I recently attended my daughter’s graduation baccalaureate service. Students from varying religions addressed the audience to express why their faith was important to them. I found their answers quite intriguing.
“I was born a Jew.”
“My faith, Hinduism, is the oldest religion and therefore, must be true.”
“It is how I have been raised by my family.”
“My religion provides a moral compass. In other words, it is how I know the difference between bad and good.”
Finally, a young man talked about Christianity. It varied from all the other religions because of one singular reason: JESUS. All of the other faiths spoke of their efforts to reach up to God. Only Christianity spoke of God’s effort to reach down to mankind. All of the other faiths discussed their efforts to appease their god by being a good person. Only Christianity spoke of a personal relationship with God because God chose to set His affection on us, despite our continual bad behavior. Our relationship with God is not hinged on a list of “do’s and don’ts”, but rather on admitting that we need a savior. We can never be good enough on our own merits. All of the other beliefs had much to say about their God, but only Christianity focused on Jesus and the resurrection.
Unbelievers may have a general sense of who God is…they may recognize that creation came into existence somehow or by someone…they may even acknowledge there is a God. Remember, even the demons believed in God. Listen to James 2:19 (NIV), “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder.” However, they do not have Jesus. And since they do not have Jesus, their prayers are like flare guns being shot aimlessly into the dark.
As believers, we are promised a mediator, whose name is Jesus. On our own merit, we are not better than an unbeliever. We are not smarter. We didn’t come to the conclusion that God exists on our own. No…we all are sinners according to Romans 3:23. We all deserve to die (Rom 6:23). We all are broken. And God is a holy God and cannot bear to be in the presence of sin. It is only because of Jesus that we have an advantage. It is only because of the work that Jesus did on our behalf on the cross. It is only because God has chosen us. Without Jesus, we are nothing.
1 Timothy 2:5, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
Because of what has been afforded to us, it only makes sense that we would want to know God.
“Knowing about God is crucially important for the living of our lives. As it would be cruel to an Amazonian tribesmen to fly him to London, put him down without explanation in Trafalgar Square and leave him, as one who knew nothing of English or England, to fend for himself, so we are cruel to ourselves if we try to live in this world without knowing about the God whose world it is and who runs it. The world becomes a strange, mad, painful place, and life in it a disappointing and unpleasant business, for those who do not know about God. Disregard the study of God, and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfold, as it were, with no sense of direction, and no understanding of what surrounds you. This way you can waste your life and lose your soul.” J.I. Packer, author of Knowing God
We pray so that we can know God more. Prayer, in its fullest sense, is our pursuit to know God. It is an ongoing, continual conversation with Him that begins in His Word and pours out into the fabric of our daily lives. Into our struggles. Our celebrations. Our encounters with the glory of God.
Have you forgotten about the privilege of knowing God? Are you overly focused on being good enough? To measure up? Remind yourself today that God’s grace is sufficient for you. He is most after relationship.
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