Tag Archives: having a relationship with God

Checklist Christianity

I’ve studied and taught DISC for years. When you see a DISC logo, it’s usually in a circle. It’s broken up with lines going north and south, as well as east and west. The letters on the top of it represent outgoing personalities and the letters on the bottom are indicative of people who are introverted. On the left side, the letters are personality types that are task focused, and on the right represent people focused individuals. My letter falls on the top right. I’m an extrovert who is people focused. I get my energy from being around people and enjoy working with a team rather than individually. What my wife has found is that I will sacrifice tasks if given the opportunity. If she needs something done, she makes a to-do list and I’m pretty good at knocking it out. Tasks are easy for all of us to relate to. We have a set of things to do. It’s defined, clear and appeals to our goal oriented nature.

In the Garden of Eden, God had a relationship with Adam and Eve. They walked in the garden and talked, but when they sinned, it hurt the relationship. Fast forward to when the Israelites left Egypt and were in the desert. When God met with them on Mount Sinai, they preferred not to have a relationship with God even though He had just rescued them. Exodus 20:19 says, “They pulled back and stood at a distance. They said to Moses, ‘You speak to us and we’ll listen, but don’t have God speak to us or we’ll die’” (MSG). They were afraid of relationship. Moses went up to talk with God and came back down with the Ten Commandments. It was a task list of how to behave. We, like them, tend to gravitate to a check list approach to Christianity instead of the relationship God wants to have. We often pull back from Him and try to make it into Heaven by following the checklist of behaviors we’re to exhibit forgetting that the work has been done and a relationship is all God wants.

I wish I had space to incorporate all of Galatians 3:11-12, but here’s a portion of it. “The obvious impossibility of carrying out such a moral program should make it plain that no one can sustain a relationship with God that way…Rule-keeping does not naturally evolve into living by faith, but only perpetuates itself in more and more rule-keeping.” Task oriented Christianity does not lead to relationship. You can’t sustain any relationship by following a check list. You must know the other party in the relationship, know their heart, understand their motives and be vulnerable if a relationship is going to be healthy. For these reasons, many of us allow our fear to have us pull back and stand at a distance from God, but He’s still there waiting for you to enter in. He’s waiting for you to draw close. He tore the veil when Jesus was crucified so that you could enter in and know Him yourself. Spend time in prayer today building that relationship rather than offering God a checklist of things you want. He prefers relationships to tasks.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

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Intimate Conversations

Whenever I travel for work, it’s important to stay in contact with my wife. Sometimes when we end up talking I’m at the airport or I’m at dinner or while I’m with coworkers. It’s hard to have good conversations in those places. It’s often noisy, people are trying to get my attention or I’m trying to find where I’m going so I’m somewhat distracted. The best conversations are when I’m away from all the noise in the quiet of my hotel room. Only then can we truly have interruption free conversations where it doesn’t have to be quick snippets.

Luke 5:16 says, “As often as possible Jesus withdrew to out-of-the-way places for prayer” (MSG). Having intimate conversations with His father while He was here was important to Him. People were constantly vying for His attention and needing a miracle. Often, He just wanted to have a quiet conversation. Many times He had those quick conversations in front of people, but very often we read where Jesus went to a desolate place to pray. If it was important for Him to do that, how much more important for us?

At one point, Jesus told us to go into our closet to pray. I don’t know that He meant that literally. I think what He was saying was that we need to find a quiet place where we can have some uninterrupted prayer time. We can’t always go to an out of the way place to pray, but we can find space to get alone with Him. It may be a closet or it could be before everyone wakes up or after they go to bed, but we each need to find time to get alone with God so we can have intimate conversations with Him. I believe the quality of our relationship with Him hinges on it.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

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