It all comes down to what you really want. The neighbor called with an offer of yard work for my teenager. Shoulders down, he trudged up the road and helped our elderly friend because it was the right thing to do. The same offer came two weeks later, after a desire for a new camera lens had manifest in the same teenager’s life. That day he cheerfully donned his baseball cap and made the trip in half of the time, a jaunt in his step, with gusto and anticipation. When we really want it, we go for it.
As believers in Jesus, we have been given access to Him, and are free to approach His throne. This is how Paul explains our high security rating;
“Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”– Hebrews 10:19-22
This woman didn’t sit and hope for the best. She reached out and touched God, and He rewarded her approaching Him.
“And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.
‘Who touched me?’ Jesus asked.
When they all denied it, Peter said, ‘Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.’
But Jesus said, ‘Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.’
Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.’”
If this lady had remained passive, she would have missed out. Are there areas in our lives where we are missing out? How do we need a touch from Jesus? He promises that He will respond to our reaching out and touching Him. James 4:8 promises, “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
This verse is part of a passage that is talking about the rewards of submission to God and humility before Him. When we come to God in an attitude of reverence, honor and praise, understanding and recognizing our utter dependence on Him, He responds to our faith. He can trust us, and He can use us to do important things.
We are able to serve Jesus our whole lives without knowing Him. Sadly, many people do. In the military, soldiers are commanded by their superiors throughout their careers. Unless they are invited to do so, they may never know these commanders personally. They are subordinates. Jesus’ followers can do the same thing. But He offers accessibility to a relationship that upgrades us to be His friends. Still, we may never take the initiative necessary to have a two-way relationship with Him. Others of us do.
We are able to serve Jesus our whole lives without knowing Him.
God is accessible to us. When we stop everything else in ours lives in order to step over His threshold to visit Him, He is delighted to commune with us. Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Friendship with God is far from ordinary. It is remarkable.
The Psalms are full of examples of a reciprocated relationship between David and God. In Psalm 42:1-2, David says “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” David wanted to be with God, and He was restless as He waited for time alone with God.
In Psalm 27:7, David says, “My heart says of you, 'Seek his face!' Your face, Lord, I will seek.” Acts 13:22 says of David, “After removing Saul, (God) made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’” David’s longing to be with God and His desire to know more of Him was highly valued by God. God values our desire to know Him better, also.
In Luke 15:17-20, the story is told of a man who unabashedly squandered all that he had. His life descended to misery. He had cut himself off from his father. This is what Jesus said of him,
“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father.”
His initiative was generously rewarded…This man never regretted returning home.
This is how God is with us. Even if we are a long way off, when God sees that we are headed toward Him, he runs to us. David knew God’s forgiveness, and He knew His heart. He longed for His Father because He wanted more of His compassion, affection and love. God waits for us to return His overwhelming love for us.
The stories mentioned above are of people who reached out to God and received more than they could have anticipated. That is how God is. Psalm 23:5-6 is a picture of God’s hospitality when we visit Him;
“You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
What initiative do we need to take? How do we need to approach Jesus to be healed? How can we raise from being God’s servant to His friend? What prayers do we need to pray? What sins need to be left behind and forgiven? What work does He have for us, only to be revealed on His ground? All of these questions can be answered if we reach out and take His hand and talk with Him. Leave passivity behind and pursue God. Your life will never be the same.