I had lunch with a couple of friends the other day. While we were waiting for our food to get to the table, we talked about how life was going—all the good and bad—and vented to each other, as friends do (not that either of them could have done anything about my problems, nor could I do anything about theirs).
It wasn’t long before God came up in the conversation. We discussed his role in our daily lives—does he really care about small things, or just the big picture? How much does he intervene on our behalf?
We talked about a lot of things that aren’t easily answered. Then it struck me to ask this question:
“Why are we Christians in the first place?”
Is it because we hope we’ll have a better life--more money, better friends, better health?
Is it because we’re afraid of going to hell?
Is it because we’re trying to make sense out of things we don’t understand?
We went around the table, tossing out anything that came to mind, trying to figure out the real reason we—as Christians—believe, pray, and attempt to obey the commandments.
Finally, this scripture surfaced:
“Jesus replied, ‘All who love me will do what I say...’” (John 14:23a, NLT)
Did you catch that?
You see, you don’t pray, read the Bible, seek God for direction, and try to live out the commands, hoping to get everything you want in return.
You do it because you love Christ.
I didn’t realize this until much later in life. Being a Christian shouldn’t be about staying out of hell (though that’s certainly an incentive!), or getting everything you want in life. It’s about the relationship with Jesus Christ.
I believe having a relationship with Jesus—a real one—is the same as having one with a father or a friend, except Christ won’t let us down like the human relationships often do.
Are you with me so far?
For example, it’s about being honest with him and talking to him like you would anyone else. But, is he going to answer you?
Yes, he will.
Sometimes, it may be a quiet voice that you just know isn’t yours. Other times, you’ll get an answer through other people or circumstances. When it happens, it usually slaps you in the face and there’s no doubt about it.
Other times, it won’t look like you thought it would, or may not make sense immediately. These are the times when it’s difficult to have faith and believe that God is working for you.
Stop and take a deep breath.
Dig deep and keep believing that the answer will come. It won’t always be easy. I know because I’ve struggled to keep the faith more times than I can count.
But when I find myself doubting and starting to question whether God is even listening, you know what I do?
I tell him about it. Isn’t that what I would do in a relationship with anyone else?
Most importantly, I think about what Jesus Christ did for me, and what he wants for me. I don’t owe him anything, but I know he would love nothing more than to have me—all of me.
That’s the love Christ wants from us. Everything we get from him in return is called a blessing.
What about you? Why do you believe?