If you remember my post from last week, I talked about how a trailer on YouTube happened to have some inspiring truth. Last week’s post talked about the real battle in our lives being the one against ourselves. For this week, we’re discussing the followup truth that might be just as important.
In the trailer, there’s a follow up statement to the line ‘the mountain is just a backdrop for you against yourself. The following statement is ‘It’s as far as you want to take it.” This statement is important for us because it applies to our relationship with Jesus.
It’s points to how Jesus is inviting us into a deeper relationship and not forcing us.
If you’re reading this blog, there is a good chance you want a better relationship with him. That’s great. One of the struggles with making this happen is it can feel like training for a triathlon.
Getting to the finish line of a triathlon sounds great. It also sounds like I’ve got to do a bunch of stuff I don’t want to do, for many days in a row, in order to get there. This is similar to how some of my conversations go when I talk to guys about fighting a problem with porn.
With the practical side of the fight, I encourage them to use Covenant Eyes and get plugged into a local church. This advice sometimes falls flat because both of those tactics are uncomfortable and require work. I remember a few conversations where I pointed out the choice between comfort and fighting sin.
While that was a fair point, there is a better way of presenting this and I believe it’s the way Jesus did it.
Jesus doesn’t force anyone to change. He uses questions to form invitations. These invitations make for the stepping stones to starting or deepening our relationship with Jesus.
Effective ones I’ve used are ‘Do you have a faith? What does it mean to be a Christian? Do you want to be free from sin?’ We see a simple yet great question from Jesus himself in Mark 10:46-52 when he asks ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ The question at the time seems a little absurd because Jesus is talking to a blind man.
It doesn’t take much of an imagination to assume the man wants to see. Jesus also knows everything and knows what the man wants. Even though he knows the man’s desire, he invites the man to tell him about it.
Can you imagine the Son of God asking what you want in a one on one conversation?
When I think about this, it seems to weird to imagine my relationship with Jesus being like triathlon training. Expressing my desires and difficult training seem like two very different things. These are not exclusive when it comes to a relationship with Jesus though.
Like the blind man, Jesus knows the deepest desires of your heart. He knows what will give a deeper satisfaction than success, vacations, and even the pleasure of porn. Experiencing an intimate relationship with Jesus is greater than all of those things.
Intimacy with Christ is not an easy thing to experience though. It requires things like humility, abiding in God’s word, and leaning on his strength and wisdom in difficult times. None of those come easy to me.
In the past, I felt discouraged and frustrated because it seemed God put tough hurdles between he and I. The reality is God knows about all the things which get in the way of intimacy with him. Kind of like how a smartphone at a dinner table can get in the way of a good conversation.
God invites us into things, like quiet times, which involve shedding all that holds us back from knowing him better. I think the phrase ‘take it as far as you want’ is part of these invitations. God doesn’t want to force you into shedding what distracts you from him or make you have a humble attitude.
In the same way, I don’t want to force any nice Christian lady to like me or to make someone be friends with me. God’s desire to have a relationship with us is no different. He extends the invitation for a deeper relationship and waits for us to want it.
Writers like me encourage you to accept this invitation because we know it’s worth it. We’ve accepted the invitation to the greatest adventure ever and we believe you’ll love it. We also keep writing and encouraging because the adventure never ends.
Each day you draw breathe is a new invitation to know God better and experience a greater level of satisfaction. There will be days we won’t accept the invitation. God won’t stop inviting us though; he’s cool that way.
How far do you want to take your relationship with Christ? What is one way you can accept Jesus’ invitation to deepen that relationship today? Would you consider talking with another believer about how to recognize and accept those daily invitations?
(As a side note, I understand some of you might be reading this on a day that doesn’t feel like a good invitation. Your world might be falling apart. I get it if my words seem ignorant or naive. I encourage you to still lean on God during that time. He’s comforted me through the loss of both parents and many other hard times. He’s there for you even when you don’t feel like reaching out to him.)
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