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Many Christians make the mistake of relating to God as if he were ‘in a box’, that they can keep on a shelf, until they have a life event that requires his help. It may seem to them to be a tidy and very convenient way of being a Christian. Their lives can go on as before, but they can still call on God ‘when they need him’. I know I used to live my Christian life in that way.
The problem with this approach to the Christian life, is that the God we claim to serve is a living God. It is impossible to put him into a box or place him in a corner only to call on him in an emergency.
If you pray to God and feel he isn't answering, your experience could be due to the simple fact that you do not know him as you should. Jesus explains in Luke 13:22-30, that simply wishing to enter God’s rest in Christ is not enough. The door to salvation is pictured as ‘narrow’ because we are meant to ‘strive’ to enter in. Our striving in the Spirit is our participation in the life of Christ (Philippians 3:12,14; Colossians 1:29; 1 Timothy 4:10).
Far from putting fear into our hearts, the truth of our union with Christ should encourage us to want to grow, as the apostle Peter admonishes us (2 Peter 3:18), in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. We do this by developing a personal relationship with Jesus, which will guard our minds, letting nothing but good through (Philippians 4:8).
I assure you that once you develop that personal relationship with God, your fears will melt away as you lean on him. God is loving beyond any description a person could ever set down in mere words. Even our faith comes to us from our loving God, as the free gift of his grace (Ephesians 2:8).
If you believe in Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of God, who died as a propitiation for our sins and was raised from the dead on the third day, then you should take yourself to a quiet place, free of distractions, and simply talk to your Heavenly Father. Trust and believe that he is there and listening, for he is. He will never turn you down when you ask in this manner. Tell him that you are his to use as he sees fit, as an instrument of his will, not of your own will (2 Timothy 2:20). Ask him to make himself known to you in a very personal way, through Christ who dwells in you by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:10; Galatians 2:20).
Always be truthful with God for, as your creator, he knows all about you and knows what is in your heart before you pray it (Matthew 6:8). God wants to have a personal relationship with you. God loves you unconditionally...love him back in the same way (1 John 4:19).
Now, go forward putting God before, within, and around you. Jesus told us to become perfect like our Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48). The closer you draw to God in Christ, the more you look, act, and think like him.
Read the scriptures with a view to becoming more acquainted with your Lord and Saviour, Jesus, and have a long personal talk with him each and every day.
God is real, we serve a living God (Hebrews 9:14), not a physical object that we can ‘put in a box’ and store away somewhere, expecting him to act when we call on him, only when we feel we need him. That’s not the God of scripture.
by Jim Newton
Oklahoma, USA - firstname.lastname@example.org
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