I was sitting in church this past week-end, contemplating the beginning of the year and those things that I am setting forth as my goals for enriching my journey of faith in 2013. It seems that I feel close to God, and then for some inexplicable reason, I find myself, at times, searching for a closer relationship with Him. This week-end, during our weekly church service, I was in one of those places where I was basking in the closeness of of God and the worship team starting singing a song about the awesome nature of God.
I was taken by surprise and found myself a little overwhelmed at trying to wrap my brain around the supreme sacrifice that God made – by sending His Son to earth in bodily form and then sacrificing Him for the sins of the world – and that means the sins of everyone. Whether they believed in God or not. Because whether they acknowledge it or not, Jesus died for all of us – past, present and future.
When I was back in seminary, I felt close to God every day. After all, not only was I in classes, but I spent a significant amount of time in prayer and on top of that, I was always hanging around God centered people. Years of being in that environment tend to rub off and perhaps you have heard it said that you become like the people that you spend time with. I like to think that being with my classmates for all those years really did help me turn into a more God centered person myself.
But what I have always had trouble dealing with is how easy it is to get caught up in the things of the world and how quickly we can be enticed to be drawn away from God – spending time on our own agendas rather that focusing on the work of the kingdom and how we can advance the cause of Christ on this earth. Eventually, habits that have been formed can start to be eroded and then we find ourselves wondering where our close relationship with God has gone. I worry about that…
And while we sin, and are enticed by the things of the world, just stop for a moment and think that Christ led a sinless life – that’s right – totally sinless, a perfect life. To be truthful about it, I am not so sure that I can even go a day without sinning. Oh, maybe they aren’t major sins, but I know that I am prone to issues of pride and instant gratification, or self-indulgence. I would do well to practice a little more humility and self discipline.
Although I have read the Bible a number of times, I really should start it over again. Even those of us who have studied the Bible for years tend to forget things if we don’t stay current in our devotions each day. And while I spend time in the Scriptures each day in preparation for these posts, it’s not the same as reading for my own consumption. That has to change as well. Quite honestly, one of the concerns that those of us have who attended seminary is that we spend so much time learning ABOUT God that we can adversely affect our relationship WITH God.
So when those times come that I just contemplate the awesome nature of God, I am usually richly rewarded and rejuvenated. The sacrifices of Jesus and so many of His followers to advance the cause of Christianity are truly beyond comprehension. We have it so easy in this country compared to other places in the world where religious freedoms do not exit. So rather than drone on about how great God is, it’s time for the verse of the day. Tonight’s verse is from 1 John 4:10, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
My encouragement this evening is that God loves each of us more than we can possibly imagine. And God is greater than our feeble human minds can even remotely comprehend. My prayer is that as this years starts, you will once again affirm that you wish to stay close to the Father and His Son; and that you will renew your commitment to your faith and just let the awesome nature of God wash over you – now and forevermore. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…