What’s Most Important?
If you could have or accomplish one thing in your life, what would it be?
We need some purpose in our lives beyond just breathing and eating and sleeping. What are your dreams and goals? Maybe it has to do with your career, or starting a business or ministry, or buying a beautiful home. Or as life moves on, perhaps working on your bucket list of things you want to do before it is too late.
Now, what if we ask the question – how does our relationship with God fit in? Is it competing with these other things?
Or should God be so much more? Something that is above all other purposes and goals and missions?
To truly connect with Christ as he intends, our connection with him must be number one: Our prime directive, our supreme mission, our ultimate purpose.
This sounds awfully demanding, doesn’t it? How do we know God asks so much from us?
The Psalmist tells us “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you” (Psalm 73:25 ESV). In another instance in scripture, Jesus makes it so clear in his parable of the valuable pearl. His kingdom, by which we connect with him, is “like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it” (Matthew 13:45-46). Note how the merchant had to sell and lose everything else to gain the magnificent pearl.
Why does he ask for so much? Because he wants us to be “conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29). By being conformed, we are empowered to understand him deeply, share his thoughts and feelings, and connect intimately in divine love. Though we may not be aware of it, we are designed for this purpose.
What Is The Nature Of This Divine Connection?
It is something that goes above and beyond all else:
- The forgiveness for sins.
- The theological beliefs.
- The knowledge.
- The human capability and activities.
It is instead about transformation – deep and profound change.
These days there is a lot of talk about transformation. But the question to ask is – what is being transformed? And how?
God’s transformation plan is not primarily about the way we feel and perform and act on the outside. Or even attitudes and sentiments and possessing a positive outlook. He is more concerned about what lies even deeper inside of us. At the very center of our heart and soul and spirit.
How are we transformed? By connecting with God at a very deep level, and there, surrendering our self to him.
Where does this take us? By becoming like him even while we continuously seek and pursue him, we are united with him. In sweet intimacy. God’s Word talks about us being united with Christ (Philippians 2:1, Romans 6:5, 1 Corinthians 6:17). God’s Word similarly talks about us being in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1, Acts 17:28, John 15:5, 1 Corinthians 1:30, John 14:20).
Just to show how powerful this connection and relationship is designed to be, God’s glorious plan is that we first spiritually enter and dwell in heaven in Christ, even before our physical death! God tells us in Ephesians 2:6, “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.” This is what we are designed for! It brings perfect completion and satisfaction and contentment. It is beyond what we can ask for or imagine. Hearts joined in beautiful unison.
How Do We Build This Connection To Our Spiritual Journey?
God informs us that it is not by doing a bunch of good things in our own strength while we live as free and independent agents. Nor is it by passively sitting back and waiting for God to do everything while we busy ourselves with the affairs of this world.
Rather, it is an active receiving from God.
Jesus tells us of the vine and the branches in the book of John chapter 15. The job of the vine is to feed the branches, and the job of the branches is to open and receive the life-giving flow from the vine. Jesus tells us “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
It all happens through a connection and intimacy with our Lord Jesus Christ. Our souls grow as we are fed through the opening of a channel between God and our inner being.
What Is Our Part To Make This Happen?
- We need to resolve in our hearts and minds to pursue our relationship with Christ, this inner connection, far above all else. And remember that he told us “apart from me you can do nothing”. We must resolve to do this whatever the cost, whatever the sacrifice, whatever it takes. It is like in the Mission Impossible movies, God is presenting a mission, should we choose to accept it. And like in the movies, the hero drops everything else in his life to pursue the mission.
- We must constantly and continuously invest in connecting with God. While countless messages have been preached and books written for this very purpose, we will simply mention three things briefly.
The first is what we call connecting moments. This can happen during our normal prayer and scripture reading and worship time. But just as importantly, it can happen during moments throughout our day.
Connecting moments can take many forms. One way is like this. Stop, shut your eyes, and set aside all your normal thoughts. Breath slowly and deeply, and “be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Adopt a mental and heart position of openness and receptivity. Picture yourself as dry ground receiving living rain waters; or a flower blossom opening to the sunlight. In your heart and mind, surrender all of yourself to the Lord. Offer yourself up to Him as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1). Wait upon Him in silence and expectation.
While connecting, speak words of love and devotion. Feel him touch you. Ask Him to come and fill you. Then gently proclaim and tell God, “I am yours and you are mine” (Song of Solomon 2:16), “I am your property and possession” (Numbers 18:20), and “You bought me for a price” (1 Corinthians 6:20). All this while simply maintaining a position and condition of openness and surrender and receiving.
These practices fit perfectly with God’s Word.
- He tells us that we should be “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:2 NIV)
- “focusing on the things that are above, where the Messiah is seated at the right hand of God.” (Colossians 3:1)
- “focus on Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession” (Hebrews 3:1).
- We are setting our minds on “things above, not on earthly things” as God has instructed (Colossians 3:2).
Perhaps the most perfect example of connecting was when Jesus visited his friends in Bethany. His dear friend, Mary, “sat at the Lord’s feet” as she listened with rapt attention, absorbed in Jesus (Luke 10:39). When Mary’s sister Martha complained that she wasn’t busy helping prepare the meal, Jesus said of Mary, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42).
As you practice these connecting moments, God’s presence may seem somewhat vague at first. But just like our physical senses become keener and sharper with use, we will perceive the Lord and his love more and more, and become ever more like Him. God tells us that “we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Connecting moments can happen just about anywhere and anytime. For example, when you are driving or pumping gas or riding the bus, drop your phone and look up and connect. Connecting can be done in so many moments throughout your day. Even when you are super busy you can steal moments to get away with Jesus.
We can let God know how much we want to connect and unite with him. Make it our central request to Him, far more important than asking him for help with any of our problems, or to make us successful or wealthy. Ask him this each day. Plead with him, beg him.
- We can picture and envision and imagine what it would be like to be perfectly connected, perfectly intimate with Jesus. Liberated and set free from the bondage of our attachments to all the passing, silly concerns of this life. Permeated and saturated and infused fully in His love, His greatness, His glory. Purified and cleansed in Him. Knowing His thoughts, His feelings, His power, His nature. Tearing down every wall and obstruction that cuts us off from him and keeps us distant. Ask God to make this vision and picture more real each day.
View everything, absolutely everything, from the prism of how your connection with Christ will be impacted. When you read scripture, make it about how God is wanting to connect. When you think about sin, view it not so much as something to make us feel ashamed and guilty, but rather as anything that blocks and obstructs our connection with Him. Dedicate yourself to removing every obstacle.
I hope and pray that these thoughts will help you progress on your spiritual journey.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you that you have lovingly designed such an amazing and glorious destiny for me. How incredible to think and know by faith that you desire us to be together. Connected in intimacy and love and affection. I know that in this oneness and unity with you is found perfect fulfillment, perfect completion, perfect wholeness. In you all of my brokenness and frustration and lostness and darkness is washed away. In you all things are made good and right and lovely. In you I am finally at true peace and rest. In you all my fears and dread and doubt evaporate.
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