Summary: What three elements are needed for a more personal relationship with God?
How has your life been? Is it a life that you are willing to document, photograph, and televise to everyone? Is it a life that you are willing to live over again - without any changes? In other words, in totality, are you perfectly satisfied with the life that you have lived? If not, why not?
If the human race had a chance to review it’s life, do you think it would vote in the affirmative of a satisfying life? When we look at history, from the beginning of man to the present, how would you vote? Has the human race had a satisfying existence? I think not and I am sure you agree.
The world has been corrupted by evil. Man has never been satisfied with what they have and have always clamored for more. More land,
To obtain these items, man has fought,
and killed. Not exactly the type of person one would want to bring home and introduce to one’s parents!
We are told however, in the manual of life, that we should be loving and kind to one another. We are also told that we would be provided with everything we need. Where did mankind go wrong? How did mankind become so greedy?
The simple answer of course is sin. When sin entered the picture everything became cloudy and fuzzy. Satan’s effective use of smoke and mirrors belied the true picture of what God had designed for our life.
However, that is not the whole answer. We too, are at fault. How? By not clinging to the truth. By not remembering the whole story. If we truly knew the whole story, the complete truth would be easy to see and Satan’s lies would be very plain.
That leads us to the present. The world outside the doors of this sanctuary is very bad. The worse it becomes, the more time we need to spend in here with God. In order to survive out there, we need to have a vital, meaningful, and very personal relationship with God.
So, how do we define this relationship? We must recognize our great need for Him. We must express our deep gratitude to Him. We must accept His great salvation for us. These are essential elements in a personal relationship with God.
Christianity is not a toy. Nor is it a political tool. Political and religious leaders from Roman times to the present have used Christianity as a means to further their own goals. Pope Urban IV called on Christians to travel to the Holy Land and take back Jerusalem. Thus the Crusades began. How does killing and war-mongering further Christian ideals?
Another Pope called on the Christian order of Teutonic Knights to enter eastern Europe and Russia to conquer the pagans and force them to become Christians. How does that convey Love and Mercy which are central to the Christian beliefs?
Many today say that Christianity is dead. Is it? We only have to look to the aftermath of September 11, 2001 to see the lie in that statement. Church attendance jumped 75%. Although attendance has dropped significantly since then, it is still well above the average from the year 2000.
What brought all those people to church? A great need. A need developed from fear.
As a Christian trying to develop a deep personal relationship with God, we must recognize our need for Him in our life. This is not indicative of any profound weakness on your part. No, it is a sign of strength. It takes courage and personal fortitude to know when you need help.
We go to work because we need money.
We need money so we can eat, have clothes and shelter.
We associate with others and develop friendships because we need companionship.
We explore and read because we need to satisfy our curiosity about our surroundings and the world.
We develop culture and artistic talents because we need to express our individuality. Need is not a sign of weakness, rather it is a sign of an intelligent life-form. It shows that we exist and that we think.
Often the need is developed because of the demands life places on us. We develop a sense of inadequacy in the face of these demands. How hard it is to bear the burden of the death of a loved one? How much more so when it is your child or spouse. How difficult is it to come home and tell your family that you have been fired from your job when they depend on you ,the bread - winner, for all their needs? It is an even more arduous task if the demand develops slowly over the years like an insidious disease.
Need can also come when we recognize our guilt or moral failure. God gave us the freedom to choose. So there we are, free from sin initially, but one day we wake up and discover we no longer are free. We have immersed ourselves in sin. Sin that developed out of our habit of wanting pleasure in our life. Thus, our sin begins to haunt us.