19 August 2012

Do You Have A Relationship With Jesus Or A Book?

It's time you realize what a real relationship with Jesus is. 99% of the Christian population claims they have a real relationship with Jesus, when in fact they don't (and it shows).
Too many only hear what they read in the Bible.

I've been in church all my life. During this time I was told by many pastors that in order to have a real relationship with Jesus I had to do a few things. First, I had to confess I wanted Jesus in my life. Next, I needed to repeat a prayer and ask Jesus to forgive my sins. After the "sinner's prayer," there were more steps to follow. For one, I was told to have a daily "quiet time." During this quiet time, I would need to set aside at least 30 minutes dedicated to the Lord. This was done to help me focus on praying and meditating on God's Word. Also, it was important that I showed up to church as often as I could (it was frowned upon if I couldn't at least appear on Sunday's). You have to understand that if you didn't regularly come to church, you were "forsaking the assembly" (Heb 10:23-25). On top of that, everyone knew you needed to be in the House of God in order to worship Jesus with any real significance (it helps to have a band or traditional organ to set the mood). Of course, every church is different and many have their own set of guidelines that save you from Hell.

As time would go on, the demands, commands, and rules would increase (i.e. tithing, giving to missions, praying at the alter on your knees, confessing your sins, fasting etc). You see, if I didn't follow all these rules very well, it was clear that I didn't love God like I should and I needed to re-evaluate my priorities (John 14:15-21). However, none of this means anything. I was better at following the rules than anyone and it got me nowhere. I literally believed I had a real relationship with Jesus just because I asked him into my heart, went to church, prayed, and read my Bible regularly. However, this could be further from the truth.

A real relationship means you actually talk to God, and he talks back. Some people say they hear an occasional audible voice (like the sound of James Earl Jones or something), but I don't know anyone who has. And, I've never heard such a voice. Honestly, hearing him with your ears would be strange since he lives inside of you (John 16:5-11).

Now, if the "voice" you're hearing is only words you read in the Bible, then you're not hearing him at all. You're just reading what God said to someone else. Any person who's ever read the Bible would soon realize that every single man and woman, who did anything of significance, actually had conversations with Jesus. They all had a real relationship with him like you would your friend. However, 99% of us don't really have a clue what he sounds like because we've only been taught how to follow rules. If the only voice you hear is what you read in God's Word, then you have a relationship with a book. You know what the book says and memorize all the words that Jesus told someone else, but that doesn't mean you have a conversation with him. Do you just read a biography about your spouse and think you know them? No, you actually hang out with your loved one on an intimate level.

How much more important is your relationship with Jesus than any other relationship (John 16:12-15)? You need to be hanging out with the guy on a minute-to-minute basis. And, it's not like he's very far away; he lives inside of you and he's everywhere you go. Have you ever loved or desired to be with someone so much that you wish they could be inside of you? Well, that's how much Jesus wants to be near you and why he deposited his Spirit in your temple (1 Cor 6:19-20). No person could ever be so close as to be inside of you (well, except for when you're having sex ~:-)

Most Christians claim that knowing what's written in the Bible is what Jesus meant by, "my sheep know my voice..." (John 10:25-30). Frankly, that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. What good is a sheep that knows about Jesus, but can't hear him when he calls? How else are you supposed to get direction in your daily life?

Honestly, I guarantee most ministers don't know God's voice, either. They certainly know the Bible, have it memorized, and know the Greek and Hebrew inside and out, but they wouldn't have a clue if Jesus walked in the room. If Jesus stepped into their church one Sunday, they'd be like, "Oh look! We have a new visitor. Give him a bulletin and a new visitor's card. Maybe I can get him saved." Then, they'd walk over to him after service and introduce themselves because they've never met.

Most clergy and scholars believe that knowing a passage's true context is deep enough revelation to help with daily difficulties. Really? How is that going to help anyone? What if a person lost his job and God was trying to tell him to put an application in at the bank? But, since he doesn't hear God, he keeps going to department stores, instead. Show me that in the Bible. Exactly, that's why having a relationship with him is so important. Only through him can we get help for present-day struggles.

These pastors may be very confident in their knowledge of the Word, but that's really all they know and that's why they're not helping anyone get to know God's voice. They can't see past the black and white pages they read. I know someone else who's confident in their knowledge of the Bible: Satan. Frankly, Satan has a better relationship with God then most "men of God" do because at least they talk face-to-face and share their future plans with one another (Job 1:1-12). The devil doesn't have the Spirit to guide him, but we do.
God can even use movies or donkeys to speak to us.

Besides, a person with a relationship with Jesus will always know more than anyone who only knows the Bible. I get direction straight from the Source - not just from words that other prophets or apostles heard Jesus say long ago. Their story is meant to inspire us and show we can do even greater things (John 14:12-14). I'm not saying that the whole Word is not God-breathed, but that God simply didn't stop talking at the book of Revelations (2 Tim 3:15-17). Jesus said he planted the whole Word in our hearts (Jam 1:19-25). And, since the Holy Spirit is in us, he reveals all the words that come from the Father's mouth (Mat 4:3-4).

God shares new things with me all the time (Pro 1:20-23). For example, I can be reading in Genesis and straight up ask him why he made Eve from Adam's rib and not some other body part. Then, he'll tell me. He'll give me more details or better explain any situation I have a question about. It's beyond cool! Sometimes I get a response right away and other times I'll have to wait. Next thing I know, I see something in a movie or hear someone else confirm an impression he puts in my heart and it all makes sense. Honestly, if you're not sitting down and reading the Bible with God, then you're missing all the cool details. It's like reading the best book in the world with your best friend, except he hears and understands your every thought.

Honestly, if what you see in black and white is how you "hear" from God, then you might as well just read some lines from Harry Potter. It's not much different. Otherwise, you're just another person reading another good book.


Robert said...

I can honestly say that I think I have heard God's voice *audibly* once in my life, and I remember sharing what I heard in Youth Group. I do not however believe that I am a "better christian" than anyone else as a result of that. God speaks to us through his word, and when he wants to show us something in a particular passage he will lay that on our heart.

Having a relationship with God means spending time in his word and praying to him, he will speak to us in one way or the other, whether it is showing us something in a particular passage, or he may say something to us during a prayer, but we need to just "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness" and let God take care of the rest. We will grow in him as long as we continue to run after him.

Dathan Ellis said...

Could you share what you heard God say? What did God's voice sound like when he spoke to you audibly? Also, could you share with others how to hear God's voice?

Allison said...

Love this one Dathan! :) Keep going the way you are my friend, I agree and appreciate your blogs! :)