By definition, a relationship is an association, connection, an affiliation, liaison, a link. However, what God wants is much deeper than that. It is a relationship that is also a friendship, a bond, alliance, attachment, companionship, peace, goodwill, and harmony. God wants peace with you. He wants to be friends.
Perspective #33: God wants peace with you. He wants to be friends.
In addition to this, God wants you to know Him, which means God is knowable!
Perspective #34: God wants you to know Him, which means God is knowable!
Which means, you can invest time in getting to know Him, if you like. Isn't it incredible to know that God, the Creator of everything, wants peace with you, wants you to get to know Him? He wants harmony with you, and He intends to love you and be your friend. This revelation is mind-blowing when you think about it. God wants to be friends with me! Not just friends, but buddies, pals, companions, partners. Are you sure He knows what He's doing? What He's getting?
Now the question you need to ask yourself is, do YOU want a close, personal, loving, intimate relationship with HIM? Which is where the rubber meets the road, what do YOU want? He's made it simple. There are no "rules.” You just have to receive and open the Gift of His Son Jesus Christ. You only need desire and choice to enter this relationship? The question is, do you want one with Him?
Some of you may say well, let me clean myself up and make myself presentable first. Hogwash! He doesn't require this so why should you? He is willing to accept you exactly the way you are today, right now, this minute, this second, sin and all. He will take care of "cleaning you up" later. Of course, this will take time, but that is not the point. If you want a relationship with Him then, by default, you also want Him to clean you up. To clean your life up.
You need to understand the dynamics of what is going on. You see, we (humans) are at war with God. In the Garden of Eden, we rebelled against God and His commands for our lives. We chose to "do our own thing" and to work in close cooperation with God's enemy to try to destroy Him and His plans for humanity. To have a relationship with Him, we must first change sides. To have a relationship with God, you must first surrender your life to Him.
Perspective #35: To have a relationship with God, you must first surrender your life to Him.
Which means that God’s conditions for a relationship with Him are surrender, complete, absolute, total surrender!!!
Perspective #36: God’s conditions for a relationship with Him are surrender! Complete, absolute, total surrender!!!
Surrender means that you humble yourself and say, "God, I was wrong, you are right I repent of my sins. I turn from my sins and towards You God, forgive me! By faith, I believe that your Son Jesus Christ died for my sins and I accept and open your gift of grace to me. Help me to possess this gift, help me to desire a relationship with You, help me to invest in my relationship with You, help me to fall in love with You. Show me how!"
Are you willing to invest in your relationship with Him? Are you willing to make your relationship with Him the most important relationship in your life? Are you willing to value your relationship with Him as much as He does? Are you willing to invest in your relationship as much as He has?
I bet you thought I was going to be easy on you? Well, as George H.W. Bush and Dana Carvey used to say, "not going to do it, wouldn't be prudent!"
I know these are strong commitments, but He wants to be that kind of friend with you. One where you do everything together, you are committed to each other, and you would give your life for each other. The depth of this relationship with God is so hard to put into words, but just a small portion of it outstrips the depth and love of any other relationship you have ever had or experienced. The greatness is "off the charts!"
Some people already know they want a relationship with God, it is an easy decision for them. Others may say, they already have a relationship with God through their church, religion, mosque, synagogue, temple, meditation, etc. They explain, "I'm ‘spiritual' just not religious." Let me clarify, God does not want a relationship with you through a third party. He wants a relationship with YOU personally!
Perspective #37: God does not want a relationship with you through a third party. He wants a relationship with YOU personally!
Understand, this is not a "drive-by" relationship where you put in a little "face time" on Sunday and say, "I'm good for the rest of the week." It is not a "spiritual" relationship either, where you "think" about Him on occasion and pretty much do your own thing and let Him do His thing. How are you going to get to know Him, especially when there is so much of Him to know when you invest very little time and effort in doing so?
Let me give you an example of what I'm talking about. In the book of Matthew, towards the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says some profound things:
The Bible says: Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:21-23)
Why would Jesus say, "depart from me, you workers of lawlessness" to people who appear to have done great things for Him and His Kingdom? There is only one reason: He doesn't know them because they never invested time in a "relationship" with Him personally. Oh sure, they may have had a connection with some other earthly distraction (church, religion, mosque, synagogue, temple, meditation, spirituality, etc.), but not with Him and His Father.
In their book I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, Norm Geisler and Frank Turek give an incredible example of this when they say (and I'm paraphrasing here):
Imagine one evening; you are sitting at home, working on a puzzle or playing a board-game with your family and you hear a knock at the door. You go to the front door, and you see a stranger. You open the door and ask, “How can I help you?” They proceed to try to come into your house as if they know you as if you are good friends. You say, “Hold on a minute, I do not know you, get out of my house, get off my property!” (Or something like that.)
Later that evening, you are still having a good time with your family, and you hear another knock at the door. You once again go to the front door, and you see your parents there who have come over to visit you and their grandbabies! How do you respond to them? You hug them, ask how they are doing, how they have been? Why the different responses? Quite frankly, you know them. You have a “relationship” with them. The other person you didn’t have a clue who they were, but mom and dad you have known well for the past however many years of your life.
Why would God be any different? Why would God let you into His house (Heaven) if you have spent little time or effort in getting to know Him? If you, being a flawed, sinful human being wouldn’t do this, what makes you think a perfect, holy, righteous being would?
Understand, there are three levels of "knowing." You can "know of" someone. For example, I know of Billy Graham I've seen him preach on TV, but I do not know him personally. I've never had a face-to-face conversation with him. If I went over to his house to spend the night, he’d probably send me packing.
Next, you can "know about" someone. For example, I've read some of Billy Graham's books where he talks about his family, especially the love of his life, Ruth. I may know a little bit more "about" Billy Graham. However, I still do not "know" him personally. I do not know what kind of ice cream he likes or even if he likes ice cream.
The only way to get to "know" someone is to invest the time it takes to do so. To “know” God, really know God, requires you to invest the time it takes to get to know Him.
Perspective #38: To “know” God, really know God, requires you to invest the time it takes to get to know Him.
Sure, because He is "all-knowing" God may know of you. He may even know about you. However, since you have invested very little time in getting to know Him, He doesn't know you personally. You never took the time to share your life with Him, involving Him in it. God is NEVER an intruder in our lives – He is only an invited guest.
Perspective #39: God is NEVER an intruder in our lives – He is only an invited guest. – Michael Franzese
Maybe you are like I was, blaming God for everything that goes wrong in your life rather than investing the time to get to know Him and seeing how much He loves you. As human beings, we have this horrible habit of judging God based on what we "think" He's doing, not who we know Him to be. I was a "professional" God blamer; I know all about this. Do you think this would be the case if you just invested some time to get to know Him personally?
Another question you need to ask yourself is, why would you want to spend eternity (forever and ever and ever amen) worshiping someone you spend very little time getting to know? Wouldn't this just irk you to no end? Having to "worship" someone you do not care for?
Good questions huh? Please join me next week when we finish up this discussion in What does God want? (Part 3).