Developing a Deeper Relationship with Christ; Evangelical Relationships
Every Christian, new or old, has some kind of relationship with Christ. But like any relationship, if we want a good one we need to spend time with each other and grow our relationship. Many Christians though don’t realize how deep their relationship can get with Christ. Since He hasn’t returned yet, they are stuck with serving Him and doing His work here on earth. This is a Master-servant relationship which I have discussed previously. What many don’t realize is that God calls us to a deeper relationship with Him and we can have that relationship while we are waiting His return. Being a servant is good, but it isn’t going to attract many people into having their own relationship with Christ. God wants us to develop our relationships deeper, so we get more out of it, and others will want to have one too. These are what I call evangelical relationships, relationships that will attract others to Christ. The next stage past the servant stage is friends.
Not long after Jesus made the comment about being a good servant, He said this;
No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you John 15:15 (ESV)
Jesus doesn’t want us to stay servants, He calls us to be His friend. This is where we start to have a relationship that others want. Everyone wants to have a good friend, and what a friend we have in Jesus. With Jesus, we have a friend we can talk to, confide in, lean on, or cry on His shoulder if we need to. And He will never be busy with something else nor will He ever betray us. He is always there for us, who doesn’t desire a friendship like that! But since we’ve developed past the servant stage, it doesn’t mean we stop serving, quite the opposite. We will find ourselves serving more. Think of it this way, if your boss were to come to you and say; “I need you to come in and work on your day off, but I can’t pay you so it will have to be voluntary,” how many would do it? But if your best friend asks you to come over on your day off and help him work on his house, you would be more likely to do it. Here, we are serving out of love, not because it is what we are supposed to do.
But our relationship gets even better, the next stage is family. Romans 8 says this;
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him Romans 8:14-17 (ESV)
Now, Jesus isn’t just our best friend, He’s our brother, we have a blood bond. More than that, we also have God as our Father. And unlike many people believe, God isn’t the stern Father, watching over us, guiding us where He wants us, and disciplining us when we go wrong. God is the Father in the story of the prodigal son. Even though the story is named after the son, the story really is about the Father and His love for His children. In the story, the younger son basically tells his father, “I can’t wait until you die so I can get my inheritance, why don’t you give it to me now, and I will go off and pretend you are dead.” Instead of getting angry, the father gives the son what he wants, which is one third of his riches, and the son moves away. After the son spends all the money, the economy goes bad and he can’t even find work enough to buy food. That’s when he realizes that his father pays his servants better than what he’s making, so he returns to ask his father to hire him as a servant. So now what he’s doing is, he realized that he’s messed things up with his father so much that he doesn’t even hope to be a friend. He’s prepared to take two steps back to the Master-servant stage. But when he returns, he finds the father waiting for him, not to discipline him, but to welcome him back. The father is overcome with joy to have his son back. That is the loving Father we have in God, nothing we can do will ever separate us from His love. Look what’s happened to the family in the world today, people would give anything to have a family like this. And as Christians, we can experience this relationship, but it even gets better. The ultimate relationship we can have with Christ is lovers, or Bridegroom-bride.
Revelation 19 says;
Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints Rev 19:7-8 (ESV)
In the gospel of John, Jesus calls Himself the Bridegroom, and His church is his bride, that’s us. When you felt Jesus calling you, that was Him down on one knee, proposing to you. If you have accepted Christ, you have accepted His proposal and agreed to be His bride. This isn’t just a metaphor, or something we will have in heaven, we can have this relationship now. Jesus wants it, He wants that intimacy with us. Would you want your spouse to be just a friend or like a sibling, no, we want a deeper relationship with our spouse and so does Jesus. We are given an example of his love for us in Song of Solomon. The book is divided into three parts, one is the man (Jesus), one is the woman (us), and the third is what others are saying. I recommend everyone to read this book, and when you do, remember, what the groom is saying is how Jesus feels about you, and what the bride is saying is how you should feel about Jesus. But don’t get hooked on the words, get hooked on the passion behind the words. Here are some examples, in chapter two, the maiden says this about her lover;
As an apple tree among the trees of the forest, so is my beloved among the young men. With great delight I sat in his shadow, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love. Sustain me with raisins; refresh me with apples, for I am sick with love. Song 2:3-5 (ESV)
She is saying that her love stands out among all others and how happy she is with him. This is how we should feel with Jesus. Chapter four tells us how Jesus feels about us:
You have captivated my heart, my sister, my bride; you have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace. How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much better is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your oils than any spice! Song 4:9-10 (ESV)
This is how Jesus feels about you! When we reach this relationship with Christ and show it, chapter six shows us the reaction others will have to it;
Where has your beloved gone, O most beautiful among women? Where has your beloved turned, that we may seek him with you? Song 6:1 (ESV)
Are you there yet?