Who needs God? That is the question Pastor Jeff will help us answer over the next several weeks. I am ahead of the game though, I already know that the answer is “me.” But do I live like I believe the answer?
When I was younger I felt uneasy around my pastors and teachers. I was grateful for what these people taught me but I always kept them at an arms’ distance—I believed that what they said was true, and I believed that my life would be better if I did what they said. However, these were the people who I tried to impress every week—I saw them as contest judges more than mentors so I didn’t want to give them any opportunity to see that I wasn’t perfect. I knew that it would be important for my future success to learn math so I learned math, but why would I ever willingly speak with my math teacher? What if I made an embarrassing mistake, or what if they saw that I have too much free time and decide to give me more math homework?
As I grew up and understood that these people would love nothing more than to learn more about me and help me, I understood that I still apply my old way of thinking to my relationship with God. I am grateful that Jesus has given me salvation, and I believe in the power of God’s love and the wisdom of scripture, but do I really want to involve God in every part of my life? If I sit down with God and look at my whole life, won’t it mostly be a big list of mistakes, half-heartedness, wasted time, and missed opportunities? Won’t He just come up with more things for me to do? The result of this way of thinking is that I treat God more like a handbook on life advice—valuable and full of good information, but not something exciting that motivates my life. This leads to a reactive Christianity—I am a generally pleasant person and I usually know the moral thing to do when I need to make a decision, but the habit of making Christ the center of my life is difficult to develop.
1 Peter 3:15-16 says:
Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ.
Is this how I live my life? Being honest, not really.
Am I always ready to explain my hope as a believer? Do I worship Christ as Lord of my life? Not very well and not all the time. I know that Christ is the most important thing in my life, but I don’t always put Him in charge, and He often ends up as one competing priority in my life.
Recognizing Jesus’ Lordship of your life is the key to developing your hope in Him. While God is the fearsome judge that my younger self hoped to avoid, Jesus has paid the debt of God’s judgment on our sins by dying in our place. Jesus’ sacrifice has fully restored our relationship with God like a good teacher and a child—God expects us to make mistakes, and God hopes for us to ask Him for help to understand how to grow wiser and kinder.
The better we can understand the value of this gift that Jesus gave us, the better we will recognize Him as Lord of our lives, and the better we will find hope in Him. I know what God has done through Jesus, but I could spend my whole life trying to understand the love it took for Him to suffer for us and I will never fully appreciate it. I have read the Proverbs of King Solomon, but how much prayer, faith, and endurance did it take for Solomon to find his holy wisdom and love? I see others who have placed Christ as the Lord of their lives and find inspiration—what is it about Jesus that causes someone else to move to a new city to start a church, or to keep finding ways to help people they don’t know? The more we try to understand these things and to seek them, our relationship with God becomes an incredible gift where He is the perfect center of our lives rather than a distant giver of good advice.
To know that God is willing to come and save me, to give me wisdom and strength for everything I encounter, and to give me the power to be a good part of the lives of those around me is a wonderful gift. These gifts are my hope in Christ—without this hope my life would be shortsighted and isolated, but with this hope I can join with fellow believers to bring the love and light of Christ to heal the world. God gives these gifts freely, and God has the love and patience to help me find and share these gifts, and that is why I need God.
David is a member of Skyline and serves in Guest Services. He and his wife Joy live in Gaithersburg, MD and will gladly ford the mighty Potomac River to come and see you. He loves history and science fiction equally, and enjoys hiking, camping, and traveling. He hopes to better develop his relationship with God and better grow a spirit of service.