Keep Your Relationship Alive, Alert, And Responsive

The Lord dropped this sentence in my spirit:  “Marriage is very similar to a relationship with Me.”

As I was meditating on this sentence, three keys came to me:

1.      When you meet your spouse to be …it’s the beginning of a new and exciting adventure...  like nothing you’ve ever experienced before.  You can’t get enough of this other person … you hang on their every word and you are anxious to know all you can about them.

2.      After the courtship and wedding you settled down but all of a sudden … life happens.  The circumstances you face will either pull together or pull you apart.  You decide.

3.      As, a marriage ages … you get more comfortable with each other … which is not all bad but there is a fine line in a marriage relationship where you learn to be comfortable but not so comfortable that you’re not both fully involved with one another.  It’s easier to go through the motions losing the meaning of why you are together.

There are 3 simplified stages of marriage. You can probably see a few of the parallels that go along with our walk with the Lord. 

1.      When you accepted the Lord into your life … you may remember a total shift in the way you looked at things.  I was an adult but I can see even a young child experiencing the same things.  First, what seemed to be natural before … now seems wrong.  My desires changed from the things of the world toward the things of God because I saw them in a different light. 

I remember coming across Psalm 122:1 and it penetrated my heart as truth:

“I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.”

Many people remember having a desire to read the Bible every chance they could because they wanted to know more and more about this wonderful Savior. Regardless, it is an experience unlike anything you’ve ever had before.

2.      Then comes a time where you get settled into your new walk.  You are attending church regularly; maybe you’ve been through the new convert’s class and you get involved in the choir or ushering or the nursery…anything to help. 

But life happens… you go to work one morning and bam! … you get laid off.  Or if you were young perhaps you thought the bully wasn’t going to be able to get you anymore.  

You figured it would be like the popular Beethoven movies of the 90s when the young boy was confronted by bullies, the big brave Saint Bernard named Beethoven showed up.  Perhaps yu felt a whopping big angel would manifest behind you and they’d all run away.

But, you had to make a decision. Either pull closer to God … knowing He has an answer in all this somewhere … or pull back to think He doesn’t care. 

This is difficult situation for a lot of folks. If you grew up with a positive male role model, you might not have as much trouble looking at God as someone who’s loving and kind but if your earthly father was not around or abusive, it’s more difficult to view our heavenly Father as kind and good. 

3.      As time goes by, we settle in with the Word having a greater understanding of how to worship God in Spirit and in truth... but it takes time to learn to listen to the Spirit and discern the Lord’s voice from all the voices around us.

And it also grows easier to go through the motions of church and church activities without attending to our relationship with the God who drew us there in the first place.  We don’t want to just be going through the motions because we are

comfortable with our relationship with God or slip away from His principles.

Hebrews 2:1 says:

“Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.”

It is certainly possible to drift away from the things of God … even in church! 

Here are three keys to keep our relationship with the Lord alive and responsive.

1.      Remember our First Love—there are certain elements of our salvation experience that we know well. Ephesians 2:8 in the New King James Version says:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works,  9lest anyone should boast.”

The New Living Translation says it this way:

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.  9Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”

How were we saved? 

The scripture says … by Grace.   Grace came on us when we were saved and caused that shift in how we looked at the things of the world.

But how did we receive this Grace?

The scripture says there is only one way … by faith.  We had to believe Jesus died for our sins.

But there is more to this scripture. 

Our salvation was a gift. 

We know this so well most of us can quote the scriptures without even thinking about them.  So let’s think about them for a moment.

When something happens to us unexpectedly… when something in our lives goes left when it should have gone right… what is our response?

Does grace kick in?  Do we shrug our shoulders and say “God, I roll all this over on You… in FAITH that You knew this was going to happen and you have a course for me to walk through it.”

Or is the first thought in our mind:

“God… I’ve tried to be so good… why did this happen?”  Or perhaps: “Oh, Lord, I messed this up but I can be a better person… please forgive me and help me out in this situation!”

Let’s go back to the scripture and see what we should do. If we need grace … which is the favor and power of God … how do we receive it?  How did we receive grace the first time?

Ephesians 2:8,9 we received God’s power … through faith, not works.

There was absolutely nothing we could possibly do to deserve God’s grace.

God is not moved by our need… He is moved by our faith.

Galatians 2:20 in the New King James Version says:

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

This is TRUTH:

If we didn’t deserve God’s mercy or grace or salvation in the very beginning, what makes us think we can somehow earn or deserve God’s help because we are such good Christians? 

Our needs will only be met one way… because we live by faith in the son of God … who gave Himself for us. 

GOD WILL NEVER ASK US TO LIVE FOR HIM. 

He wants us to let Him live through us.  

2.      Our relationship is a journey …not a destination—the most dangerous thing we can do is to think we know what God thinks without asking.

God taught me this lesson years ago when I was studying the life of King David. 

King David was truly a man after God’s own heart on a number of levels but here is one I call “hidden in plain sight” found in 2 Samuel 5:17-23 in the New Kings James Version:

Now when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to search for David. And David heard of it and went down to the stronghold. 18 The Philistines also went and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim. 19 So David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You deliver them into my hand?”

“And the Lordsaid to David, “Go up, for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into your hand.”

So David went to Baal Perazim, and David defeated them there; and he said, “The Lordhas broken through my enemies before me, like a breakthrough of water.” Therefore he called the name of that place Baal Perazim. 21 And they left their images there, and David and his men carried them away.

Then the Philistines went up once again and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim. “

David’s response is what I want to make note of: 

First: God had given David a mighty victory over the Philistines. 

Second:  God had His hand on David from a youth in the field keeping the sheep.  David was what we would call… matured in the ways of the Lord.

Therefore: The newly crowned King could have felt from past experiences with God that he knew exactly what to do with these Philistines.  I HAVE FINALLY ARRIVED!

But instead the scripture says…

Therefore David inquired of the Lord

Even though King David lived during Old Testament times, he knew what it meant to be spiritually ‘crucified with Christ.’  He didn’t decide what to do, he always asked God before he made a move. Should we do any less?

“and He[God]said, “You shall not go up; circle around behind them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees.”

The more we know the Word… the more we quote scripture and promote the things of God, the easier it is to think we know exactly what to do.

In John 16:13 (NKJV) Jesus is speaking: 

“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”

Before we ‘think’ we know what to do in any given situation, we need to ask the Holy Spirit [that Comforter Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby described in John 14] is there something we don’t know.

That is letting God live through us.

1.      With Years of Walking with God Comes Trust—

In Matthew 6:25-34 in the New King James Version it says:

25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?

26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;

29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’

32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

The Message Bible.  It gives us another dimension of interpretation.
25-26 “If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless [meaning …they could care less] in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.

27-29 “Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.

30-33 “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

34 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

It’s not that the Word is saying we should be wearing rags.  It says: if our hearts and minds are more on furthering the Kingdom than looking great … He will take care of us looking great!

The Message Bible says:

“Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.”

As long as we live in this world we will have to fight being drawn into thinking the way the world thinks.  Verse 31 in the Message Bible says:

“People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things.”

One of the hardest things in our walk is learning to trust in someone we can’t see.  But God knows this.  Look at what it says in John 20:29 NKJV:

Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

So, we may not be perfect … but this is a journey not a destination.

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