“If we spent the same amount of time and energy pouring into our relationship with God that we do with other people and friends, how much closer would we be with the Lord?”
I found this to be such a simple yet profound challenge! It really convicted me in my relationship with the Lord. You see, I put a lot into my relationships with friends and family. I realized that I don’t put anywhere near that much effort into my relationship with the Lord when viewed in these terms.
Now, I believe that it is absolutely necessary to establish friendships. Especially as women we desperately need other women to confide in, to learn from and spend time with. The bible charges women to be godly examples one for another:
Ã ஓTitus 2:3-5 “The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”
This verse explains that not only are we to have relationships with other Christian women, but we are to learn from them and should be living in such a way that Christians younger in the faith than we may learn from us also.
The bible also says that there is wisdom in a multitude of counselors. We should indeed seek out godly Christians for counsel and advice.
Ã ஓ Proverbs 11:14 “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.”
So yes, we need friends & to be able to go to other’s for godly counsel.
What got me from this statement though, what really convicted me and forced me to my knee was that I far too often go to people before God with my problems, stress and worry etc. This isn’t the way the Lord intended things to be. Only God deserves our complete loyalty.
Ã ஓThe Bible says in Proverbs 18:24 “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”
That friend “that sticketh closer than a brother” is Jesus. I looked up the word friend in my Strongs concordance and the Websters 1828 dictionary:
Ã ஓ Strongs: Friend-an associate (more or less close):-brother, companion, fellow, friend, husband, lover, neighbor.
Ã ஓWebster’s 1828: Friend- One who is attached to another by affection; one who entertains for another sentiments of esteem, respect and affection, which lead him to desire his company, and to seek to promote his happiness and prosperity; opposed to foe or enemy.
WOW! When you think of Jesus, your Lord and Savior, do you view Him in this light as well? As your friend, your most trusted companion? To be honest, I don’t always have this view of Him. Thankfully, the Lord DOES esteem us as His friend. If you are saved-a follower of Christ- then my friend, guess what? Jesus IS your best friend!
The Bible backs these thoughts up. The Lord spoke to Moses like a friend often and Jesus called His followers friends.
ஓ Exodus 33:11a “And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp”
Ã ஓ John 15:13-16 “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.”
I love this passage of scripture. There’s so much in those four verses. First, Jesus laid down his life for His friends. Second, We are His friends if we accept and follow Him. Third, God does not view us as servants, but friends!!! Lastly, He has chosen YOU, me, us!
Reading through Karen Kingsbury’s challenge and these scriptures reminds me that Jesus always deserves the preeminence in my life, mind and heart.
So how can we apply this concept of relating to Jesus as our friend and turning to Him first in our lives?
First, Ye must be born again, John 3:7! If you do not have a relationship with Christ then that is where you need to start. This is the best decision you will ever make. It is as simple as recognizing that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. Nothing you can do or work towards will ever earn you your way into heaven. Nothing you do can make you measure up to Christ. Recognize HIS work on the cross. Jesus came to earth and walked as God in the flesh. Jesus never sinned. He is the only person that has ever lived a perfect and blameless life. He died on the cross for you. He suffered a sinner’s death, so that you could have a way to Him, a way to heaven. All you have to do is acknowledge this fact. Accept Him as your Lord and Savior in your heart. Ask Him to forgive you of your sins, come into your heart and save you.
Once this step has been taken then the most vital step in maintaining your relationship with Jesus is to cultivate that relationship. You put time and effort into your relationships with your spouses, children, family and friends. The truth is that we find the time to do the things we want to do. The things that we deem important we carve out time for and just make it work. Jesus is the best friend you will ever have. He will never leave you or forsake you, Hebrews 13:5. He doesn’t disappoint, He doesn’t hurt you, He always fulfills His promises and always comes through. Nothing in this life can come close to the joy you can have when you are drawing close to Jesus. You can have as much of Him as you want to. There is no limit. He never tires of spending time with you.
So, how do we obtain this closeness? How do we get more of Jesus?
Pray. Every day. Without ceasing, 1 Thessalonians 5:17. This can be a confusing concept. It doesn’t mean that you are to be on your knees, eyes closed in prayer every waking moment. “It is an attitude of God-consciousness and God-surrender that we carry with us all the time. Every waking moment is to be lived in an awareness that God is with us and that He is actively involved and engaged in our thoughts and actions. As we go through the day, prayer should be our first response to every fearful situation, every anxious thought, and every undesired task that God commands. A lack of prayer will cause us to depend on ourselves instead of depending on God's grace. Unceasing prayer is, in essence, continual dependence upon and communion with the Father.” - http://www.gotquestions.org/pray-without-ceasing.html
Ã Set apart time during your day to read and study the Bible. I cannot stress how critical it is to your spiritual life to not only read and study God’s word but to store it in your heart. Speaking from personal experience I know how easy it is to slack up in this area. Life get’s busy and we must purpose in our hearts to make this a priority. As I said earlier, we make time for those things that are important to us. Carve out the time in your day to get in God’s word. The Bible has everything we need to live spirit filled lives. To be godly women, wives, mothers and friends. It is light for our path. It draws us closer to the Lord every time we pick it up. God’s word is the key ingredient in being close to Him.
Ã As I said, we can have as much of Jesus as we want. The more we get of Him and the more time we spend with Him, the more that we are going to want of Him. Pray while you are going about your daily activities. This is how you pour yourself into your relationship with the Lord. This is how you draw nearer to Him. Instead of calling a friend to talk on a drive or during a lull in your day, talk to Jesus. You don’t even have to use up your minutes for that. He offers an unlimited plan! When you are facing trials, stress and etc. think on the bible verses that you have read through during your daily readings.
The key point here is that Jesus is always with you. If you can imagine him being at your side you will more easily communicate with him. There is a story called “Jesus’ Chair” that details a person doing just that, imagining Jesus sitting in the chair next to him and that helped this man know how to really pray.
So, in closing I would like to challenge you to take a step of Faith and trust Jesus with your heart if you have not done so already. If you are already a Christian then I challenge you to pour more of yourself into Him daily. Study the bible more, pray more and put Him first in your life. I have accepted this challenge in my own life and am striving daily to put Him first and pour more of myself into my relationship with Him.
2 Timothy 2:15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”