As a Christian first, parent second, and an educator third, I see a great disparity between how I am raising my child, (with God), and that of some of my students who are searching to belong, (outside of God.) Coming from the inner city most of them are exposed to crime, and violence, and some of them have siblings involved in drug usage and gang violence. They see a harsh reality, one absent of God, one of separation and sin. They are searching to belong in any group they can both identify with, and feel accepted in. So today I wanted to reflect on how all of God’s children can have a real, relationship with God, and experience God in our everyday lives.
Relationships are extremely interesting, especially when we break them down to their most basic parts. To truly understand this we must first understand two basic things about people from all walks of life. The first thing is that we are all God’s children no matter from where we come. Secondly we are all born wanting three very basic things. That can be classified in the following list:
- We want to be Remembered
- We want to make some sort of Contribution
- We want to be Loved
These needs are so great they guide our decisions unconsciously in our everyday lives. We are moved, compelled, even manipulated into doing things we would not otherwise do, if we simply understood how these three core wants work, and how God hot wired us with these needs to better serve his purpose.
The best example I can give you in the bible of this is found in (Matthew 3:11). John the Baptist was answering a question from his followers who asked him if he was the Christ. John emphatically replied,
11″I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”
In this we are given instruction of the relationship we are to have with God, and the son of man. We are sinners first, all of us, without exception. It is because we are sinners we are not fit for the kingdom of God. Our relationship to Jesus is one of repentance, and only until we are convicted within our hearts and minds and seek forgiveness can we be baptized by the Holy Spirit.
So it is no wonder why some people come to terms with their own life, after great tribulation. I often tell my students that we first belong to God, until we chose something different. God always wants the best for us in our life. This cannot be said for others, who say they are your friends. In the end when you are confronting God in heaven answering for your sins, where are they going to be? Where is Jesus? If you look hard enough you will see that Jesus is standing right next to you, protecting you, guiding you, loving you. Your so called friends are in the same line as you, answering for their sins, the same as you. Consequently I also tell my daughter the very same things. She has been raised knowing that Jesus is and will always be her first primary relationship in this life.
As I write this post, I am called to link the scripture of John to the three core wants of man. People in the time of John wanted John to be the Messiah. The people felt comforted by his messages, they felt loved by him. With John they contributed to a movement that was gaining popularity in their day, and they knew they were going to be remembered because of John’s message. This made it easy for them to follow Jesus after John was beheaded; because John had prepared them for Jesus, and his ministry. We today follow people for the same reasons, we mistakenly put our faith in people, and we trust those who do not have our best interest at heart. Lucky where the followers of John, because John also demonstrated that God must be the primary relationship, Jesus reinforced this lesson many times over.
Our personal relationship as I have described above is how we show our obedience to God. It is an act of faith, humility, and reverence for our father, in that he is glorified. But we also do something else within our core wants, which goes beyond the act of believing, and leading a Christian life. We also use our words in our prayers, and when we witness, and testify to others about our personal relationship with Jesus, and to God. Our words can be harsh, and loving, convincing, and misleading. Our words echo what is in our hearts and mind, and tells others a lot about our character.
Jesus used very harsh language, vivid language, and in some instances convicting language. An example of this can be found in (Mathew 15:10-11), when asked by the Pharisees why his disciples break with tradition and do not wash their hands before they eat. They wanted to make an issue of things that where clean and those things which where unclean. Among a lot of things Jesus had answered with this was the most direct, and it out lines our relationship to him and to all those around us.
10 Jesus called the crowd to him and said “Listen and understand. 11What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him unclean, but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him unclean.” He then later in chapter 15:16-20 drills this lesson home, the lesson being we are responsible for our words, as much as we are responsible for our actions.
In conclusion, my students live the life without God because many of their parents have demonstrated to them a life absent of God. They work nine to five, and have little time for themselves let alone for their child. Some of them are children themselves, and or participating in crime and violence themselves. They live a life filled to the brim with sin, and though they understand what they are doing is wrong, they feel guilty, and unworthy. The questions I get from a lot of my students parents echo the same question many people have asked about Jesus. (How can he forgive me? Especially after all I have done.) The simple truth is this, when confronting our sins we must be willing to forgive ourselves, then ask that others forgive us, but this cannot be done if we first do not ask for forgiveness from Jesus. It must be this way as Jesus himself stated in Luke chapter 11:9-10,
9″So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Supported by (John 10:7-9:7) Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the gate; who ever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.”
Jesus is actively seeking a relationship from each and everyone of us. We are all his children, and we are all worthy of his forgiveness. We need to belong, to be remembered, and to have our lives matter, because these are the very things God uses to make each and everyone one of us worthy.
May peace be with you all the days of your life. If you have been moved by this blog I invite you to leave a comment.