It Takes Two
We all seem to want a simple fix these days. Social media creates in us a false sense of believing that we can have whatever we want. We are bombarded with the “best” of everything—finest vacations, exotic foods, fancy clothes, successful diets, effective exercise programs, and sound advice. Yet, there is a caveat. Have you heard the phrase, “Nothing can be achieved without enthusiasm”? I think that needs to be revised to say, “Nothing can be achieved without enthusiasm AND hard work!” Nothing that lasts anyway.
This same type of thinking—having what we want without working for it—has edged its way into our Christian lifestyles. We want an intimate relationship with God. We want to make sound decisions. We want God’s blessings, but do we really want to work for it? Do we want to do our part?
Don’t misunderstand where I am going with this. I am not talking about a works salvation. The Bible is clear on what it takes to be saved.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in
him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to
condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father
except through me.” John 14:6
Jesus came so that we could be in relationship with a Holy God. This is impossible apart from Jesus. God has done His part. However, once we accept Jesus, our part begins. Although I was extremely blessed to grow up in a Christian home and spend my childhood in church, I don’t think I grasped what it meant to truly be in relationship with Jesus Christ. I remember a lot of “do’s” and “don’ts” along the way. But for whatever reason, being in relationship with a loving, Holy God eluded me. I worked hard to do the right thing, have the right thoughts, and be the good girl. It wasn’t until I was married and participated in Henry Blackaby’s study, Experiencing God, that I began to grasp what God wanted all along.
God wanted to love me, speak to me, cherish me, mature me, bless me, and teach me. I am still learning to let him. Relationships take time. Relationships take effort. I had to engage. I had to be purposeful. I still have a long way to go, but I had to come to the realization that if I was not growing in my relationship with the Lord, it was on me. It takes two to build a relationship.
It is so easy to get side-tracked with life. Maintaining a job, raising a family, being part of a community, and serving a church body is all good. But participating in these life activities will never fill the space in our heart and soul that was meant for Jesus. I am so thankful for His grace. I am so thankful that His mercies are new every morning. I fail often, but He never gives up on me.
I want to share with you some things that help me. I’m sure you have your own list, and I would love for you to share and respond to this blog. I am not a relationship expert by any means, but I do have a few ideas I stole from a great book!
Seek. Seeking God can mean a lot of things. However, just being alert to what God is doing around us is a start. Beginning our day in prayer and Bible reading sets the stage for what God wants to do that day in our lives. When we sincerely seek Him, He WILL respond, but we must be purposeful and intentional in seeking Him.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to
him must believe that God exists and the He rewards those that sincerely seek
Him. Hebrews 11:9
Engage. Not only did God give us Jesus, but He also provided His Word and His Holy Spirit to guide us. To put it bluntly, we have no excuse. If we truly want to be in a relationship with a Holy God, we have to set aside time to engage with Him through his Word. It simply has to become a priority. Find a time and stick to it.
So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all
unkind speech. Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you
will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you
have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness. I Peter 2:1-2
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us
realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to
do what is right. 2 Timothy 3:16
Connect. When I think of connecting with others, I often think of the disciples after Jesus ascended to heaven. Can you imagine what they must have been feeling? Jesus knew how hard it would be for them. He prayed specifically for them—for their protection, for their joy, for their holiness. He selected them and put them together for a reason. We were created for community. Our relationship with Christ will grow as we surround ourselves with other believers who can come along side us. Maybe it takes more than two!
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging
one another—and all the more as you see the day approaching. Hebrews 10:24
Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their
homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts. Acts 2:46
Relationships are not a quick fix. God loves you. James tells us that when we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. Do your part—seek, engage, connect—and you will be blessed by a Holy God.
It takes at least two!