"I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of Him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them filth, so that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own from the law, but one that is through faith in Christ the righteousness from God based on faith. My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, assuming that I will somehow reach the resurrection from among the dead." - The apostle Paul (Philippians 3:8-11)
Last night I was talking with my friends about the faith of Abraham, and how he was able to trust God enough to sacrifice his one and only son whom he loved. We were amazed at the level of relationship it took for him to know that it was God telling him to do such a dramatic thing. It is even more impressive when you consider that he had no Bible, church, pastor, small group, devotional books, Christian music, or online resources to help him distinguish the voice of God from all of the other spiritual and personal input that we all deal with. Yet, he seemed to hear from God, got up in the morning, and went to do the most difficult thing ever.
Now to take it a step further, He didn't have the fulness of the Holy Spirit in the same way He is with us today. So think about this for a moment... Imagine if today you didn't have access to the Bible, church, pastor, small group, devotional books, Christian music, online resources, or the Holy Spirit to help you distinguish the voice of God from all of the other spiritual and personal input that we all deal with. How good would you relationship with God be? How well would you be able to follow God? I find it incredibly scary that one of the things we regularly hear from Christians is, "How do you know God's will?" or "How do you know if what you are hearing is from God?"
We have tons more resources than Abraham, yet our ability to distinguish, trust, and obey God's voice is nearly non-existent. How can someone know God's voice without all of the 'helps'? Well, Abraham knew God's voice because He knew God. How did he know God? He spent time with Him. That's how he knew God's voice. Abraham's faith was built on relationship, not resources. Ours seems to be built more on assumption and presumption, with a contingency plan of looking up what we need to know about God using these resources rather than actually knowing God by spending time with Him.
If we are dependent on outside resources, we will only know about them. And we will continue to need those resources in lieu of a relationship. But if we truly know someone, we will not need the outside resources, and if we have them, they will be more of a blessing than a curse. But in no situation can we depend on outside resources to replace or create relationship. Facts can be gained from resources, but faith only grows out of relationship.
Do you want to have a Christian life that reflects factual knowledge about God, but doesn't build faith in and obedience to God? Or do you want to live a Christian life where you obey God because you recognize His voice, and you recognize His voice because you have spent time with Him? The more I love my wife, the more I will want to spend time with her... not just with her Facebook, or her diary, or only when we go out to eat. Love is the seed, relationship is the plant, trust is the fruit, obedience is the harvest.
I'm not suggesting you get rid of the great Christian resources available. This devotional is a resource. Hopefully it is helpful. But do not let it replace your spending time with God. Do not let any bad thing or good thing get in the way of your knowing God. Read again the apostle Paul's words found at the beginning of this devotional.
[This resource is absolutely free. But it takes time and effort. If you would like to support this work, feel free to give via the link below.]
My name is David, and I want to know God more, and help other people find Him.