There is one thing that Christianity offers over every other single religion on the planet – well, more than one, but aside from a risen Saviour and forgiveness of sins and a multitude of other vital requirements, our God is the only One with whom we can actually have a relationship! Unlike the Muslims or the Hindus, Buddhists etc who worship unknown gods and can never be sure if their prayers are even being heard let alone answered, we have a God who actually resides within us through His Holy Spirit and with whom we thus have continual commune. We have a God who desires to hear His people talk to Him and tell them what He already knows. And we have a God who absolutely works to help us to hear Him speak to us in a multitude of ways, but especially through our conscience. How many times you will hear of a Christian who says that they were about to undertake some action, but something stopped them, or they knew instinctively to do something would be wrong. And I’m not talking the obvious sins here, but more the subtle ones that Paul spoke about when he said that if someone thinks something is wrong, then it is sin for him to do that thing, even if for another person it may not be e.g. eating pork.
We have the privilege of spending time with an immense incomprehensible but knowable Creator God Who knows our every need before we even ask Him, and Who knows the end from the beginning (not so hard when you’re outside of time!), and who wants to give us our best life but not in the way Joel Osteen tells you. God knows that the means to enjoy the best life He can provide for us, is for us to be wholly submitted to His Will and to serve Him as He has shown us in scripture, and as He reveals to us each day. The joy obtained from being in the centre of His Will is unlike anything else on earth and is truly something outside of ourselves and not provided by anything the world can offer. The certainty He provides in knowing our ultimate destination is awesome, and again, not something you could just gain from positive thinking. To know beyond any shadow of a doubt that He exists, your salvation is secure, and Heaven is your guaranteed home for eternity (and not just the vain hope that it might be) is something I would imagine most people would desire to have.
But it is a relationship nonetheless and that’s the important thing. And you can’t forge any relationship without spending time with the other Person and learning more about them. Unlike in life though, we don’t have to tell God all about our life as He already knows it, but yet there is something utterly cathartic in bringing all our woes and worries before Him in prayer. And that is another privilege we have – to be able to speak frankly and openly with God without rite or rhyme, just as you would to a family member, and indeed He Himself has chosen to grant us that awesome privilege of knowing Him as our Father. And He absolutely should be the only one to be given that title for that also is scriptural yet so many nowadays think what Jesus said should just be ignored. But you can’t hold Him as your Father unless you are born into His family and that’s where the infamous rebirth comes into play:
John 3:3-7: Jesus answered and said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus said to Him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Sometimes people miss that vital point – that unless you are “reborn” spiritually you cannot (note, no ifs, maybe’s, or possibly’s!!) enter the Kingdom of God. It’s nonnegotiable. You dare not meander through life thinking that when you die you’ll somehow then have the opportunity to plead your case with God – only Jesus can do that for you and only on this side of the grave. I grieve for all of those who (solely) because of their relgious denomination or faith believe (errantly) that they are already made right with God without having to do anything themselves other than attend services or reel off proscribed ritualistic passages. You cannot work your way into heaven any more than a baby in the womb can somehow work itself into being a child to its parents. God alone grants you that opportunity to become part of His Family and to be made right with Him so as to be allowed entry to heaven (see my other posts on this topic). You cannot have a true relationship with God just be determining it in and of itself – God is the only one who can initiate it and maintain it and provide you with that very same joy and knowledge He has provided to countless others who’ve known it so strongly they’ve been willing to die for it. I trust if you don’t have that type of relationship today, you will take the time to reassess why and to ensure you do whatever it takes to gain it and join the awesome true family of God for eternity.