huh? And this is precisely why a lot of Christians still fail to establish a meaningful relationship with Christ.
For this type of deep relationship to be established, grow, and be a success, it must be a daily pursuit. When Jesus taught the Disciples how to pray, Luke 11:3 quotes Him as saying, “Give us our daily bread.” This isn’t simply talking about physical sustenance, but that which also sustains us spiritually, emotionally, and otherwise. A truth echoed in the scripture Jesus used to rebuke satan during the temptation, “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
So, in order to truly live, we need our daily bread, the Word of God. Who is the embodiment of God’s Word? Who is the embodiment of God in the flesh? Who is said to be the bread of life, the manna that came from heaven? Hello! Jesus is! He is our daily bread. We celebrate His birth in that little town of Bethlehem, and did you this Hebrew word – which is pronounced beth-LEK-hem – actually means “house of bread”? Do you think that’s just coincidence?
Just as Jesus was made physically alive within the virgin Mary, His mother, the Word of God should also be made alive within us. But whereas the Christ-child required a pure vessel to deliver Him and bring Him forth into this world, this Bread from Heaven – having fulfilled all He came to accomplish – has the power to deliver us from the bonds of this world and purify us from within! This is certainly cause for joyous celebration!
And we read in chapter 4 of Paul’s letter to the Galatians of his great concern and distress regarding them. What was it that troubled him so much? He was addressing people who had come to know God but were falling back into old habits and bad practices because they weren’t seeking a proper relationship with God.
He said in verse 9, “now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?” And further down in verse 19, because he has tried to teach them and feels like he has failed, Paul refers to them as, “my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!”
See, Paul chose strong words with powerful meaning to illustrate just how important their spiritual well-being was to him. Likewise, we ought to place the greatest of emphasis on cultivating our relationship with Jesus. Can you honestly say that you have made this a priority in your life? Have you made the time, the room, and the effort for Christ to be formed in you?
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So the question is, how. How can we see to it that we are cultivating the kind of closeness to God that we need, the kind of meaningful relationship that will enrich and enhance our lives? Well, He certainly didn’t make it difficult for us – we tend to make things difficult for ourselves. No, God made it pretty simple. He’s already at the door, you only need to open it and truly invite Him in.
In Revelation 3:20, He plainly states, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” Now that doesn’t sound hard at all, does it? But let me put in more relatable terms for ya.
It’s easy to just say, hey you should pray more. But we often aren’t quite sure how to talk to this all-powerful being that we can’t see. In one of my old GC videos – season 1, episode 6 – I addressed the question, “How Do I Talk to God?” I said that, while reverence is important, we really should speak to God like He’s the best and closest friend we ever had – because He is. Be yourself, be real, and don’t think you have to use a bunch of Christianese words that you don’t normally use.
God loves you for you. So don’t try to be something you’re not. And don’t over-complicate things. Just talk to Him. And do it often. Every day. Several times a day. When things are going great, thank Him. If things aren’t going well, tell Him how you feel. Take everything to Him: your needs, your cares, your concerns, your heartache, your joys, and perhaps even that silly sense of humor He gave you.
See, God just wants to be with you. He wants to be part of your daily life. And we need that, too. We need His presence and companionship. We need to know He is always there for us. And we need Him to give us the daily bread that nourishes our entire being – body, mind, and spirit. Having a strong relationship with the Lord means never ever having to be alone.
Jesus is not an imaginary friend. He’s the friend that sticks closer than a brother, and He will never betray or forsake you. And frankly, I can’t imagine my life without Him. I talk to Him every day, when I wake up, when I’m on the road, when I’m about to eat, when I need to make a tough decision, and when I go to bed. He has been the one constant when everything else in life goes berserk. He’s why I’m still sain after all the craziness that’s happened. He’s what brings me joy in every circumstance. And yes, He’s my daily bread. Dude, He’s as real as it gets. I’m just sayin’.