This past week I chewed some more on one of the ideas from the Living Proof Live event: There is no stasis in our relationship with God. We either move forward toward him and his will for us or we move away. Reflecting on my life, I recognize the reality of this truth. I also better appreciate why the apostle Paul told the Philippians he wanted nothing more zealously than to know Christ even more. (Philippians 3:8-11) No matter how close we walk with God, we can always draw closer. And no matter how far we’ve wandered, we are only one U-turn away from reunion with him.
Our walk with Christ is dynamic. As I reflected on this concept several things jumped out at me. See if these ring true with your experience.
More Leads to Wanting Even More
As I looked back over the ebbs and flows in my walk with God, I noticed a consistent pattern. Whenever I drew closer to Christ I wanted to draw even closer.
Likewise, when I neglected my relationship with him, it became easier and easier to drift farther away.
This is true in our human relationships so it makes sense it would also apply with our fellowship with God as well.
Closer Fellowship, Bigger Impact
I also noticed the more intimate my fellowship with Christ, the more of an impact I made in the lives of others.
While, the drier and more superficial my disposition toward him, the less of a blessing I was to those around me.
I love the following quote from My Utmost For His Highest.
The lasting value of our public service for God is measured by the depth of the intimacy of our private times of fellowship and oneness with Him.Oswald Chambers
Perception Feels Like Reality
As a believer, we can rest assured that nothing can snatch us from his hand (see Romans 8:38-39).We belong to him and he will never let us go. But he will allow us to wander and feel the pain of our obliviousness to his presence.
When I was little, I hated shopping. To make it less intolerable, I made a game of hiding from my mom in the clothes racks. This was great fun when I felt in control. When I was the one hiding and my mom was the one seeking, I was practically giddy with delight as she searched for me. But, whenever her legs disappeared from my vantage point beneath the garments, I panicked.
Later, as a mom, I experienced this from the mother’s perspective. When my boys wandered off, I would let them get just unnerved enough to recognize the danger of straying away from my side before I made my presence known. They were never out of my sight, but I was out of theirs. Their inability to perceive my presence made all the difference to them.
I think it is much the same with our fellowship with Christ. He isn’t going to force us to nestle in close for a deep and abiding relationship. We are free to walk as close or drift as far as we choose. As we wander, though, it becomes harder to feel his presence. We are never out of his sight and he is, in fact, present with us, but we have a harder time perceiving that reality.
I Want to Know Him More!
I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.the apostle Paul
Scholars date Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus to 35 AD. While there is debate as to when he wrote his letter to the church at Philippi, the earliest estimates place the date of composition during his imprisonment in Ephesus in the mid 50s.
Thus, Paul’s statement above from Philippians 3:10-11 is not one of a seeker. It was penned at least twenty years after his dramatic conversion and after many years, possibly more than two decades, of effective evangelism.
Paul obviously had a deep and long-standing relationship with Jesus when he expressed his desire to know Christ. Yet he wanted to know him more.
Paul had made a huge impact in the lives of others and in the kingdom of God. Yet, he wanted to have an even bigger impact.
His words and his life show these concepts were two sides of the same coin. His power to achieve great things for God’s kingdom came from being in Christ. And being in Christ led to him doing great things to bless others.
Even at this stage in his relationship—decades after Jesus appeared to him on that Damascus road and having lived every moment since that experience pressing on, straining to draw even closer to Jesus—Paul emphatically declared he wanted to know Christ more intimately and more fully.
I want that too, and I pray you want it as well.
Let’s seek him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength! And when we find we have neglected our relationship, or even rebelled and ran headlong away from Jesus, remember, we have the promise of his Word that we need only turn around to see he has been with us all the while, longing for us to come back.
Your turn: What has this constant movement in your relationship with Christ looked like in your life? What has happened as your relationship with him ebbed farther or rushed in closer? You can leave a comment by clicking here.