Relationships; everybody has at least one.
Most of us have several, be they casual or business or otherwise. Our more personal and intimate relationships are those we value the most. A relationship of any kind is rarely easy to maintain, but this is especially true of our most intimate relationships. A truly good relationship requires much of our time and personal attention to detail.
The ability to listen is essential. Understanding comes only when we are truly listening to what the other person is communicating. As we grow in understanding, we also grow in compassion and trust. Trust is an essential element in all our relationships. A relationship cannot grow without trust.
In my younger days, a popular song asked the question: "In a world that’s constantly changing, how can I be sure where I stand with you?"
Frequently in my walk of faith, I have wondered, "How can I be sure? How can I trust that I am really and truly saved? How can I be sure where I stand in my relationship with Christ?" I have pondered these questions over the years as a result of the various relationships I have had in my lifetime.
When I first accepted Christ at age 12, my life changed dramatically. It seemed that everything bad that could happen in my life did happen. By the time I was 16, I no longer trusted God, because I felt that He had let me down. Thirty years later, God opened the eyes of my heart and I realized that the reason everything went so bad was because I had accepted and believed in the Gospel of Christ, and the enemy of my soul was not willing to let me go.
It took me over 30 years of "walking in the wilderness of anger and resentment," to finally realize that I had bought into the lies of my enemy. So on July 10, 1999, I admitted to God that I was wrong for leaving him and asked Him if He would forgive me and take me back. It was then I realized that even though I had left Him, He had never left me. He had been protecting me and caring for me all those years, even though my heart had been against Him.
From the time I stopped trusting God until the time I asked Him back into my heart and life, I was a complete wreck, both emotionally and spiritually. But true to his nature, God forgave me and healed me. Not in one day, mind you. It was and still is a process of healing and restoration. Some things simply take longer to heal than others. Not because of him, but because of my being slow and reluctant to let go and surrender all of my heart over to him.
By the end of 1999 the emptiness in my life that I had been trying to fill with drugs and debauchery was now being filled with the love of Christ and His "Spirit of Holiness," and for about three years, everything was going along good and I really felt like I was growing strong in Christ. Suddenly, everything started falling apart again. Doors of opportunity and service that had once flung wide open were now slamming shut. Relationships that had been growing warm and loving were suddenly cold and hostile. I was nearly at a loss as to what was happening, and once again I began to question God.
It took me a while to become truly honest with myself and realize that I was being disciplined, not rejected. While I was nowhere near the person I used to be, neither was I the saint that I had hoped to be. I was so glad and so relieved to have come to that understanding, but it was only by listening to God with my heart that I came to that understanding.
I’m still not completely "out of the woods" yet, but today I can be sure where I stand in my relationship with Christ, because I have come to know Him by submitting to HIS will and placing my complete trust in Him. In return, He has filled me with His loving Spirit of Holiness, so that I may know that I am never alone, He is with me wherever I go, whatever I do. And He is there for you, too.
If you’d like to be sure where you stand with Jesus, then 'open the door of your heart' to Him.
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me."
Revelation 3:20 (RSV)