The following are excerpts from a teaching on Acts 16:6-10 about being in a real relationship with God. The full teaching will be at http://www.emmausteachings.org by Monday.
We talk a lot (in evangelical culture) about “having a personal relationship” with Jesus, which speaks to a beautiful reality.
But sometimes, I sense that we’re talking about “having a relationship with Jesus” like it’s something to possess or like it’s a qualifying event (for some future payoff).
We say, “it’s not about being good, it’s about having a relationship.”
We say, “It’s not about religion, it’s about having a relationship.”
And in a very subtle way, I wonder if “having a relationship” almost becomes like “having a ticket” to get in.
What’s important is not that you have a ticket.
What’s important is that you enter into real relationship with the living God.
God’s not going to ask you, “Do you have a ticket?” He’s going to ask you, “Do you love me? Is there anything real between us?”
Jesus warned about a time in the future when he will say to some, “Depart from me. I never knew you.”
It’s so critical that we recognize the remarkable wonder that we have been invited into a real relationship, not just a one time event.
This is why possession language – saying “I have a relationship” is potentially dangerous. It could lead to seeing this relationship as just a ticket to somewhere.
Real relationships are ongoing. We “enter into” relationship. And it’s the relationship itself that matters, not just the moment the relationship begins.
I think that’s why Jesus says one time “you must be born again.” But he says dozens of times, “Follow me.”
Because what Jesus invites us into is a relationship that’s progressive and ongoing… Not like a relationship with the girl at the ticket counter at the movie theater, but more like a marriage…