Making contact with God and maintaining a meaningful relationship with Him is at the very heart of what it means to be a Christian. The primary purpose for Jesus’ mission to this planet was to pay the way for reconciliation of relationship between God and humankind. The capability of people to make unhindered and lasting contact with God was a high ticket item for Jesus—He gave his life for it.
When Jesus walked this earth He vehemently condemned the religion without relationship he found amongst the Jews. At every opportunity He openly opposed the empty faith of the Pharisees. The Pharisees who were the professional religionists of the time were not in the least bit concerned with “How can I seek to know God?” They had long before degenerated to an obsession with “How can I look good for God?” They were preoccupied with image, reputation and prideful practice and Jesus had little patience for their self-focused religion. It is not surprising that God Incarnate could not tolerate their brand of “man-centered worship.” With righteous indignation Jesus took on the Pharisees again and again. And at every encounter with “all authority” He turned the tables on them. His teachings redefined God the Father and true religion and it upset their status quo.
The early church was also infiltrated by “man centered religion.” In the third chapter of Revelation, Jesus rebukes the church of the Laodiceans for their self-focused ways, “…you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. He chastised them in the strongest terms to repent and refocus their lives. In the end, His prescription for this ailing church was short and sweet—make contact with your God again. Get your focus off yourself and connect with Me. He unashamedly held out the invitation to relationship… Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
As believers we all have the option of distancing ourselves from the God who loves us. It is within our power to rudely keep Jesus on the other side of the door of our heart knocking while we are otherwise occupied. Many Christians today have become “Neo-Pharisees,” a breed who flock to church to put on a good show. They dutifully practice the external intellectual elements of bible study, go through the motions of worship and make eloquent prayers. But just like the Pharisees it is all to be seen by men. On the inside they are making little real relational contact with the transforming power of the “Living God” and as a result they are actually starving, miserable, and perishing souls.
Why do people who once said “yes” to Jesus, do such things? Because down deep they want a God of their own making, a God who obeys them, making them look and feel good at all times. They want a God who gives precedence to their priorities. The problem is Jesus doesn’t work that way. When Jesus comes into a heart to intimately dine with its owner He requires a few things. Unfortunately, in the eyes of many wanna-be disciples the requirements he deems necessary are so inconvenient. Dying to self, dealing with sin, changing attitudes and behaviors and receiving God’s directions for your life can at times be “not fun.” Uninformed Christians do not always like the initial aftermath that making contact with God brings. So they pull back, shut the door, and let Jesus keep on knocking. They are unwilling disciples. They are followers who have not counted the cost that a vital relationship with the Creator of the Universe rings up.
The problem is many are also guilty of not measuring the benefits that making contact with Jesus can bring. Jesus promises to come into your soul and dine with you. He wants to share a feast and He’s bringing the provisions. Come and dine, come and drink, come and rest—are all very familiar invitations that our Savior issues. He wants to satisfy the true deep needs of our souls. He is not concerned with the “bling” or the status of this world. As our maker he wants to meet our real needs and come to us in ways that truly satiate the hunger and thirst of our inner being. All the great saints of the Bible were accomplished at making contact with God. Moses, David, Daniel, Paul, Mary of Bethany and John to name a few majored in friendship with God. They recognized the benefits relating on a regular basis with the God of the Universe could bring.
If you’re going to be a Christian making contact with God is not optional. It is mandatory. Don’t call yourself a Christian unless you are willing to open the door of your heart to Jesus on a regular basis. Don’t call yourself a Christian unless you are ready to deal with the internal issues, the issues of the heart that Jesus deems important. Realize that He wants to make contact with you and that if you let Him in He will bring His life transforming power to meet the deep needs of your soul. Realize that by His power He is willing to change you from the inside out. God has the power to affect your life beyond all your expectations and in ways you could not even dream of.
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1Cor. 2:9
Please feel free to share any effective tools that you have utilized to help you stay in contact and build relationship with the Lord? How do you remain true to your commitment to make Him number one in your life?
Do you know Christians who are all about religion and yet seem unaware of relationship and intimacy with God? How does the “pharisee” routine look in 21st century churches. Share your experiences and please feel free to vent!