Recently I was asked: “Natalie, How would you define – pursuing a relationship with Jesus?”
We don’t pursue a relationship with Jesus because pursue means to chase and we don’t need to chase Jesus. His word tells us that He is standing at our door, knocking and that once we open the door, He comes right in. He is there. If I was married, I would not be pursuing a relationship with my husband, I would be in a relationship with my husband. Once he asked me to marry him and I accepted, we no longer had to pursue each other.
As Christians, we are the Bride of Christ.
Have you ever sat in church and heard a sermon that addressed:
1.) Are you right with God?
2.) Are you spending time with God and if so, how much?
3.) Are you putting God first in your life?
4.) Are you pursuing a relationship with the Lord?
5.) Are you bringing people to the Lord on a regular basis?
6.) Are you allowing sin to rule your life and keep you from a relationship with the Lord?
Then possibly you answered “No” to most, if not all of the questions, and went home with the feeling that nothing
you ever do is right [enough] and felt overwhelmed, beat up, burned out and disillusioned.
If this is you, then Fear Not. Perhaps when you hear these questions, you start to feel like you’re all alone in the ocean of oppression,
when suddenly you see the tidal wave approaching and you realize that you’ll never make it out of the water in time.
Notice, however, that Jesus never asked these questions. He didn’t approach people and begin His sermons or discussions with an interrogation. He delivered Hope, Promise, Courage, Faith, Truth, Wisdom, Knowledge and Power and with this, He met needs.
Elijah met needs, Elisha met needs, David met needs, and Paul met needs. Countless men and women of God met needs first. David sought out people that had needs as did Jesus.
Many people from all walks of life suffer from depression, diminished libido, exhaustion, apathy, disrupted sleep patterns, social anxiety and a host of debilitating factors, including the inability to just “Snap out of it.”
They feel profoundly overwhelmed and it’s as if there is so much to fix that feeling “normal” again seems completely out of their reach.
More often than not, what they don’t realize is that most, if not all of their feelings and behaviors are, for the most part, all tied into a deficiency in one or more brain chemicals, usually in the category of neurotransmitters. Various deficiencies can define why some suffer from various emotional disorders.
Adjusting those deficiencies quite often adjusts the feelings and behaviors.
The same can be said about the way in which we engage in our relationship with God. If we aren’t first introduced to His Character, His Ways, His Personality, and His Attitudes and introduced to His Heart, His Love towards us and His Presence, then it makes serving Him more of drudgery and a chore and what will always feel like a fruitless, futile endeavor.
Jesus often demonstrated miracles, met needs and interacted on a very personal level before He got down to the business of salvation and service. His presence alone would draw people and even creatures unto Him because he was half man and half Holy Spirit.
Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:1
“And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with Excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.”
Zechariah 4:6 states, “So He said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.”
Are you right with God?
If you have received Jesus as your savior, you became right with God. Jesus is our righteousness and not that of ourselves.
If we have received Jesus with our whole heart, then that same heart will seek God’s righteousness.
The Bible states in 2 Corinthians 5:17:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind, our sins sweep us away.”
Paul said in Philippians 3:6 NIV
“I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault.”
It’s without question that as a young man, Paul led a moral and strictly upright life, and no one had an occasion to “blame” or to accuse him as a violator of the law of God. There is every reason to believe that Paul, before his conversion, was a young man of correct deportment, of upright life, of entire integrity; and that he was free from the indulgences of vice and passion, into which young people often fall. In all that he ever says of himself as being “the chief of sinners,” and as being “unworthy to be called an apostle,” he never gives the least intimation that his early life was stained by vice, or corrupted by licentious passions.On the contrary, we are left to the fair presumption that, if any man could be saved by his own works, he was that man.
He felt VERY RIGHT with God. Zeal was supposed to be, as it is, an important part of religion; (see 2 Kings 10:16; Psalm 69:9; Psalm 119:139; Isaiah 59:17; Romans 10:2.)
Paul says that he had shown the highest degree of zeal that was possible. He had gone so far in his attachment for the religion of his fathers, as to pursue with purposes of death those who had departed from it, and who had embraced a different form of belief. If any, therefore, could hope for salvation on the ground of extraordinary devotion to religion, he said that he could.
