Relationship Status

Are you In A Relationship?  Perhaps It’s Complicated?  What about the most important relationship you can ever have?

Relationships.  They’re everywhere.  And it’s not just about who is going out with who, there are our relationships with our friends, our family, our classmates and workmates.  Relationships are part of what makes us human beings. It would be a sad life if we really were cut off and totally on our own.

But there is one relationship that is more important than all the others, and that’s what I want to talk about.  Our relationship with God.

Now, to some people that doesn’t make any sense.  Atheists, obviously, don’t beleive in God, so they won’t understand how we can have a relationship with him.  But a lot of people who do beleive in some sort of God might also have a problem here.  Islam teachs that God is unknowable. You can’t have a relationship with an unknowable God. Lots of other people treat God as somthing distant from creation, who set it up and then walked away. No relationship there.  But we know differently. We know that God is a personal, knowable God.  And better than that, we know that he wants us to know him, to be in a relationship with him.  In the very begining the Bible tells us he walked in the garden with Adam and Eve. Sin broke that relationship but God the Son – Jesus – came in to the world around 2000 years ago to mend that break and give us the chance to have a relationship with him again.

So, why am I going on about this relationship?  Well, quite simply, because it is the most important relationship you can ever have. At the end of the day that’s what will make the difference whether you are going to heaven or not.  It’s not about how good you are, or how often you go to church.  It’s not about being religious or giving to charity.  When it all comes down to it, what matters is your relationship with God.

And really, that is what Christmas is all about.  Not presents, or cake, or turkey. Not days off schol and Christmas Specials on TV. Not even going to church and singing carols.  Christmas is about remembering that Jesus – God – was born into this world and died for us so that we could have the chance of a relationship with God again.

So, if you’re not in a relationship with God, don’t you think it’s time you were?  It’s easy to do, just pray, ask Jesus to come into your life and then follow him.  If you are in that relationship then I’ve got a few questions for you too.  How often do you talk to God? Do you go out of your way to please him? Do you ever want to share him with your other friends? These are all things we do in a healthy relationship, aren’t they?

So, as we look towards Christmas and all that comes with it, what’s your relationship status?

Fair? I Hope Not!

Ever feel that life’s not fair? Ever think that’s maybe not such a bad thing?

Unfairness may be a fact of life, but that doesn’t make it any less annoying. Don’t you just hate it when you feel you are getting a raw deal? I know I do, I get really wound up when I think I’m being hard done by. It’s a natural response, when we think we’re not getting what we deserve, or when we see someone getting something we think they don’t deserve. Unfairness, injustice, call it what you will, something inside us cries out at how wrong it is.

Recently I came across a daily reading though that made me think about this from a different angle. It spoke about the unfairness of seeing bad people doing well and getting the better of us. It also offered reassurance though. It reminded us that God is a god of justice, and that the wicked will one day be punished for their deeds. On that day, they said, we would receive justice at last. Our enemies will be cast down and we will be raised up to our rightful place.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realised there is a problem with this picture. We are the wicked. Before God we have all failed to make the grade. Our ‘rightful place’ is under God’s wrath, like everyone else. There is good news though. The good news is that God isn’t just the god of justice, he’s the god of mercy too. Our badness and our wrong-doing will be punished, but it doesn’t have to be us who get the punishment. Jesus offers to take it for us. if we have put our trust in him, he will raise us up, not to our rightful place, but to his side. This isn’t because of the things we do or the way we live, but in spite of it. Instead of getting what we deserve, we get a free gift we’ve done nothing to earn. Just as long as we rely totally on Jesus for it.

Good news, wonderful news, but fair? Not really! So the next time you find yourself wishing everything was fair: stop, think about this, and thank God it isn’t.