There is a unique aspect of Christianity that no other religion or philosophy offers – God wants to have a relationship with us!
Romans 8:9 says: The Spirit of God dwells in you!
Our relationship with God is amazing. In verses 10 to 17 of Romans 8, Paul lists the benefits of our relationship:
- We have an abundant and meaningful life (v. 10).
- We have power to heal our bodies (v. 11).
- We can put to death the addictions and negative attitudes of the flesh (v. 13).
- We are led by the Spirit. He speaks to us. We walk in His calling (v. 14).
- We have no fear (v. 15).
- We have an intimate relationship with Abba, Father, or Daddy (v. 15).
- We have confidence to do His works (v. 16).
- We have a future as co-heirs of Christ (v. 17).
As I composed the above list, I was elevated in my spirit with possibility, then I plummeted in self-condemnation as I thought, “What an idiot. I’ve been a follower of Jesus for 50 years, and I don’t experience hardly any of this.”
Fortunately, Romans 8:1 says:
There is no condemnation for those of us in Christ Jesus.
The list of the eight blessings may be suspect in my life, but I don’t have to feel guilty about it. My relationship with God isn’t dependent upon my good works.
Working on my relationship with God is a priority for me in 2022.
I learned a long time ago that if I wanted to be a better husband, father, or pastor, the first thing that I needed was confession of my inadequacies and then experience more of God’s grace. Maturity in Christ is more about God’s empowering than my succeeding with a “to-do” list.
One week, I didn’t spend enough time preparing for a sermon (I won’t confess how many times this happened in 49 years as a pastor). I asked God to take over and help. Afterward, perhaps too many people came up and told me that it was my best sermon ever.
God responded to my confessed inadequacy with grace. His mercy gave me the freedom to not only be more disciplined with future sermons but also want to be more disciplined!
I want to live all of the eight marks of a relationship with God that the Apostle Paul wrote about in Romans 8.
I know better than to make a self-proclamation of more effort. Also, I’m not going to dwell in self-condemnation of failed efforts. Instead, I’m confessing and claiming my rights as a child of God.
Watch out world – Pastor Grant, unleashed by His grace and mercy!