Therefore, we all need to understand that no matter how “right” we think we are that none of us are truly right. Jesus is our righteousness. This is why it’s so ludicrous when I hear Christians ask me if I’m turning gay’s straight and reading them the various scriptures that according to most Christians, asserting that homosexuality is an abomination to God.
Paul told a Pharisee that if he thought circumcision would make him right with God, that he should just cut his entire penis off. The abomination here is the way in which we selectively single out our own behaviors that are not right in any capacity with God while indicting others for committing those various offenses that are the most displeasing to us.
For example, Ethel and Myrtle get together every morning for coffee to talk about Jesus, his Goodness and while they might be exchanging a few praise reports, they deviate from the topic at hand to discuss their vehement disdain for Shirley because Shirley wears mini-skirts and halter tops to church and lives with her boyfriend. They begin to find every fault imaginable with Shirley and often shun Shirley at various gatherings and so forth.
Matthew 22: 36-40
36 Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?
37 Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
38 This is the first and greatest commandment.
39 And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.
40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
When we read God’s Word and apply it to our lives, we then experience His power, presence, love, mercy, compassion, kindness and goodness towards us because the Bible tells us that He first loved us. Once we are in the presence of our Lord, we naturally begin to take on His behaviors, his attitudes, and his personality.
The Bible says that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. How do we do that? By reading God’s Word, prayer, faith, implementing God’s Word into our lives and receiving the Holy Spirit.
When someone asks, “How much time do you spend with God?” I reply, ‘24 /7.’
Because I know that the Lord will never leave me or forsake me and that He is always with me, therefore, we’re always together. I don’t have to set aside ‘time’ to spend with God because that could almost be interpreted as fitting God into my schedule and making an appointment to engage in his presence whereby I then leave His presence once I’m finished talking to Him.
I do not allow sin to keep me from a relationship from the Lord because Jesus paid the price for my sins and the bible states that nothing can separate us from the love of God.
“Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” Romans 10: 17.
When we stand on the Word of God and pray God’s promises for us, we then have the knowledge that he will not withhold any good thing from us as he meets all of our needs and in great abundance according to his Word.
Reading God’s Word and implementing it into our own lives enables us to fall deeply in love with the Father as He reaches into our lives, demonstrating his power, goodness, Greatness, abundance, compassion, mercy, favor, salvation and love towards us. Once we enter into His presence and feel His love towards us, it then enables us to love him back.
Once we achieve that love, we’re no longer fueled by any need to sin in order to fill the void in our lives and in our hearts. He fills that void with his love and his presence. Therefore, we no longer hunger for sin as we did before but we hunger for his presence and the bible states that in His presence is fullness of joy.
Our needs are met when we ask Him to meet those needs and believe him for those needs to be met because the bible states that without faith it is impossible to please God. When we declare his promises and pray his promises, he fulfills his promises in our lives because his word states that he is not a man that he would lie and that he is faithful as promised; For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him, the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 2 Corinthians 1:20
1 Peter 2:9 – 10
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
Jesus, our Savior, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
Therefore, if we have truly given ourselves over to Jesus, we will then desire to do what is good in order to please him because we want to please those whom we love.
Therefore, if we’re not walking in obedience, and life has us riddled with emptiness, heartache, depression, fear, worry, doubt, dread, poverty, misery, loneliness, bitterness, anger, rage, hostility and a host of negative emotions that are not of the Father, then first we should look to see if there is a possible biological reason that our feelings and emotions are so deeply conflicted and secondly, seek out the character of our Father. His Word tells us to learn of him and that his burden is light.
He doesn’t weigh us down with unreasonable demands. He isn’t angry with Believers.
We need to take our concerns and burdens to Him and ask Him to reveal Himself to us in extraordinary ways and we should not fear to ask Him to enable us to fall so profoundly and deeply in love with Him that we become utterly and completely obsessed and consumed with Him and relishing in his presence; wanting nothing more than to live our lives the way in which He has ordered each and every step.
Only He can ignite our love and our desire and our change, not a pastor and not that of ourselves. He convicts our hearts of righteousness and puts us on a plain path. His Holy Spirit and His presence is the way in which we seek to do all that is right in his sight, “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord.”
Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.”