You have begun this journey, one of faith in Christ … a relationship that will not only last a lifetime but through all of eternity. Is that the end of the story? Do you just settle in—contentedly relaxing in the knowledge that your eternal destiny is secure? Or is there more?
Well of course there is more, a lot more! Every relationship you have ever begun has potential, but it needs a personal investment to experience its genuine richness and depth. This is equally true of your relationship with your Heavenly Father. The reality that He desires, as well as offers, a rich and rewarding relationship with you is nearly beyond comprehension.
The first time I met my husband I blew him off. It really wasn’t him, it was the fact that I was running a convention he attended with a bunch of musicians and their keepers. These folks were a handful and I was tired of the bad pick-up lines that came from this crowd. He really is an amazing guy—I just didn’t know it then.
A few months later we reconnected and began what grew into what we have today. But the steps we took to build this secure, comfortable, trusting, love and best friend relationship came over time, through sharing our lives. That’s what we have to do to build any strong relationship. Including that of faith.
The reality that He desires, as well as offers, a rich and rewarding relationship with you is nearly beyond comprehension.
This begins by setting aside the time. The two anchors of spending time with God are reading His Word (the Bible) and through prayer. Heady concepts aren’t they? Not really. In everyday life we just call that listening and talking.
Start by taking out a Bible and do this—open it up and read it. Don’t be intimidated! If this is a new venture for you, find a version that simplifies the language and then start with the book of John. Whatever portion you choose to read know this: “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, NLT). The Bible is our “how to” manual.
God has so much He wants to tell us, things that will help us know Him better, how to live successful and purposeful lives: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11, ESV). He helps us avoid trouble and gives us hope for the future. These are words that will strengthen the very faith we began. “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).
He also wants to hear what we have to tell Him. He delights when we realize there is nothing we can’t share—hopes and dreams—and there’s no problem too large or concern too small that He’s not willing to hear. “Call to me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3, NASB). “Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you” (Jeremiah 29:12). When I say He wants to hear what you have to say, this does not take away from the sacredness nor the position of God. It is He who invites us; it is He who opens the door.
The depth of any relationship requires spending time with their family. As my relationship with my husband grew, the next step was meeting the relatives. As in any family, they were an eclectic bunch. The first time I went to Eastern Kentucky to meet “the uncles,” I could not figure out a word they said while they spoke to one another. Between their strong, Southern accents, their kinship through their car repair and wrecker services, along with the strength of their relationships, they totally understood one another. I, on the other hand, was clueless. As I got to know them I figured it out and loved each and every Southern, wise, salt-of-the-earth word that was spoken. Even better, I was welcomed by them and loved well.
It is He who invites us; it is He who opens the door.
God’s family is like any other. There are great members … ladies that work the kitchen, men manning the barbecue, fans of the same sports team, and shopping soul mates. There’s also the crazy uncle and the disapproving aunt. There are the dysfunctional as well as the highly functioning. But we need one another. “Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25, ESV).
When this family loves well, they love better than almost any other. We draw strength from one another; we bring our talents to this diverse group, making each of us better. We are stronger as a unit, tied together as children of the living God, the King of Kings. “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” (1 Corinthians 12:26)
When you find that family of faith, you also find opportunities for instruction, Bible studies, and church services. Gain from the wisdom of those who are placed in the position of teaching. “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42).
Remember this, you don’t need to check your brain at the door. In fact, God encourages us to find out for ourselves. “…but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21, NLT). Listen to what is taught, go home and read for yourself, asking God to open your heart and your mind to His truth. When you find a Bible teacher who teaches well, staying true to God’s Word, commit to attending. Gleaning from their instruction will help build your faith in a way that can never happen entirely on your own.
Finally, our faith is built through the ebb and flow of life. As we walk with Christ, listening and talking alongside His family while learning about Him, we will inevitably face difficulty. Faith is not a free pass from real life. You will experience pain. But the promise of His strength and the hope of our future will see us to the other side. As we make our journey and learn of His faithfulness, each trial will become a little more manageable, our strength will increase, and our peace will run a little bit deeper. We will remember what He has done so we will know what He can do again.
our faith is built through the ebb and flow of life
Until our faith journey is over on this earth here is what we can hold on to, what we can anticipate, what we know:
“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by His great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.
And through your faith, God is protecting you by His power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see. So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while.
These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
You love Him even though you have never seen Him. Though you do not see Him now, you trust Him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting Him will be the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:3-9).