Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Can I Have a Relationship with God?

From the earliest account of creation, recorded in the first chapters of the Bible, God had a passion to know and be known by the people He created. When He placed the man and woman in the Garden of Eden, He walked and talked with them in the cool of the day. When it was peaceful, when the work was done, He chose to be with His two crowning creations. What delightful conversations these must have been. Filled with discovery and the inquisitiveness of an innocent child -- packed with the joy of a parent watching His children thrive and grow.

Then the serpent and the disobedience of Adam and Eve broke into paradise with a resounding crash. Now ashamed, the couple fled and hid from the presence of their God-friend and could not bear the unfettered gaze of His perfection.

From that instant, relationship was severed. Not completely. There were moments when men and women were aware of His nearness, seeking His blessing, His direction or His protection. He never turned to walk away from them. Although they couldn’t bear to see His glory, He knew they were desperate for some reassurance that all was not forever lost. Whenever the people would ask for a sign that He hadn’t abandoned them, He would show His faithful love to them in tangible ways. Through His prophets He would speak comforting words like, “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:16) and “those who hope in me will not be disappointed” (Isaiah 49:23).

According to author and apologist Lee Strobel, “the evidence of science shows God’s continual involvement and concern for creation. He sent Jesus into human history in time and space to live the perfect life, to perform miracles to affirm His deity—because He loves us, He cares about us and wants us to be close to Him.”

In fact from the third chapter of Genesis (where Adam and Eve sinned) through the book of the Revelation, God saw to it that people recorded the story of His intricately woven plan to reestablish relationship with mankind in general and with every individual who would respond to His efforts. Here we read about how He called out for Himself a family, out of which He formed a great nation, out of which was born the answer to our deepest dilemma—a Savior, His own Son Jesus Christ. Once and for all this Savior would bear the death penalty for the sins of everyone who chose to believe in Him. He would repair the damage and allow the relationship between God the Creator and the people He created to flourish again.

How can we be sure? Listen to the way the prophet of God described the coming of Jesus, hundreds of years before He entered human history, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). That name, Immanuel? The Gospel writer Matthew offers us the translation: “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). God not lording superiority over us. Not seeking to crush or embarrass or intimidate us. But God with us, side-by-side, in new and pure relationship.

The catch is this: He doesn’t force that relationship on us. He invites us to join Him. Then, like the father in the prodigal son story that Jesus told in Luke 15, He allows us the free choice of whether to respond. What friend wants a relationship with someone coerced into it? How much richer the joy of two consenting companions who can’t wait to share their thoughts, their dreams, their hopes and fears? God’s Son described it this way, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:14-15).

So, then, can you and I right here and now have a relationship with God? You bet. It’s our choice. God saw to it that it would be just that way.

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