January 2 I Thursday
“Look to the LORD and His strength; seek His face always.” —1 Chronicles 16:11
What exactly is the Christian life? How would we define it? There are various views and ways that we might try to describe it. Some Christians may define the Christian life as one of the following three. The first view defines the Christian life as a belief system. If it is a belief system, then the most important concern is to dot the I’s and cross the T’s, making sure we get things right. The primary issue of Christianity then becomes getting a good grasp of the systematic theology.
The second view says Christianity is primarily an experience. While the Christian life does involve experience, a Christian life focused on experience will set its main objective on trying to create, recreate or enhance our experiences. But the issue with experiences is that they become history very quickly and we begin to look back at them in nostalgia. They become stale. For example, we might look back at a great vacation that we had and it is a nice memory but we cannot recreate it.
The third view considers the Christian life as mainly being emotionally connected with God. If that is so, when we gather together, our primary objective would be to create an emotional high. The danger when we start to do that is that our worship places the focus not on the object of our worship—which is God—but on the subject of our worship—which is us. Rationalizing, if we felt good, then we have worshiped.
Each of these views have their valid place as there is plenty to believe, there is a lot to experience and there are wonderful things to feel in our connection with God. However, if we are to define the Christian life using Scripture, we will find that it is fundamentally about being in relationship. Jesus summarizes in the Gospel of John the crux of the Christian life as follows, “Now this is eternal life: that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent” (John 17:3). Jesus tells us the Christian life is to know God.
For example, we can know Queen Elizabeth by studying her in history books, reading about her on the news, or listening to her many speeches but our “knowing” of Queen Elizabeth is only one dimensional. Similarly, we could read Scripture and study God without knowing Him relationally. Hence, prayer plays a key part in our relationship with God. Relationships thrive on communication and prayer allows us to commune with God. The Christian life is about being in relationship with God and flourishing through prayer.
Prayer: Lord God, thank You for the privilege of knowing You as a living God. Draw me into a more intimate relationship with You. Amen!