Jesus reacing out

How to begin a relationship with God. Spiritual life and growth in a nutshell.

Search for TruthIn a world with a bazillion philosophies, religions and “roads” to purported “enlightenment”, one may wonder if it’s possible to truly distinguish if there is indeed just one “right” path to God; or for that matter, whether God even exists.

On the topic of the existence of God we believe the scientific data in fields such as archaeology, biology, geology, astronomy, and anthropology all support the Genesis (Biblical) account of God’s creating all things.  (Please click on the “Science and Faith” category for more on this).  Perhaps even more relevant are the “eye-witness” testimonials and personal experiences of hundreds of thousands of people (myself included) who’ve entered in to a vibrant relationship with God through Jesus Christ and can testify of the real communication and experiential relationship we share with Him.

As far as the “bazillions” of philosophies, religions and “roads” to God purported today … they can really be narrowed down to TWO.

The first is the “do-it-yourself” kind which encompasses most every religion and train of thought today. They suggest that we (a finite being) can somehow build a ladder to God (the infinite being) — through various means and methods.  Be good enough (your good deeds somehow outweighing your bad deeds), meditate the correct way, follow enough strict rules, do abc and xyz and bingo — you’ve arrived at enlightenment, you’ve earned your ticket to Heaven or whatever the goal may be; the point is that YOU’VE done it, got it, achieved it, bought it, did it, whatever.  You, the finite, have traversed to the infinite.

The second is the Biblical perspective which states that man can not build a bridge to God, but rather the infinite must reach down to the level of the finite in order for a relationship and union to occur.  This took place when God “was made visible in human flesh” (1 Timothy 3:16) and Jesus walked among us.

Jesus proved God’s love for us even to the point of giving His life through crucifixion.  Why?  So we could have the possibility of entering in to a relationship with Him and know and experience the depths of God’s love for us.

But why crucifixion, death, and what’s all this business of “giving His life for us”?  Why do we need that in the first place? Good question — glad you asked.

Adam and Eve were created in such a state and situation that they had fellowship with God.  They walked and talked with the Creator.  Everything was harmonious in the universe as a beautiful, orchestral symphony with melodic notes of love and peace overflowing from the very vibrancy of creation … that is until Adam and Eve decided to go their own way and chart their own destiny which involved taking a path that led away from God.

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.” (Genesis 3:1–6)

Adam and Eve disregarded God’s instruction by trusting in what they “saw” and perceived to be true. After all, if they could be “wise like God” wouldn’t that be a good thing?  What they failed to realize is that true wisdom lies not in knowledge itselfbut knowledge which works and is empowered by God’s guidance, omniscience, and infinite vantage point rather than according to man’s finite methods of logical deduction. The problem is not man’s God-given ability to reason, but putting trust in this finite capacity above and thus out of alignment with the trust one puts in the omniscience of God; in other words, the ‘created’ thinking it knows better than the Creator.

Adam and Eve's temptationThe serpent’s seed of doubt towards God and His word successfully derailed Adam and Eve (and multitudes of individuals today) and got them to trade God’s path of infinite wisdom, fellowship and truth for a path of limited, finite reasoning.  This has resulted in spiritual “death” — separation from God who is the very essence and source of life.  As light can not abide in darkness, neither can fellowship with God exist while man’s spirit abides on a path where finite, logical deductions reign supreme and and effectively control the heart, mind, and resultant actions of the individual as well as cause distortion of and inability to receive God’s omniscient and eternal truth.  This worship of finite “self” reasoning above God and His word disintegrates the fellowship between God and man and fulfills the serpent’s desire to make mankind as he himself is — dissatisfied at operating on the level of the ‘created’ and lusting to operate within the capacity of the Creator — God — the One who sets forth what truth really is and the methods through which it operates. “… and you will be like God …”

“By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin. (Romans 5:12)

The Greek and Hebrew (languages from which our modern day Bibles have been translated) words which find their English translation as “sin” in the Bible means “to fall short of” or “miss the mark”.  These words were used in Archery to describe the act of missing the center target — the “bulls-eye”.

Man’s choosing to depart from God’s “bulls-eye” (best / central) path is what’s known as sin.  “God is love” (I John 4:8) and a departure from His path (even if it seems the “logical” thing to do) results in “falling short” and “missing the mark” of God’s path of true love.  The newspaper is full of evidence of what happens when humanity departs from a path of love.

Man's inhumanity to man.

Sin necessitates justice to be served. We can see this in the penal system of society where evil deeds require punishment of the evil doer.  When this does not happen evil is allowed to flourish, gain in power and influence, and inflict further evil upon more victims.

Obviously God isn’t happy with sin and the damage it does, nor is he happy with the resultant separation between Himself and the very people He created to experience loving union with Himself; so in His infinite love for every person He chose to “become flesh” (1 Timothy 3:16) and took the form of a man. This Jesus walked on Earth, expounded eternal truth, and was living proof through every word and deed of the vibrancy of God’s very personal love for each individual.  This living expression of supernatural love had its culmination in His crucifixion.

