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Tag: focus

The Results of the New Nature

I want you to think back to your high school or college days. For some of us, that won’t be hard. For others, you might have to dig way back in the memory bank. And I want you to think about your best friends from back then. Maybe one or two or three of your closest friends back in the day. Got those people in your mind?

Ok, now here’s a second question for you to ponder. Are those people still your best friends today? If I had asked you to name your top one/two/three best friends today, would those still be the same people you would name? I’m guessing that the older you are, the more likely you have different best friends now.

Relationships always change – friends that were once close, over time, can become distant. People move away. Your lives take different directions. You just grown distant over time.

And at the same time while you grow distant from some people, there are other people that you grow closer with. You’re always meeting new people and making new friends. And some of them grow to be very close friends.

But relationships always change. Even our relationship with God changes over time. I imagine most of us experience times of our lives when our relationship with God is super close! It’s awesome! You love praying and reading His Word. His presence is very real in your life and you just love serving Him and just being with Him.

And then there are other times, when we just feel distant from God. He becomes almost like a Facebook acquaintance. We know in our heads that God hasn’t gone anywhere – the Bible tells us He’s right there with us all the time… but it sure doesn’t feel like it.

That’s frustrating to me. I hate those times when I feel distant from God. I want a relationship with God that grows closer all the time – not more distant. And I think that’s what God wants too. From everything I read about in the Bible, it sure seems that God wants to have that close relationship with us too. Jesus didn’t die on the cross for me so that I could feel distant from Him. He didn’t send the Holy Spirit to empower and dwell right within me so that our relationship could grow cold. No! God wants to be my closest ally and my most faithful friend.

So how do we live in that continuously close relationship with God? Can we avoid or at least minimize those times where we feel distant? How do we make sure we’re growing closer – and not moving apart? How do we do that?

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A Continuous, Close Relationship with God

These past few weeks we’ve been looking at Christianity in a Nutshell as we’ve examined Paul’s letter to the Colossians. And we’ve been talking about some good stuff. Stuff like who Jesus really is. Stuff like what Jesus really did for us when He died on the cross and rose from the grave. Stuff like what it really means to be a Christian. And if you’ve missed that or just have a poor memory, let me give you a quick 3-point summary: #1. Jesus Christ is the Son of God. #2. He died on a cross and rose from the grave to take away our sin and our punishment so that we could be together with God. #3. Being a Christian means you have accepted what Christ has done for you and now, with Christ living within you, you have life together with God. That’s what we’ve been talking about.

We ended last week on the theme of having a relationship with God. And of course, that leads to the question: How? And not “How do we begin a relationship with God?” – we’ve talked about that already. It begins by confessing with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and believing in your heart that God raised Him from the dead. That’s how we start our relationship with God – But the question I want to talk about today is, how do we live in continuing, close relationship with God? What do we do? What does God do? How does it all work together? What is life together with God supposed to look like?

I don’t know if you’re like me – but I struggle with this. It is difficult for me to understand how exactly to experience a continuing, close relationship with God. And maybe that surprises you, but I’m just being honest. I don’t have it all figured out – but I’m learning.

And one of the greatest privileges I have as your pastor is to be able to stand in front of you week after week and share with you the lessons that I’ve been learning. That’s not to say that I’ve mastered it all. In fact, if you hear me preach on the same topic several times, it’s probably because God hasn’t got through to me yet. But I’m learning, and I’d love to have you learn with me.

Today we begin chapter three of Colossians.

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