Over the past several weeks we have explored what it means to have an intimate relationship with God. Sadly, most believers are not experiencing these things. They are convinced that salvation is enough and one day they will see Jesus in heaven. But there is a big gap between the two and that distance is called life. Convinced they have all they need, they have seized the religious bait of Satan rather than an intimate relationship with God.
Religion allows us to measure our spirituality and compare it with others around us. Relationship forces us to realize we have nothing to offer and the best we can do is simply not enough. God does not need us! Period! And yet—God wants us! He has chosen us for relationship.
Sadly, most Christians have settled for the empty expressions of religion—the do’s and the don’ts—because we are too lazy to pursue relationship. We have turned it into an empty legalistic expression will all kinds of rules, rituals, and regulations. Most have given up, living lives of silent desperation.
Jesus came to restore and model this intimacy, this relationship of the heart with the Father. He also came to demonstrate what this relationship was capable of producing. His own relationship with the Father produced the fruit of love expressed by joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Everything Jesus did or said was the fruit-filled result of his intimate, ongoing relationship with God.
Every intimate relationship produces fruit. The deeper the relationship, the more powerful the fruit will be. That fruit also produces seeds and those seeds are sown producing even more fruit. Relationship reproduces itself again and again.
As we come to the end of this series, examine your own fruit. Take a long look at what is being produced in you. Is it active? Is it alive? Is it passionate? Or is it sterile, stagnant, or lifeless? Fruit is the evidence of whether or not one has a real relationship with God. A name on a church roll, a stroll down an aisle, a prayer with a pastor, or submerged in a baptismal pool has no validity if there is no fruit. The reality of what you may have done does not prove the fruit, but the fruit is proof of the reality. If there is no fruit, it is likely there is no connection to the root who is Jesus Christ.
Is your relationship with Jesus producing fruit? Is your faith growing—are you willing to step out and into the promises of God? Faith is never developed without trust and trust is a by-product of relationship. Are you obedient or disobedient to the guidance of the Holy Spirit? Jesus said if we love him we will do what he commands. True obedience is the result of love. If you love someone you will desire to please that person.
Relationship is a privilege every believer can access. Jesus bought and paid for it on the cross. It was purchased by the breaking of his body and the spilling of his blood. Therefore failure to experience this depth of relationship, this intimate friendship, is due to our lack of desire—we simply don’t want it.
Perhaps you’ve gorged yourself on religious garbage and you are still empty. Perhaps the time has come to feast on the delights of an intimate relationship with God. What you choose will determine whether or not you experience satisfaction or starvation.
Which will it be?
It really is your choice.