January 1 I Friday

Genesis 1-3

Matthew 1


“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with Me.”    —Revelation 3:20


Pens are useful tools for writing, but no one would say they have a relationship with a pen. We do not check on our pens at night to make sure they are lying comfortably or if the room is at a good temperature to keep their ink from drying out. Pens are disposable tools that, when they run out, we know we can easily get another.


We must not think of God like a tool. He is not some heavenly fire extinguisher to call upon when we want our sins forgiven or a crisis put out in our life. It has become common to speak glibly about the fact that Christianity is not a religion but a relationship, but we may need to ask ourselves whether we really think this way about our walk with God. We can be born again of the Spirit but be totally devoid of fellowship, communion and communication with Him.


Some Christians stop before developing a relationship with Jesus. They think it is enough to know their theology, attend church every Sunday and regularly serve in their communities. They tick off their boxes of rules followed and good deeds done, but are missing out on the joy of a relationship with Christ Himself. Jesus defined eternal life as “that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent” (John 17:3). Having a relationship with Christ is about knowing Him, surrendering to Him and enjoying real and intimate fellowship with Him.


Even those of us involved in full-time ministry can find it challenging to have a relationship with Christ that goes beyond surface level. We might think of Him as a ministerial supervisor, working with Him, trusting Him and following His instructions. We may long to know His will, His Word and His mind, but how often do we do so because we want to accomplish things in His service, not because we want to know Him?


Like any relationship, developing one with Jesus will require effort. We will not grow close to Him if we limit our interaction with Him to a brief prayer once a day or to simply obeying His commands. May we intentionally discipline ourselves this New Year to regularly make space in our busy schedules to consciously spend time with Him through reading His Word and intimate communion with Him daily. We are not merely tools for Him to use anymore than He is a tool for us. It is a privilege that Jesus works in and through us, but He has saved us in the first instance so we can actively live in dynamic, fruitful day-by-day relationship with Him.


Prayer: Lord Jesus, forgive me for the times I have thought of You as a tool to fix a problem instead of the God who wants a relationship with Me. Help me discipline myself this New Year to spend time with You. Thank You, Jesus.

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