Tag Archives: intimate relationship

Charles Stanley – Communion With God

 

Philippians 3:7-10

God created men and women to be in relationship with Him. The type of communion Adam and Eve first enjoyed with Him was meant for us as well. But when sin entered the world, everything changed. God’s intended intimate relationship with mankind was broken, and it has been passed down through the generations in that damaged condition.

But as we know, that’s not the end of the story. Jesus came to die in our place, bringing forgiveness for our sins and restoring our relationship with the Father. Through faith in Christ, we are adopted into God’s family and belong to Him forever—just as He originally planned. He has provided us with everything we need to experience intimacy with Him.

So what happens if, following salvation, new believers never go deeper? Some may drift away from their initial zeal for the Lord, failing to make Bible reading or church attendance a regular occurrence. Perhaps others try to focus on the Lord but allow earthly matters to distract them. Over time, some Christians settle for what’s comfortable and familiar. Sadly, they will miss out on the deep contentment God wanted to provide. Yet those who make Jesus the priority of their life will have a deepening relationship with Him, which transcends any earthly one.

Communion with God made King David “fully satisfied as with the richest of foods” (Ps. 63:5 NIV). And Paul viewed his own accomplishments as nothing in comparison with “the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:8). Draw near to God, and experience the blessings of knowing Him.

Bible in One Year: Isaiah 36-39

 

 

 

Charles Stanley – The Key to the Christian Life

Charles Stanley

Life Principle 24

To live the Christian life is to allow Jesus to live His life in and through us.

Galatians 2:20

Many Christians today seem content to live what they think is an adequate Christian life. They believe that if they go to church, read their Bibles occasionally, and say their prayers once in a while, they will be all right with God. Occasionally, they may be inspired to go above and beyond their normal routines and volunteer to serve others as ushers, members of a church committee, or even go on a short-term mission trip. Though they go through the motions of being a “good Christian,” they do not enjoy the power, peace, and joy that should come with the abundant life Jesus promised (John 10:10). Eventually, the counterfeit Christian life they are living becomes a burden and does not comfort them when the storms of adversity assail.

This was not what you were created for. God does not call you or any believer to a marginal Christian life characterized by chores and rituals. He desires to have a daily relationship with you where you experience His presence and trust Him for wisdom, courage, and strength in all situations. With every step you take, decision you make, conversation you have, and thought you entertain, the Lord wants to glorify Himself through you. He desires to shine in your life—with His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control illuminating your unique talents, traits, and personality as you walk in obedience to Him.

In other words, to live the Christian life is to allow Jesus to live in and through you. That is why Paul wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Gal. 2:20).

How do you allow Jesus to do so? In what way does He live in and through you? If these two questions seem difficult or confusing to you, you aren’t alone. Many people never realize how powerfully Christ could demonstrate His life through them. This is because many believe that the key to living the Christian life starts with pious acts, when it really begins with a deep, intimate relationship with Him.

Therefore, to answer the first question: How do you allow Jesus to do this?—you must realize the answer comes by working on your relationship with Christ. You do this through Bible study, prayer, worship, and fellowship with other believers. You not only learn about Him, but you must also listen to Him, because He will teach you how to love Him, live for Him, and walk in His ways.

The answer to the second question: In what way does He live in and through you?—is as unique as each believer who follows Him. This is because He has a special purpose for your life, and the most important thing you can ever do is simply obey Him—no matter what He tells you to do. God will allow situations and troubles in your life that only He can solve. This is so He can demonstrate His glory, power, love, and wisdom through you.

Is there anything distracting you from having an intimate relationship with the Lord? Have you failed to trust God’s sovereignty? Are you worried that you’re not doing enough to deserve a relationship with Him or that you could lose the eternal life He has given you? Then you need to return to the basic truth that your salvation is through faith in Christ and not by works. There is absolutely nothing you can do to earn it or be worthy of it. Therefore, there is nothing you can do or fail to do that would cause you to forfeit it either.

The issue is not your salvation but the impact of your life for Christ and the joy and fulfillment you receive from Him. God does not call you to an adequate life—He wants it to be extraordinary. However, for you to experience the life He planned for you, you must stop being distracted by peripheral issues and focus your attention completely on Him. Can you do it? Can you trust Jesus to live His life through you and take care of all that troubles you?

Of course you can! The God who redeems you can teach you how to live for Him. The Savior you trusted for your eternity is more than capable of taking care of all the matters that burden you daily and shining through you brightly so that others can know Him and be saved. Therefore, die to your notions of what the Christian life should be so you can experience true life in Him.

Adapted from The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible, © 2009.

 Open to go to 30 Life Principles

 

Charles Stanley – The God Who Relates to Us

Charles Stanley

John 15:14-17

As much as our heavenly Father cares about our salvation, He also places high priority on another aspect of our Christian life: He is interested in building a relationship with you and me—the kind that Jesus built with His disciples.

Can you imagine a higher compliment than for the God of the universe to say, “I want a personal, intimate relationship with you?” What this means is that our heavenly Father wants to make it possible for a mutual sharing of the highest order. He is interested in genuine conversation and listening. He longs to spend time with you. He seeks openness and transparency with no dark, hidden secrets between you and Him.

