Religion or Relationship?

During our Wednesday Night Bible Study, we were talking about our current life in Christ. That is something far too many of us ignore. And, far too many of us fail to experience what we have been give through our life with Christ! Either we don’t know what we have, or if we know about it, we fail to make use of it.

You can see in our lives and you can hear in how we speak. I know brothers who allow football or golf to take the place of their Lord! For others, it is money. That my friends, is a shame. Because of their other “commitments,” they ignore our Lord’s directive to meet with other believers and to serve Him; to make Him to be the center of their lives.

As tragic as that is, some allow even good things to take the place of Christ. For instance, it could be the Bible, or even the meetings I already mentioned. Those things are great! As you know, I am always encouraging you to pray more, read Scriptures more and to gather with other believers. Each of those are extremely important . . . but they can also, take the place of your Lord.

Some are accustomed to meet with their psychiatrist every week. They say the need that hour with him (or her) to work out issues in their lives. That is okay. But some of us, the Sunday gatherings gives them they same kind of pick-me-up.

I understand that. Meetings can be wonderful. But friends, our spiritual lives should not be grounded in meetings, or even reading the Scriptures. Now, don’t neglect those things, but they should simply be “signposts,” to the reality that is found in our Savior!

We must be grounded in Him! There is an old hymn we used to sing:

My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;
all other ground is sinking sand,
all other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness veils his lovely face,
I rest on his unchanging grace;
in every high and stormy gale,
my anchor holds within the veil.

Paul was praying for the believers in Ephesus, that would be strengthened in our inner man. Now our meetings and the Scriptures we read can be helpful in strengthening us in our inner man, but they can also be a tremendous hindrance. It all depends n whether we are “meeting-centered,” or “Christ-centered.”

When I hear what some believers say, I wonder if they understand what they are “Christ-centered.” They will say, “Oh man! I really felt the presence of God, this morning!” Well, I sure hope so! But still I wonder where the Lord was before they came into the meeting? I mean, if we didn’t bring Him in with us, He is not here!

Honest. He isn’t hanging from the ceiling and falling on top of people when He feels they are ready for Him, or if the music is at just the right pitch! No, He doesn’t dwell in buildings built by men; He dwells in the lives of those who have invited Him in!

You chuckle, but I’m as serious as preacher on Sunday morning! Our Lord doesn’t live in places; He lives in the hearts of individuals. And that is something we need to wake up to! I love what one writer said,

“Look at yourself in a mirror . . . You are an expression of the glorified, eternal Christ who lives within you. Begin to believe that about yourself and you will start to experience His life as a daily reality.”

Oh man! That’s what each of us wants, isn’t it?

Echo of history
A light so many strain to see
The One we talk so much about
But rarely ever live it out

Could You tell me why
Was it for this You came and died
A once a week observance
When we coldly mouth Your words

Lord I long to see
Your presence in reality
But I don’t know how
Let me know You in the now

We should confess
We lose You in our busyness
We’ve made You in our image
So our faith’s idolatry

Lord, deliver me
Break my heart so I can see
All the ways You dwell in us
That You’re alive in me

Lord I long to see
Your presence in reality
But I don’t know how
Let me know You in the now

My dear friends. Please understand that if Christ is at the meeting when you go there, it is because you brought Him with you! He is with you any time, any day, and in any situation. Some say I a “so spiritual. You must spend a lot of time alone with the Lord. How much time do you spend alone with Him?”

I think about that, and my response is normally, “Well, when you leave, then I will be alone with Him.” You see, I am with Him all day. He is in me, and I am one with Him. This isn’t some silly “religious” game or anything. Some philosophical mindset. Goodness no. I have not choice but to be with Him continually. When I am with other people, I am with Him; and when I am alone, I am with Him. And, if two or three us are together, then wow! He is really there in our midst!

No really, when you ask me about being “alone” with the Lord, do you think I call Him up on a special phone and say, “Lord, hey! Next week, say about 2:00 each day, can we get together? I will pencil it in, and you can have your “people” get a hold of my “people,” and see if we can confirm that . . .”

Whoa! Is that what you think you have to do? That to be alone with the Lord you have to drive to some mountain somewhere? I hope not. Because He is with you all the time. Just call to him. You are in a relationship with Him, the closest relationship a person could possibly have! That’s right, He is IN you!

We can engage in a continual conversation with Him. If I have been talking to you, as you are leaving, I say, “Lord, bless them.” Folks, it’s not a religion, it is a relationship. Our fellowship is probably getting tired of my examples, but a few times I have told them that I am in the habit of praying for the family in a funeral procession. I don’t complain about the delay it might cause, but instead, I say, “Father, please comfort the family of the deceased. Give the Grace they will need. Comfort them and help to recognize that you are the One comforting them.”

You know, this is so important for us to understand, and I have so much more to share with you.  Let me carry this on some more in the next few messages.

Doulos Studies

(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list: Mail List)

I do thank you for your gifts.
It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.

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