The one thing we have to avoid above everything else in our Christian lives is this fatal tendency to live the Christian life apart from a direct, living and true relationship to God. ~ Martin Lloyd Jones
Here’s the challenge I believe many of us struggle with: we aren’t really sure how to foster and nurture a relationship with the holy, living, powerful God of all creation!
I mean, God is God and we are not.
We’re just mere human beings stuck here on planet earth.
But remember, early in Genesis, before the fall of man, God and man lived in close, intimate relationship!
- There was trust
- There was enjoyment.
- There was security.
- There was purpose.
- There was peace.
And through the work of Jesus on the cross, God has purposed to bring human beings back into an abiding relationship with Himself.
That is the primary theme of our entire Bible! God’s intent is to once again to walk with us as he did with Adam and Eve in the Garden.
We were made to BE WITH GOD!
When we pursue God for relationship, God ceases to be a device we employ or a commodity we consume. Instead, knowing God in a personal way becomes the primary passion of our existence.
Matthew 13:44-46 says:
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”
Perhaps a question to process in the quietness of our own hearts is this: Do I possess such a single-mindedness when it comes to pursuing my relationship with God?
You know, God’s big plan in sending Him to earth was for him to die for our sins on the cross. But here’s another big purpose that God came to earth in human form: Through Jesus, we get to see what God is like in a form we can better understand.
It’s interesting to see that in the Gospel accounts, some people were found Jesus repelling. And at the same time, others found Jesus extremely attractive, winsome and desirable.
Those who found Jesus to be annoying were the proud, the religious, the established. To them, Jesus was a threat to their social standing and religious practice.
But others saw in Jesus all sorts of compassion, power, grace and truth.
Skye Jethani observes:
Those who saw Jesus true value crawled over one another to be closer to Him. This was particularly the case among the marginalized and forgotten in society – The tax collectors, prostitutes and sinners who had been denied access to God by the other religious postures of the day. These undesirables swarmed Jesus wherever He went – prompting the indignation of the religious leaders who had a vested interest in promoting their own posture of relating to God that excluded the common people.
When people come to see who Jesus is and what God is like, treasuring Him becomes the natural outcome.
So, maybe some natural questions for us to consider include:
- What is your treasure?
- What is the passion and pursuit of your life?
- If it is Jesus, how are you seeking to draw closer to Him?
Paul sure seemed to have a strong vision for what his life was all about:
Philippians 3:10-11 (ESV): I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
How’s that for a life purpose statement! Paul wanted to personally know Jesus. And, he wanted to experience Jesus power in his life. Not only that, Paul even wanted to be open to the life lessons that come from suffering in order to become more conformed to the image of his Savior!
I think it’s safe to say that the foremost treasure in Paul’s life was Jesus.
Some people see Jesus as a means of avoiding an unpleasant afterlife. But Jesus is meant to be much, much more in our life.
John Piper wrote:
“Christ did not die to forgive sinners who go on treasuring anything above seeing and savoring God. And people who would be happy in heaven if Christ were not there, will not be there.
The gospel is not a way to get people to heaven; it is a way to get people to God. It’s a way of overcoming every obstacle to everlasting joy in God.