Welcome back to the bus! We’re back on the road again on our journey of discovery, as we explore this theory:
“Christian theology is not particularly difficult to understand. Its precepts and premises are fairly simple, it was given to “regular” guys to share with the world, and they did it. Yes, of course they had a lot of help from the Holy Spirit, but then so do we. Yet we love to argue, follow tradition and form to avoid spiritual growth and reaching out, because they are counter-intuitive, and the fact that they are counter-intuitive is exactly the point of all things being new, for our human intuition isn’t new, it’s the old thing that Jesus died to free us from.”
As we arrive here at Relationship Camp, I’ve broken our day’s session into two parts. First we’ll take a look at our relationship with God, and later, we’ll take a look at our relationships with other people. So, here we go looking into our relationships with God…
I would have to say that roughly half of the 900 and some odd posts on this blog to date are about our relationship with God. I’ve posted about it from an academic/theological point of view, from an anecdotal point of view, from a relational point of view and in the narrative form, so I think the best way to proceed in this particular post is by relating general concepts, and that will keep with the method of the entire road trip, for this is not a technical or exhaustive study, but a conceptual one.
The first thing for us to always remember is that we have a relationship with God because of the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, where He shed His blood so that our sins can be forgiven. We choose to be in relationship with Him by responding to the message of the Gospel, and when we do so, our sins are forgiven and we receive the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit. It is this Holy Spirit within us that gives us direct relationship to God.
To experience this relationship, we need to seek His presence in our lives. I did a series of posts this past fall (The Journey) in which we looked at spiritual disciplines for just this seeking of His presence. Today, I’ll approach the subject differently, simply, briefly. We seek Him through the Scriptures. We seek Him through prayer and we seek Him through study and reflection. Some of us may do a better job of these things than others, but there is something else that we might consider here.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Simple, isn’t it, to know God’s will for you! Let’s take a closer look…
To say this, and then to say it’s God’s will for you implies that Paul has said it in the imperative. “Hey, you over there! Rejoice!” If it can be commanded, then it can be chosen, so rejoice always. When things don’t go our way, we have a choice: We can let the circumstances get to us, or we can choose to rejoice in the Lord anyway.
This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24 (KJV)
See where the choice is made? (“We will“) I’ve tried this and it works. OK, I’ll admit that if there is enough headaches and hassles, sometimes I waiver, but it normally takes quite a bit. Let’s just rejoice in our Lord even though it is counter-intuitive some times.
A special time of prayer and reflection are great, and I encourage everyone to do it, but it isn’t the only thing. In fact, it’s the “beginner’s” thing. The “Big Boys” never stop! Seek God’s presence through constantly talking to Gos as you go through your day. It is really hard work to be ticked off in the presence of God! Tell God how much you love Him. Tell Him that you are serving Him because you love Him. Talk to God about your business, school or household activities and ask for His blessing or guidance upon them. Tell Him that you want to do an especially good job at what you have to do because as His Ambassador, you want to serve Him because of how much you love Him. Ask God to present you with opportunities to share His good news. Do this in the morning as you drive to work, later do this through your work day. Do this in the afternoon. Do it in the evening, and do it some as you drift off to sleep. You will be in his presence all the time, and your rejoicing will increase. The more we continue in this way, the more aware we will be of His presence, the more we will learn to view the world around us through His eyes, and not our own.
Am interesting thing I’ve noticed here is that I view the world with a great deal less condemnation than I used to. Oh, I see the godless stuff more clearly than ever, but my attitude is different; I yearn for its deliverance and emancipation from the evil that is so common. I now feel for the people like I haven’t before. Things bother me much less than they used to, because I know that God is working His plan in and around me, and even though there are trials for me personally, I am excited to see how God has it all turning out! Do this, even though it may seem strange (because it is counter-intuitive for many of us) you will be blessed beyond measure in His presence!
Give thanks in all circumstances
It’s easy to give thanks when you get that big raise and promotion, but when you get the layoff notice, “thanks” isn’t the first word you might think of! Yet, we know that God loves us. We know that He has gone to extreme lengths to set us free from sin and death, and we know that He has plans for us. Just because business goes wrong doesn’t mean that anything has changed; a new chapter has begun. Where will it lead, what new experiences will we have in His presence… is there a better job around the corner? I can’t really say, but I’ve been around a long time, had many trials and challenges, and God has always worked things out for me. Maybe not always to my liking at a given moment, but things have ended up better in the end. Sometimes we go through “hard times” in this life in an economic sense, and grow by leaps and bounds at the same time spiritually. Money will pass away, but our spirits are eternal; keep things in perspective and rejoice, pray continually and always be thankful!
This is all simple stuff. Don’t get me wrong, it is very profoundly important, but it isn’t complicated. Even when your natural inclination might be to go in a different direction, seek His presence, and your joy will be complete in Him!
Really, no joke… I told you this was counter-intuitive, didn’t I?
See you back later today for relationships part 2.