Thursday, 27 February 2014

"Believing in God makes me a Christian, it's enough"

This is the trap I fell into. I thought for so long that believing in God would be enough...that I could still live my life how I wanted and go to this "heaven" place.

My plan for years was to do as well as I could in all my exams, get the best grades, get into the best university with an amazing course and go straight into a full-time, well-paid job...I wanted all this - for me.

I've found that God didn't just want us to believe in him, that's not what he intended for us. He wants us to be in relationship with him - he wants us to know him and he wants to know us. “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me" (John 10:14 NLT) - he wants to KNOW us, and he wants us to know his voice when he calls out to us.

So it was about a year into my A levels that I realised being successful isn't what life is all about...not for me anyway. I realised I wanted to do so much MORE with my life...make an something greater, be a part of something much bigger. I'd always gone to Sunday School and enjoyed it and learnt lots from the Bible...but as the children's pastor, Seth Dahl put it so well - we've got to know the author, aswell as the book. I fell into the trap of not knowing the author of the Bible, just knowing bits from the Bible.

And here I am, doing a kids ministry type internship in Australia, trying to find God's will for my life! Trying to be a part of something bigger. And I recently read a book handed to me by my mentor called Finding God's Will by Greg Matte...which highlights our need to discover the God of God's will, in order to discover his will for our life. So discovering God sounds pretty similar to us being in relationship with him right?
And he wants us to want to desire to be in relationship with him!

And you wanna know what I think the best thing is? When you properly start to know God and start to be in relationship with him...he's there. He's better than a best friend..he doesn't fail you, he knows you and he loves you and he died just for you. You're probably thinking I'm crazy right? I'll give you an example. Within my first couple of days of arriving in Australia I went to lead 5 children for a week at a kids camp and I was jet lagged, home-sick, scared and anxious, I had no idea what to expect. On the first night I spoke to my mum and we came across this Bible verse: "Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me" (Psalms 23:4 NLT). And believe it or not...this gave me complete peace...I wasn't alone, I remember perfectly a massive grin taking control of my face! I felt relaxed, totally at peace and hey "For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:13 NLT). Just so you know - I got through the week with minimal home-sickness and lots of energy - I absolutely loved it!!

It reminded me of the footprints in the sand story:    

        One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with God.
        Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
        In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
        Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,
        other times there were one set of footprints.

        This bothered me because I noticed

        that during the low periods of my life,
        when I was suffering from
        anguish, sorrow or defeat,
        I could see only one set of footprints.

        So I said to the Lord,

        "You promised me Lord,
        that if I followed you,
        you would walk with me always.
        But I have noticed that during
        the most trying periods of my life
        there have only been one
        set of footprints in the sand      
        Why, when I needed you most,
        you have not been there for me?"

        The Lord replied,

        "The times when you have
        seen only one set of footprints,
        is when I carried you."

Anyway I'm probably getting side tracked a bit here...I do suck at writing so you'll have to bear with me haha.

All I'm trying to say is, just knowing of someone doesn't necessarily make you friends right? So maybe if we actually take time to get to know God rather than just know of God, and be in relationship with him then maybe that's what God actually intended for us...?

I'm not saying that just believing in God doesn't make you a Christian, I'm just challenging you to think about it.
Just something to ponder.

And here I am, still in Australia (having supposed to have flown home nearly a month ago now), taking time to get to know God, and bloody loving it. I don't yet have the big plan for my life...and finding that is not my intention, I just plan to take a step at a time. And amazingly, I have more of an idea of the direction I want to go. Getting to know God is most definitely the complete opposite of boring! I have been so very blessed.

I wonder what the next step is going to be?! I wonder where God's journey may take me...

I'll keep you posted.