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How’s Your Relationship Going?

How’s your walk with the Lord going? No, seriously. Can you stop reading and assess your relationship with God? … Okay, now are you glad I’m not Billy Graham looking you in the eye and asking you “how Christian” you’ve been lately?

Why does that question so often make us scramble to remember our last effort to be close to Jesus? In fact, when was the last time you asked someone that question? Did you cork it in fear that the “askee” would inquire the same, knowing you probably couldn’t sell your relationship to them?

Ask a close friend, and see what happens. Do they start to tell you (while reminding themselves) of their more frequent quiet times, their more intense worship, or how much more they’ve been praying than they were, say, two months ago? Or do they do the opposite and tell you how crummy things are because they haven’t prayed or read their Bibles all week?

When you love a friend, and you know the obvious benefit to a close walk with Jesus, you can’t help but wonder with hope if their relationship with God is thriving. That wonder got the better of me a couple days ago with a “brother.” I saw his discomfort while trying to recall all the “Christian” things he had been doing lately. All of the sudden, his rant was so familiar—reminiscent of so many others I knew, including my own. “Dude, I don’t care about that. How are you and Jesus doing?” I said.

Think of a very close friend who you haven’t seen in a long time. This person was the other half of your brain, the other half of your heart and the other half of your plans every weekend. Now, they might be away at school; their career might have taken them to a different region. They might be married and you’re not, or they’re single while you’re not anymore. Either way, their marital status is likely opposite of yours, and tying the knot often thrusts the united party into different social circles. Got that person? Now how’s your relationship with them going?

Unless you had a major falling out, chances are, things are the same they’ve been for years, and it’s still one of the most comfortable relationships in your life. Even if you haven’t talked in months, you can still call them, let out a huge sigh and drop on them all the most intimate or shallow aspects of your life with no inhibitions. You pick up where you left off. Is it not because the foundations of your relationship were built, even long ago, in the deepest parts of your beings? Of course, and you feel it even now while you’re reading this. When I asked you how your relationship with this person was going, you didn’t automatically think of your last gift to them on their birthday or how good, long or intimate their last email to you was. You thought of him/her and yourself, and what you’ve had with them for years.

Why is it so different with Jesus? Do you ever wonder what Jesus would say if we asked Him how He feels about yours and His relationship? If He had all the love in the world for you while you were still in the womb (Psalm 139:13-14), why would your activity, or lack of it, make you any less loved? Sure, it’s important to make the effort to spend time with Jesus, but why use your (lack of) effort as a gauge or commentary of your walk with Him?

You might be sitting on a bus, standing in a subway car, sitting at your computer or waiting to get your teeth cleaned. Your relationship with Jesus, at least from His point of view, is just like it was when you were worshiping last month or when you read the book of Joel all the way through (trust me, it’s a real book of the Bible)—you are the object of all His deepest affection.

John 15:13-17 says, “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. This I command you, to love one another.”

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To be literally still and know that He is God goes against all we feel He must want from us. We translate it: “Be really active, and show Me in all your activity that you love Me.” Next time you’re asked how your “walk” is going, don’t be so quick to look at what you’ve done lately, but rather what your relationship was (and is still) built on … “a greater love …”

[Trevor Knox is a youth pastor in Fresno, Calif. He loves jumping up and down and inside-out on God’s Word and watching it hold him up in a new way every time.]

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