God created us in His image, which means that we can reason and experience emotion, free choice, and commitment. He wants to love us and have us love Him in return. He thinks of us not merely as servants, but as friends in whom He can confide. That is why Jesus said to His disciples, “All things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15).

It was a special privilege for the disciples to live, work, and interact with the incarnate Christ. But we are also privileged because this very day, two thousand years later, the Father desires to build as warm and intimate a relationship with us as His Son did with those first-century followers. Our God is not some distant, transcendent deity. He’s close. And He is ever calling us to greater intimacy with Him. Won’t you respond to Him today?

John MacArthur – Set Apart for God

John MacArthur

“You are . . . a holy nation” (1 Pet. 2:9).

Christians are a holy nation–a people set apart from sin and hell to an intimate relationship with God. Originally Israel was God’s holy nation, but by unbelief she forfeited that privilege. Now the church, which consists of both Jew and Gentile, is His unique people, and will remain so until the nation of Israel repents and receives her Messiah at His return (Zech. 12:10).

Biblical holiness (sanctification) is often misunderstood, but it needn’t be. When the Holy Spirit delivered you from the domain of darkness and transferred you into the kingdom of Christ, you became His special possession. That doesn’t mean you’re sinlessly perfect, but it does mean you’re no longer a slave to sin, the devil, and death. That’s positional sanctification. Practical sanctification is the decreasing frequency of sin and the increasing frequency of righteousness as you progress in your Christian walk.

Sanctification should not be confused with false standards of holiness, adopted by those who, like the Pharisees, attempt to be holy through external means; or, like the Stoics, have a passionless devotion to duty; or, like monks, isolate themselves from the world; or, like the quasi-Christian psychologists, replace sanctification with introspection, self-analysis, and improvement of one’s self- image.

True holiness begins with a love for Christ Himself. That’s what compels you toward greater sanctification. Peter said that you were “chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:1-2). Christ Himself became to you “wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30). In Him you were saved, which is the beginning of sanctification, and in Him you have every resource necessary for progressing in holiness.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank God for your positional holiness in Christ, for by it you are perfect in His sight.

Thank Him for the Spirit’s power in your life, which enables you to live in a manner pleasing to Him.

For Further Study:

What do these passages say about sanctification: Acts 15:7- 9, 1 Thessalonians 4:3, Hebrews 10:14, and 1 Peter 1:15-16?

Charles Stanley – Loved but Lost

Charles Stanley

John 3:15-17

Many people assume that since God is loving, He will make a place for everyone in heaven. They do not grasp the basic truths about “lost” and “saved”:

1. All people start life as “lost” beings. Since he was the first man, Adam served as representative of the human race. When he sinned against God (Gen. 3), his spirit became one of rebellion and sinfulness (Rom. 5:12). That “sin nature,” which is passed along to each generation, results in our being “lost.” Neither our deeds nor the fact of God’s love are the determining factors.

2. Mankind is dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1). When Adam sinned, his intimate relationship with God died. We, his descendants, are born into that state. Although we are physically alive at birth, our spirit—the only part of us that can relate to God—is dead.

3. We are eternal beings. Because we are made in God’s image, our souls are eternal. Yet Scripture tells us that those who reject Christ as Savior will perish. (John 3:16). This does not mean annihilation; rather, the “lost” will experience consciousness after physical death but will be separated eternally from God.

4. New birth is required (1 Peter 1:3). To have a relationship with our heavenly Father requires that the part of us that has been dead to God now be made alive. When we trust in Jesus, the very life of God is born in us, and we move from being spiritually dead and lost to being alive and saved.

Our heavenly Father, out of love for us, provided just what we needed—a Savior. Start spreading the truth!

Charles Stanley – Knowing God as Our Father

 

Matthew 6: 8-14

Of God’s many names in the Bible, one is especially comforting to me in difficult times. What an awesome privilege that we—sinful, created beings—can call Him our heavenly Father.

Now, I realize that in today’s culture, family relationships too often fail to reflect God’s heart. Many parents are absent, distant, or harsh with their children. If you had such an experience in your growing-up years, it might be difficult to grasp the heavenly Father’s unconditional love. So let’s explore what it means to be adopted as His children and given the right to call Him “Father.”

First, we are His. We find great confidence and worth in this truth, as the sense of belonging fulfills a very deep need.

Second, our God wants an intimate relationship with us. We should be genuine when we pray, because the Lord accepts us just as we are. He longs for us to be transparent, sharing honestly with Him. In love, He responds by revealing Himself to us in many ways and speaking life, peace, and joy to our hearts.

Third, Christ has promised us His eternal presence. Once we are saved, nothing can separate us from Him—no sin is too big and no evil too strong. We are secure in His love forever.

Because of sin, we deserved separation from our Creator. But in His great love, God redeemed us and adopted us into His family. Now we are His children, who can bask in His unconditional acceptance and eternal presence as we get to know Him more deeply. No matter what our earthly dad was like, we can thrive in our heavenly Father’s care.