“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. – John 14:16-18 (NASB)
When did you become a Christian? The first time that I was asked this question I was twelve. It was the first time that I had ever gone to a church camp, and it was one of the leaders that had posed the question. To say I was not prepared for it would be a colossal understatement.
Although I am certain that, at that moment, I bore a striking resemblance to a goldfish, I will forever be thankful that that question was asked when it was. Like most other children who grew up in an environment where I was surrounded by other Christians, and who couldn’t remember a time that I didn’t believe in Christ as my saviour, this was rather difficult for me to answer. “I’ve always been a Christian,” was how I replied, but the leader was not pleased with that answer. It made me truly think about it, and delve into my relationship with God. I came to realise, I did not have one.
Sure I believed in God, Jesus and the cross, but I didn’t know God on a personal level. I knew the Bible but did not know the author. This was a major turning point in my walk with Christ.
Before this, I was quite content with going to church on Sunday, reading the Bible in a morning devotion with my mother, and then forgetting about God the rest of the time, going about life just as any other person would. I was not after God’s heart, I did not have a personal relationship with him, I did not truly know Him.
But that would all change after that day. It didn’t happen overnight, but I slowly began to seek God out more and more in my everyday life, and eventually, I began to form a real relationship with Him. It has never been perfect, it still isn’t, an there are times when I felt like I have not only reverted to the way that I used to be but might have gone backward. But, when I am in a good place with God, I revel in the indescribable feeling of awareness of His presence and influence in my life at every moment, the awareness that He knows me. It is quite something.
One of the things that greatly helped me in my growth, was prayer. Sure we all pray in church, and most of us probably pray when we wake up or just before we go to bed, but I, and probably many of you, would recite the words that I knew I was supposed to say without giving them or the Person on the other side of the prayer much thought. What truly helped me was to take prayer on almost like a conversation. I maintained the greatest respect I could whilst doing this, but the slightly more ‘casual’ format helped me to realise that I wasn’t just talking to the walls. I also found myself doing this more often throughout the day, keeping a running conversation going with Him in my head. This further lead to me pondering what I was saying. Sure, we say “Father” but that does that mean to us? We say “Lord”, but what did that word mean when it was first used, does it still mean the same to us, has it lost some of it’s meaning to me due to overuse?
Every one of us has our relationship with God, and where we are in this relationship may vary at different times, but we must remember that believing in God is not the end of the road for us. God loves every one of us and would like to build a relationship with us, that will allow us to flourish spiritually. I never realised what I was missing out on until I saw just a glimpse of what is possible.
So I ask you, do you have a relationship with God?