Now you know how it is – after many weeks of holidaying from all normal routine and with September suddenly hitting - I decided to take myself off for a little run/(let's be honest) jog in Windsor last week. And through the pain of attempting exercise, God was speaking to me about what I want to share with you.
Here is a photo of the route I went on last week but I want to try to transform what this may represent for you. Intriguing!
I want to ask you a question straight up: where are you in your relationship with God?
Where are you? And I ask this because in Genesis in the Garden of Eden after Adam and Eve had screwed up it’s the first thing God is recorded saying: Where are you?
Now on my run/jog I was looking down over the long path leading up the castle and reflecting on our journey in life. We plod along daily, minding our own business, putting one foot in front of another, going through struggles (there was one point where the path was totally submerged in mud and I mean I stopped a good few times trying to get my breath back), there are some highs (probably primarily running towards my car once it reappeared in sight), and there’s some other stuff going on (people running past you – they must be proper marathon runners – you running past people and feeling as if you’ve conquered the world); but hey – that’s it – that’s life.
I looked down towards the castle and what caught my attention profoundly in that moment was the white gate separating me from the castle.
I was reminded of the verse in Matthew 7:14:
“Small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it”
We’re living in the tension between the world and God. We find ourselves admist this wide road and even many different roads of choices and temptations and of many branded ‘good’ things. Of life that’s full of business, pride, achievement, self-satisfaction, fame and distractions; of normalness.
Does this wordly life really, I mean really fulfill us???
As Christians we believe there’s MORE to life than that. There’s a fuller way of living, a new life possible through Jesus down that narrow road. A life of freedom, truth, hope, love peace and that’s the good news we live by. It’s thanks to what Jesus did on the cross.
Because after we’d messed up in sin, God sent his son that he might live an earthly, worldly life with a heavenly orientation, power and perspective, before dying on the cross with our sin (past, present and future), only to be resurrected so that we can be restored into the relationship we were meant to have in the first place with GOD. That we no longer have to live by the law of the old testament.
That we might be in relationship with God. This isn’t just a knowing of the God of the Bible. It’s actually knowing him. I was in Aus a couple of years ago and really eagerly wanting to know God’s will for my life like seriously God just tell me?! The next best thing was picking up a book called ‘Finding God’s Will’ right – and the one thing I took away from that was that in order to know God’s will for your life, you’ve gotta know the God of God’s will.
Life is about pursuing your relationship with God. God sacrificed his son. Jesus sacrificed himself so that we might be free from our bondage to sin. He did that; for our sake.
And I don’t know where we’re all at today, but maybe some of us need to press reroute on our internal satnav. Maybe we’ve never let this new of what Jesus did and why Jesus did it capture our hearts as well as our minds. Maybe in the normalness of life we’ve kept plodding along and we’ve wandered off-road from our relationship with God.
I’m reminded of the visual of a young child wandering away from their mother or father in search for something they want, they think is better – they stop suddenly in their tracks and panic as they realise they’ve lost sight of their carer. Their eyes frantically search for them and when they catch sight of them they recognise them because they know them; and they bolt it straight into their arms.
If you’re not bolting for God – what are you bolting for?
I want to have that relationship with God where I’m bolting towards him daily because I recognise who he is, what he’s done, what he’s doing and what he’s still to do.
Matthew 7:7 says:
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
At alpha this year we spoke about a famous painting that an artist did of this verse and there’s Jesus at the door right – us on the other side – and some guy criticised the artist saying ‘umm mate you forgot the handle on the outside of the door’ – but the artist responded ‘no – it’s us who decide whether we open the door, God is already there and waiting’. He’s already chosen us – and we’re good enough as we are! Yet, we have the CHOICE as to whether or not we open the door/whether or not we open the gate to enter into or back into relationship with Him.
Maybe some of us need to approach the gate again, or for the first time.
But why - what does this relationship thing look like?!
For me it’s about living in TRUTH. Because it’s about living in intimacy with the one who is truth. It’s about doing life with the very word of God; with him himself. It’s about living in the truth of who I am in Him – because it’s not about me it’s about Him.
It’s not about an easy life because the road is narrow; but it means that in all I can put on the armour of God and stand firm with the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God, and stand against all of those worldly things that come to bind us up. Because Jesus came to proclaim freedom. I’m talking about Ephesians 6.
- It means that when flaming arrows of insecurity are fired our way to throw us off-track – we can stand firm in knowing that we are God’s masterpiece, that we are of immense value.
- It means that when flaming arrows of insignificance are fired our way to throw us off track, we can stand firm knowing that we are chose, that we were created for his purpose.
- It means that when flaming arrows of fear and worry are fired our way to throw us off track, we can stand firm knowing that we can cast all our anxiety on God because he cares for us, in knowing that the peace of God that transcends all understanding will guard our hearts and mind.
- It means that when flaming arrows of hurt and pain are fired our way to throw us off track, we can stand firm knowing God will never leave nor forsake us.
- It means that when flaming arrows of shame are fired our way to throw us off track, we can stand firm knowing that in Christ there’s no condemnation.
We’ve got to do life with God because life is about the pursuit of Jesus.
We’ve got to submit to him daily.
We’ve got to journey deeper and deeper into relationship with him – it’s not just about deliverance, belief and Sunday morning - it’s about the journey.
It’s about doing life with the creator of life itself.
It’s about truth.
It’s about freedom.
It’s about relationship.
It’s about staying the path.
It’s about the gate.
It’s a choice.
So I ask you again – Where are you in your relationship with God? And where would you LIKE to be?
I'll keep you posted.