Recently, a lady in my Sunday School class shared that someone had told her not to take little things to Jesus. Jesus isn’t to be bothered with little things. He has too much to do. My first thoughts were that Jesus is supposed to be our friend. He wants a relationship with us. Do you only talk to your friends about the “big” things in your life? What a bizarre perspective! My real friends and I talk about everything. Silly things, things that don’t matter, things that make us happy, scary things, big things, medium-sized things, and yeah…little things. If a person only talked to me about the big things in their life, I have to say, I don’t think I’d really consider them a friend. That’s weird. We wouldn’t really have a relationship.
I thought this was pretty much the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard, and upon further reflection, I realized this person has no idea how to have a relationship with Jesus. So…let me share with you a little about how I see my relationship with Jesus, and show you how you can jump-start your relationship with Him using these simple steps.
We need to begin by analyzing what real friendship looks like. One of the best ways to do that…is to start off with a bad friendship. Each of us has known someone at some point in our lives that we didn’t think was a very good friend. Think of that person right now. What was it that made them a bad friend? Take a look at this list, and see if some of this rings true for that friendship.
There are many more signs I could list, but we’ll stick to these six. You probably see your bad friend somewhere among the six, if not all.
While this is focused on human friendship, if we use this list to take an HONEST look at our relationship with Jesus, some of you might be shocked at yourself.
Let’s dive in.
****NOTE: the questions & comments posed in this section are meant to provoke self-analysis. I make no judgement on you or your particular situation. God is your judge, and He already knows about you and your situation.
1. Do you find yourself criticizing or blaming God for things? Be honest. Maybe you’ve lost someone you love, and you can’t seem to get through it because in your heart you are blaming God. Perhaps you look at certain aspects in the world today and you find yourself criticizing God for the condition of the world – why does He let this happen?
Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Find your truth.
This could be happening to you and you aren’t consciously aware of it. You may even be actively convincing yourself that you’re not mad at God.
Hey…guess what? It’s okay to be mad at God. But you can’t stay that way. You can be upset. You can ask why. But then…you have to go to Him for the answers, and you may not get any. But you have to turn to Him. He will comfort and heal you.
There is a season for everything known to man. A time to weep, and a time to laugh. A time to mourn, and a time to dance. (Ecclesiastes 3) It’s important that you notice in these verses that outline good and bad things, that He shows us the bad first, and we end with the good. God wants our happiness. What is the very last thing that happens to us…WE GO TO HEAVEN! How awesome is that? But, we have to die first. Yeah…I know, bummer.
God wants us to find our happiness in Him. Pray and ask Him to reveal to you any critical thoughts you may be holding in your heart. Ask Him to remove any blame you may be harboring for Him. Tell Him you love Him. He will relieve you of your suffering.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
2. Do you only spend time with Jesus when you need something? Are you one of those people who only pray when you have to? Maybe you think prayer is silly, unnecessary, or just optional. Perhaps you see prayer as something those really devoted “Jesus Freaks” do, and you just aren’t that kind of Christian. Or, it could be that you find yourself in a season in your walk with God that you just can’t even pray. You feel so far away from Him, you can’t even pray.
Well, there’s an answer for each one of these scenarios my friend. It’s all the same no matter the circumstance. Get on your knees right now and tell Him exactly how you feel.
Don’t wait until you stop sinning, get your life straight, read the Bible or some other book, go back to church, or whatever else you’re letting the devil convince you needs to be done.
PRAY RIGHT NOW!
Don’t know what to say? Start with that. “Lord, I don’t even know what to say.” Open the lines of communication and just talk.
Let me tell you something. The devil doesn’t want you to pray. He knows that prayer is the most powerful of all tools in developing our relationship with the Lord. He will throw literally EVERYTHING in your path to keep you from it.
Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance (Ephesians 6:18).
“You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you”—this is the Lord’s declaration. (Jeremiah 29:12-14)
Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Phillipians 4:6-7)
If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you. (John 15:7)
3. Do you evade responsibility, try to just leave everything to Jesus? If the Lord didn’t want you to watch porn, He wouldn’t make it so easy to access. He knows you’re gonna be tempted. Right? You see…the thing about the free will of man is it’s a beautiful thing, but it’s an awesome power that many do not understand and do not properly equip themselves to wield.
Adam & Eve could freely choose to heed God’s command in the Garden of Eden, yet they chose – freely – not to, (Genesis 3). Then, when they were caught, they proceeded to blame everybody else except themselves.
As Christians, we must take responsibility for what that means. We are responsible for our sinful nature. We must strive to be more Christ-like every day. This is not something we are ever going to complete. This is something we are going to do our whole lives. There is no finish line.
We must get up, every day, and prepare for battle with Satan. God will be with us, but it is our responsibility to be the prepared Christian warrior He expects us to be.
Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word. (Ephesians 6)
4. How often do you think of Jesus? Christmas and Easter, or are you a good Sunday-morning-only kinda Christian? Are the only times you think about Jesus the times when you are going to go to church? Have you found yourself so buried in your worldly pursuits (job, school, yard work, house work, caring for an elderly parent, volunteering at the hospital, reading to the blind, whatever) that Jesus never crosses your mind on a day-to-day basis?
What about contemplating Jesus’ feelings? Have you ever wondered how Jesus feels now about anything, how He felt when He was at the wedding celebration of a friend and turned water into wine for the enjoyment of all, or when He was being nailed to the cross?
Sometimes, your lack of action hurts Jesus more than anything else.
5. Do you listen to what Jesus has to say? Do you just expect Jesus to listen to what you have to say?
The line of communication goes two-ways. Jesus speaks to us in many ways: His Word & the Holy Spirit are two examples. Scripture is Jesus. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1).
Get in your Bible and read the scriptures. You will begin to know and understand God. Listen to what He has to say. The entirety of Your word is truth, and all Your righteous judgments endure forever, (Psalm 119:160).
Listen to the Holy Spirit that is within you. It is a gift from God. It will lead, guide, and direct you if you let it.
He poured out this Spirit on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, (Titus 3:6).
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit—the Father will send Him in My name—will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you, (John 14:26).
In the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings, (Romans 8:26).
6. Do you keep your word to Jesus? Of course, He will forgive you if you don’t. That’s His nature. But do you find yourself trapped in a cycle of sin? Something you keep telling yourself you’re gonna stop doing, maybe you even pray about it and tell Jesus you’re gonna stop doing it. But then…you fall into Satan’s trap once again.
This time, you don’t have to think of something really bad like porn. How about the fact that you can barely drag yourself to church Sunday morning in time to come in just as preaching starts?
That’s not really a sin is it? I mean, you’re trying…right? You’re saved. You go to church.
Search your heart. Look with honest eyes. Are you broken over something you can’t overcome?
Well…you know where to find the answer. Jesus is the ONLY place.
Join me next week for Part 2 of “Jump-Start Your Relationship with Jesus Using These Simple Steps”, where I finish Step 1, the most thought provoking step, and explain the final steps, so you can start immediately with a new and revived relationship with your Lord and Savior.
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