November 16, 2010

No Personal Relationship

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:32 pm by Steve

When we joined the church we make a sacred vow to live our lives by a certain set of values, to treat each other as disciples of Jesus and to work together for the good of all. Sounds pretty impressive doesn’t it? But how many take those vows seriously, take their word seriously or take their relationship with God seriously.

We make a commitment to submit our lives to the guidance and teaching of Jesus, through the Holy Spirit and with the aid of those Christ calls to leadership and ministry. We first connect to Christ and then with a new frame of reference and outlook we connect to others with an attitude of grace and gratitude. Granted, we don’t always model it perfectly, but we learn from our mistakes and from the example of others. But we must recognize our need to learn and grow. We’re not prefect – yet! As Christians we want to be more and more like Jesus every day.

So what were those things we commit to live and practice together?

  1. Prayer – a personal dialogue with God the Father through the intercession of the God the Spirit
  2. Worship – the natural response to our awareness and experience of God’s Extravagant Grace
  3. Giving – to give our heart and our treasures to God in Compelling Generosity
  4. Serving – to respond in practical ways to the needs of the world with grace and humility.

It is not at all uncommon, however, to bypass the personal connection with God that develops in parts 1&2 and move to the outward and visible signs in parts 3&4. We’re often more interested in what our friends see than in what God knows.

Paul addresses this disconnect in 1 Corinthians 13

1 Corinthians 13:1-7

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

1 John 4:12 “If we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”

1 John 4:14: “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”

 

Re-Writing 1 Corinthians 13:6-7 We get a clearer picture of who God is and what we gain from a personal relationship.

“God is patient, God is kind. He is not envious, He does not boast, He is not proud. He does not dishonor others, He is not self-seeking, He is not easily angered, He keeps no record of wrongs. God does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. God always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

Skip steps 1 & 2 in your personal relationship and you lose the passion, power and purpose of the Christian life.

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