It’s been an uncomfortable week. I’m not sure which is worse…trying to sleep on a bed of broken glass, or trying to sleep with a chest full of congestion. I’ve experienced the second this week. Last night, I fell asleep in my chair until around 2am. When I got up out of the chair to go to bed, my chest was full of….well….stuff. I think I woke up the whole neighborhood trying to clear it out. Nasty is the only word that I feel comfortable using to describe the experience. Here’s to hoping that I’m finally on the downside of this thing! If this post seems a little “out of sorts,” you can blame it on the cold.
Wednesday night, I taught a class at church on the topic of Salvation. Ten minutes before the class was due to start, I had zero voice. Then, just as we are ready to begin…there it was…back in my throat where it belongs. I made it though the class, and then was worn out. I don’t know if the class was any good, but it seemed to go okay despite my ailment.
One aspect of “Salvation” that we discussed on Wednesday is how we so often focus on the negative in order to try to convince someone to follow Christ. Like the billboards say: REPENT or PERISH! So many times, people become Christians in order to avoid Hell rather than to embrace the relationship with the Father that so wants to be in their lives. Other times, they appear to choose God, when in fact the appearance is all there is. Other factors, like family or social pressures drive them to make a commitment that isn’t true to their inner choices.
The bottom line to the whole salvation thing is: God is all about the relationship!
You don’t enter into a relationship to avoid something. You don’t develop lasting friendships by focusing on what you can get out of them. Has anyone really every felt close to someone that they were pressured into spending time with?
If we use those motivations to try to convince someone to come to God, we are only creating a façade that won’t last. Negative motivators usually become de-motivators. You can only scare me into doing something for so long before I will have had enough of it.
The LORD is my shepherd. He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul. Psalm 23 is one of the most beautiful examples of how God wants to be there to bring us peace, restoration, and fulfillment. Take a look at verse 6: Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Isn’t that the fulfillment that we all desire. That’s what a relationship with God brings…and, He’s all about the relationship.