Each one of us can think of those relationships that have been so powerful that they have brought change in our lives. All of these relationships usually have one thing in common. It was a relationship where we were accepted, appreciated, valued, and loved. It is interesting that those are the relationships that we remember as being the most influential. The relationships that are harsh, unaccepting, condemning, and demanding never have that kind of a force in our lives.
We should always see and know that our relationship with the Lord is never abrasive, demanding, condemning, or judgmental. If it is, then you do not have a proper relationship with Jesus. If it is, then it is due to incorrect teaching.
As you begin to see that Scripture paints a different picture, you can change this. Scripture teaches not only that we serve a God of love but a God who loves us uniquely and individually, just as certainly as He loves us corporately.
THE CONCEPT FINDS FULFILLMENT IN JESUS
Here is the correct picture of God’s love for you. He pants after you, and He longs to be in relationship with you just as you are. He has an eager and ardent desire to be around you. You are the apple of His eye. He not only wants to be a loving father to you, but He wants to be a friend to you; in fact, the kind of friend that sticks closer than a brother. He is totally accepting of you. He is not asking you to become a robot, to dance to His tune, or to change your personality.
Does that mean that He always approves of what you do? No. He is, however, strong enough to accept you and work with you and certainly patient enough to let the force of the relationship change the things that you do that do not please Him. If you are wrapping your life with Him, the force of that relationship is strong enough to change the things that He wants you to change.
It will come easily because you will want to do it. You will want to be different than you are today because you value the relationship to that degree. God is always moving toward you. He wants to possess the object of His affection. The object of His affection is you. You may say, “I can’t find God, I don’t know where He is.” The answer is quite simple: Stand still. He will find you! He will work with you like a potter works with a piece of clay. He is totally accepting of your personality. You do not have to change in order to find Him. Stand still; He will find you.
I can remember a few years ago seeing a very popular bumper sticker on cars. That bumper sticker had three words: “I found it.” This was obviously a statement about a person finding a relationship with the Lord. The only problem with this was that it was incorrect. They did not find the Lord. The Lord found them. He is the one moving toward you. He loves you so very much that every time He gets around you He wants to give to you. We call that “grace.”
Some have grabbed onto this theory and made it about money. The “God-wants-me-rich” syndrome. I suppose that will always be the case for those that value money and things above relationship. The best thing that the Lord can give you is himself. The best thing that you can have is Jesus. He is sufficient. You don’t need any add-ons. It is Jesus period. It is not Jesus plus works.
I agree that the believer should have good works in their life. However, these works should be as a result of the relationship not to “get” a relationship or even to feel more “comfortable” or “accepted” in the relationship. An honest and intimate relationship with Jesus always settles the question of who is the “master,” and who is the “servant.”
Beware of any theology that makes the Lord your servant, because its birthplace is in the pit of hell. There are indeed “conditions” of relationship with the Lord just as there are “conditions” of relationship with anyone else. He is the stronger party in the relationship. He is the master. He is not at your beck and call. You can’t even use the Bible to order Him around.
Have you ever suffered with the feelings of inadequacy? Have you ever had feelings of inferiority? Is it not refreshing to know that the Lord is not a respecter of persons? What is the answer to these problems of inferiority, inadequacy, or guilt?
Jesus is the answer. An in-depth, face-to-face relationship with the living God is the answer to this: Get close to Jesus, and His adequacy becomes yours. His esteem will become your esteem. You will find, over the course of time, that what you feel about yourself will become buried in Him. This is what we call God-esteem. We are all so very worried about self-esteem. Thousands of books have been written on how to develop a positive self-esteem. The answer is to bury your esteem in the person of Jesus and let His unchanging love for you build you into what He wants you to be.
NEW TESTAMENT CONFIRMATION
In Matthew 22:37 we read:
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
Many have said that this Scripture is like the chicken and the egg. Which comes first? The Bible tells us that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom.” We must first start with the Lord. After we accept Him as Lord and Savior, we begin the process of building a face-to-face relationship with Him. This is not an overnight thing. It takes time to build an in-depth relationship with Him, just as it does with anyone else. There is a difference, however. He first loved us. This is not theory, but practicality. He pants after you, He longs for you, He has a great desire to be with you, around you, and in you. As much as you think you want Him, it is nothing in comparison to the degree He wants you.
Is it not much easier to be around someone when you are absolutely convinced that the person really does love you and accept you for what you are? All good relationships go through three stages: acquaintance, friendship, and then intimacy. Jesus would like to get to know you. He is the friend that sticks closer than a brother, and you are part of His bride (the church). All three stages are represented here.
You are totally accepted by him. As you move with confidence into that relationship, you will find that you begin to change. What is important to him becomes important to you. The way He thinks is the way you begin to think. His goals begin to be your goals. You are twisting and binding your life with His. Continue