Weekly Sabbath Survey
Relating to God and Man — 6-25-2016
You probably heard, “Christianity is not a religion, it’s a relationship.” There are rules, but the relationship with God is the important part of our faith. And there is a connection between our relationship with God and our relationships with people. Those who love and trust God, are many times more likely to be ones who can love and trust people. (Much forgiving and forgetting, over and over again.) Most of us manage to love our children this way. God the Father loves us in many ways, parent to child is one of the most basic. We need to work on loving people in that very patient and forgiving way we do our kids.
God gives us salvation through Jesus, but it is our choice to accept it. If we don’t accept and live a life in Him, salvation is a gift we never opened! For some, once they hear the extreme requirements of belonging to God (things like ‘sin no more’), they back away from submission to a surrendered life. For them, God is some divine Boss we must make a truce with in order to survive. They do not see the Lord as a Savior bringing rewards and gifts. They see Him more like a slave master, taking our freedom from us. So they think of other people the same way — always wanting something. This lack of trust makes them see most everyone (even God) as the opposite of “friend.” On some level or the other, people are at best an opponent or competitor, at worst a full-tilt enemy. Those who see it that way may trust the Lord for eternal life, but cannot trust Him with life down here.
It can be difficult to understand how He knows so much more about us than we know about ourselves. He knows what is best for us. He protects us, and He LOVES us. Some of us want to belong to Him, but do not want Him as a companion, teacher or guide. They want to be in charge of their own life. They just do not want His interference with their plans. They think they have salvation, and want nothing more. Then, when something bad happens (and it inevitably will) they are quick to blame Him and doubt everything they thought they believed. They can’t or won’t TRUST Him. (When my Mama died at age 56, a dear pastor friend told me: “WHY?” is a question God almost never answers. So, don’t ask, just trust!) I didn’t ask, I trusted, and I found Jesus to be the Healer of broken hearts.)
We must relate to others with love. We must relate to God with trust. We do this by surrendering our life daily to Him, and hanging around with other people who are going for that same thing. Following after Jesus in a loving atmosphere makes us more like Him! The problem doesn’t just go away immediately or completely. The human condition is just that way. Dog Eat Dog. But even dogs learned to run in packs in order to survive! They learned how to work together. Anyone who has had dogs knows that they squabble at times. Our two wrestle over toys, have races to see who is the fastest, and grab each other’s treats. At the end of the day, they pile up together on one of their beds or the big leather chair we gave them, and sleep the night away. Humans still have not evolved completely to the stage of sticking together for the good of us all. We will bore holes in our end of the boat hoping to sink the guy at the other end!
We must acknowledge that Jesus is the Shepherd and we are His sheep. The image of us as sheep depicts us as the most vulnerable and unable to help ourselves group in the human world. This was done by design to point out the truth of our extreme need for a Savior and each other! Otherwise, we are left skulking around the alleys and dark corners of life looking for a pocket to pick or begging passersby for a few bills to buy a little food. We are suspicious of everyone and trust no one.
Who in their right mind would want THAT when they could be walking through green pastures beside peaceful water with Jesus and the other happy sheep?
It is written, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard . . . the things which God has prepared for those that love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9, Isaiah 64:4
Charlene Reams Manning, Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah
Copyright February 2016
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