“… but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.” (Hebrews 9:26–28)

“I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” (John 10:17–18)

CrucifixionSo God Himself, Jesus Christ, allowed Himself to be crucified by finite man who was motivated by his finite reasoning and sin and “Him who knew no sin” (Jesus) was made to be “sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) In other words, the justice which required payment for mankind’s evil and sin — God took upon Himself in the form of Jesus Christ.

The sacrifice and forgiveness for sin Jesus offers us has no effect, however, unless we personally choose to accept it. Someone offers us a glass of water; we can believe it’s good and will relieve our thirst — but until we accept the gift and drink it, it does us no good.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!(Luke 11:9–13)

To receive God’s Spirit and “eternal life … that they may know [Him], the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom [He] has sent” (John 17:3) — all that must be done is to ask God for this gift.  God sees the sincerity of our heart and that’s the only requirement.

Obviously to ask from the heart we need to recognize our own need for God’s forgiveness and our utter inability to “build a ladder to God” based on our own self efforts.  “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8–9)

Some people feel they are “pretty good” and in “need of nothing” yet don’t realize they are spiritually “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.” (Revelation 3:17) Pride has a tendency to cause people to be “alienated from the life of God … because of the blindness of their heart” (Ephesians 4:18) and God “has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.” (Luke 1:53) If we do not first recognize our spiritual poverty, we will never be able to enter in to a relationship with God and partake of His spiritual riches of truth, through Jesus Christ. Recognizing spiritual poverty causes us to turn from the things that brought us in to that state and thus we forsake the old life and deeds of emptiness and instead turn to the source of life — God Himself. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3) 

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

Why did Jesus make this statement?  To show that man can not build a ladder to God; to completely discredit the “do-it-yourself” type of religions and ideologies; to show that the only way to enter in to a relationship with God is to accept His gift, His sacrifice, His hand (Jesus Christ) which has reached down from the realm of infinity to our finite realm.  All we must do is accept and receive His gift.  (Reach out and drink that glass of water).  The gift is, Himself. After we accept His gift our spirit is “renewed by God’s Spirit;” (Titus 3:5) and “God [raises] us up with Christ and [seats] us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,” (Ephesians 2:6) So GOD brings us in to the heavenly realm — by his power, not by our own self achievement.

“To all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God—” (John 1:12)

Jesus reaching outWill you accept this gift Jesus offers you? Do you want to enter in to a relationship with God Himself? “Ask and you will receive”.  “God will give His Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.”

If you like, you can pray a simple prayer like this one:

“Jesus, I realize my best intentions and efforts fall short in comparison with Your Eternal Truth. Forgive me for putting my own ways and desires above you — thinking that I know better. Please cleanse and fill me with Your Spirit of Love and give me the gift of Eternal Life – knowing you, knowing God.  Please be my Counselor throughout life’s journey, as you alone know the path of greatest significance and meaning.  I want to know you, and I want to walk in the fullness of your love. Amen.”

If you’ve accepted Jesus’ gift you can know for certain that “to be absent from the body [is to] be present with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:8) We’ll see each other in Heaven when this life is over!  “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.(1 John 5:13)

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand … I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. ” (John 10:27-28; 11:25–26)

When we receive Jesus we are adopted in to God’s family.  “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ;” (Romans 8:15–17) When you have a child, he’s your child forever — nothing can change that. When we are adopted in to God’s family, it’s forever.

Butterfly“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ(2 Corinthians 5:17–18)

Beginning this relationship with Jesus is, well, just the beginning! As you spend time with someone you love you get to know the person better; you get to know his heart, motivations, recognize his voice and more.  The same with Jesus.

Prayer is not a religious ritual — it’s communicating with God. We talk, He talks, we listen, He listens — just as we communicate with anyone else.  When it comes to prayer many people not only approach it like a ritual by repeating the same words over and over, but neglect the most important part — listening.

How would you feel if your loved one comes running up to you, repeats a few lines he always says every day then goes hurrying off.  That’s not much of a dialog is it?  In the same way if we want to get to know Jesus deeply, we must spend time not only speaking from our heart (not just repeating some memorized, ritualistic lines), but we must take the time to listen as well. Don’t you think, perhaps, that God might have a few valuable things to say to us that might just be the very thing that can change our life or provide the answers we’ve been searching for?  Or perhaps sometimes it will simply be words of endearment … after all, love is the most beautiful gift we can share and love makes time to interact, caress, communicate, as well as simply enjoying each others presence.

A relationship with Jesus provides the deepest, most satisfying union that can ever be experienced; after all, we’re interacting with God Himself whose very essence is pure and total love.  The marriage relationship is a parallel to the intimacy He wants to share with us.  (See Ephesians 5:31-32); yet unlike earthly relationships, it’s also nice to know Jesus promised, “I will never leave nor forsake you.” (Heb. 13:5)

What a precious treasure — to be able to communicate, interact, and experience intimacy with God Himself.  Yet what a neglected treasure it is.

3 replies
  1. kunle Oyelami
    kunle Oyelami says:

    obviously you are doing a great work. may God continue to a strengthen your team more and more. The LORD bless you sir.

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