Is There More?

This morning I called a man I admire, Frank Dalmut, just to see what God had been teaching him. He was my American History teacher in high school, assistant principal and today is a pastor of a small Southern Baptist Church. I don’t know why I don’t call other Christians more often just to learn what God has been teaching them, but I am glad I did today and plan to do so more often. Our conversation was along these lines…

Is there more to being a Christian and our relationship with God than reading the bible and praying? And, for the purposes of this post, I’m also not thinking about works. Works are key, as we see in James, in the letters to the churches in Revelation, and in Jesus talking about the sheep and the goats, but what I am asking about here is our personal relationship with the Father. Are there more ways to relate to Him than just through reading His Word and praying?

It seems to me that much of our vibrancy is lackluster because we have been taught, time and time again, in decidedly non-charismatic circles, that the key to our relationship and growth is reading the Bible and praying. I’ve heard hundreds of sermons that had those two actions as their only application points. In fact, it is rare that I’ve heard applications beyond those two actions in Baptist worship services. These are critical and also are great application points, so please don’t read me as being critical of such an application; rather, I am simply asking the question whether those are the only things we can do as we grow in our relationship to the Father.

Think of Jesus walking with His disciples. What a relationship opportunity that was for those early followers. And, even with the incredible nature of that intimacy they shared, Jesus told them that it was good for them that He was leaving because once He departed the Holy Spirit could come. What made this better than being with Jesus most every day? It seems that it is better because it is a constant intimacy whereby God lives in us. We don’t have to search for God. He is here. Inside. In our hearts, our minds, our souls. We just need to live in that reality. Do you really live knowing that the God Who Is lives in you and is constantly talking to you, walking with you, knowing you and loving you?

Think of Adam and Eve walking with God in the garden. Again, what a relationship opportunity!! When they pulled away what was God’s reaction? He looked for them, calling out: “Where are you?” He longed to be back in relationship. Or think of Abraham, God’s friend. How God pursued Abraham and blessed him… Wow! Think even of the prodigal son and how the father looked for him constantly and saw him returning from far away. And then he ran to the son! Amazing! Talk about a relationship building God!

Now, through the Holy Spirit, our comforter, we have a constant relationship. Unfortunately we all too often pull away and fail to live in the reality of the fact that God is in us. Our Hope of glory, Christ in us. Wow!!!! Help me, Father, to understand how much you love me so that I can grow in my love for You! (Thank you, also, Paul Burleson, for unpacking this morning in conversation how we grow to love God more as we understand His love for us more!)

We can read the bible and not live in that reality- the reality that God is in us, longing to be in relationship with us constantly. We can pray and not live in that reality. But when we live in that reality, all of life becomes a prayer. All of life becomes worship. We not only can read the Word of God, we speak with Him and hear Him naturally. I long for that kind of relationship. Don’t you?

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