“So, what do you think?” they asked.
“Well,”I replied, “when you put it that way, it does sound stupid.”
I know that closing statement was meant to make the point in a simple and logical manner, but I believe they oversimplified the case. Yes, it did sound stupid –but when I was given the larger context of the comment, it seemed to me that they were oversimplifying the entire case. It made me wonder if there weren’t huge issues being glossed over in an attempt to be witty.
I wonder how often this happens. Sometimes, people say things trying to make things sound simple, but they don’t realize how much they leave out in their efforts to simplify.
Do you know another time when I believe this happens? It’s when people say “you need to have a personal relationship with Christ. “ I don’t know how you feel about that statement, but for years, my response was “how the heck are you supposed to do that?” Even though I do better understand the meaning of this statement, it still strikes me in the same way as the “education and experience to sell a box” scenario. It skips the entire process and takes you straight to the end result. It’s like telling somebody to meet you somewhere out of town,
and refusing to give them a map. People need direction to make the journey. It’s great to know where you’re heading, but it’s useless if you don’t know the way. It gives you the end result with no hint or clue of where to find the train that leads to that destination.
As Christians, we all know that Christ is the foundation of our lives. We are supposed to build everything on our faith in Him. This means that we totally let go and allow Him to lead and guide our lives. So, how do you do this? In my experience, it’s been a two step process.
First, you have to acknowledge that you really aren’t in control of your life. People are control freaks, and we want to believe that life is totally in our hands. The problem is, it really isn’t. Control is an illusion. The truth is
that God is really in control, and He will keep bringing things into your life to remind you of that fact until you finally accept that you’re riding in a sailboat on His ocean, and the only thing you really can do is adjust your
sails. And heck, you don’t even own the boat. He’s loaning that to you to make the journey that He laid before you. You can make your plans and that’s ok – it’s even advisable– but remain flexible and aware that tomorrow may bring an unexpected detour.
Second, you must have an active prayer life. Yes, God does know everything, but it helps us to pray because in talking to Him, we’re able to open our eyes to our own cares and concerns. Talking to God not only brings
comfort, but it helps us to know ourselves, and to see what is really on our hearts. Christ died so we could communicate directly with God in prayer, and that privilege is our lifeline to Heaven. It’s how we get Divine knowledge about how to lead our Earthly lives. How does this happen? It happens because it opens the lines of communication with our Creator, and it gives the Holy Spirit – you know, that little voice that most people call “intuition” – a place to speak in your heart. Through prayer, God gives us insight to our lives and situations that we wouldn’t have on our own, and allows us to discern truth in times when it would be impossible by natural, worldly means. It isn’t magic by any means. Rather, it’s a heightened awareness of truth, and the only way to get it and keep it is through prayer.
This is how a personal relationship with Christ develops. It happens over time, as we stretch our faith muscles and tune in to the Holy Spirit working in and through us. It develops just like any other friendship develops, with time, dedication and effort.
Developing this personal relationship with Christ does have a lot in common with natural friendships. You will find over time that He speaks to you in ways that are unique to your personality. For example, I hear from Him
through thoughts and ideas that I know are of the Spirit. One person I talked to said they don’t hear it that way, but rather they see Him through how their thoughts or emotions change or shift on certain areas that they’re praying about. I’ve heard others say they hear from the Spirit by seeing changes in attitudes or situations they’re facing. He speaks to everybody differently because He speaks in ways that each individual understands best.
I know this isn’t a full explanation of what having a personal relationship with Christ means. I wonder if such a thing exists, because there is no one process for doing this. The journey is as unique as we are, and it wholly depends on who we are and how we communicate with our Creator. I just hope that these two first steps that I took to begin my own journey help you to see the starting point for your own. As you proceed in prayer, I believe you’ll find a better guide for the rest of the journey through the Holy Spirit.
Now as for the education and experience to sell a box – sorry, I can’t help with that!
Next Week: The devil – no friend of ours!