Restoring Our Relationship with Christ Sabbath Devotional Reading and Podcast
All relationships begin with a foundation of faith, trust, and love. At the beginning of the human relationship, we place our faith and trust in each other and as time passes, we begin to love. But in our relationship with Jesus, we act on the innate love that is in our hearts by responding to His invitation.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20).
Reflect on the moment that you decided to accept Jesus as your personal Savior. Whether you were in church, watching a religious program, listening to a podcast, or in mental, emotional, or physical distress and called on God for help that was your moment of acknowledgment and surrender to a higher power outside of yourself.
“But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me” (John 15:26).
We did not accept Jesus because of a decision based on our efforts alone, the Holy Spirit touched our hearts, and we responded to the invitation from Jesus by saying yes. Why do we make an immediate decision to accept Christ or call out to God even though we have never acknowledged Him before? We can thank Jesus for His promise of sending us a Helper the Holy Spirit.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). From Jesus’ love, He created us with the innate ability to love God and others. “We love him, because he first loved us (1 John 4:19).
If we were born with the ability to love God, then why do so many reject Jesus Christ? We were created with the free will choice to accept or reject the only way that we can come to God, and that is through His Son, Jesus. In the New Testament, the two apostles and two disciples who wrote the Four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) documented the longstanding history of those who chose to openly reject Jesus.
Throughout the New Testament, we become aware that most of the Jewish people rejected Christ as the Son of God. In Nazareth, Jesus was reading from Isaiah, and the people listening accused Him of blasphemy. “On hearing this, all the people in the synagogue were enraged. They got up, drove Him out of the town, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw Him over the cliff. But Jesus passed through the crowd and went on His way.…” (Luke 4:28-30).
Even so, their rejection led to Jesus’ crucifixion which was necessary for the Plan of Salvation to be brought to fruition. When Jesus uttered the words, “It is finished!” He was referring to His sacrifice for the Redemption of humanity. Sadly, all who reject Christ will result in dying the second and final death as described in Malachi chapter 1.
The Presence and Power of the Holy Spirit
At Pentecost, when Peter used the writings of the prophet Joel and King David to explain they crucified Jesus, who was the prophesied Son of God, the multitude was filled with fear. “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men, and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37).
“Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent and let every one of you is baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call’ ” Acts 2:37-38).
Once we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we face a continuous struggle of staying in our relationship with Him. Jesus was aware that we would face many obstacles of spiritual warfare that would disrupt our commitment to becoming a follower of Christ.
We are pressured to accept worldviews that represent the decline of morals and values. Many proclaim the truth is what they believe it to be, and most Christians no longer separate themselves from unbelievers [which include those who acknowledge God, but do not have a relationship with Christ based on surrender and obedience].
Yet, the greatest obstacles are the constant busyness and overwhelming noise that have us distracted from our goal of loving God. We have acclimated to the constant noise of screen time, video games, digital programs, artificial intelligence, endless texting, and relying on our cellular devices as if they are a lifeline.
“And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment.” (Mark 12:30)
Our spiritual relationship with Christ is broken because we are mesmerized by the distractions that Satan has intentionally placed in our lives. Most Christians are detached from God, barely having time to spend with Him in prayer and a meaningful study of the Bible. Our time is wasted on self-seeking activities that enhance our knowledge and skills but do nothing for building our relationship with Christ.
We are living in the last days! The time is now for us to renew our commitment to Christ through surrender and repentance. Daily worship in this earthly life is preparing us to worship God eternally. Without loving God and putting Him first, we cannot do our part in the plan of Salvation.
“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—” Revelation 3:14-17
Spiritual transformation requires daily surrender, obedience, faith, trust, and hearing God’s Voice through prayer and Bible study. But most importantly, it’s about our love for God. The warning to the Laodecian church is for today’s 21st-century Christians which includes you and me. We are not upholding the standard of righteousness that God requires.
“Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” (Luke 6:12)
Christ was our role model on this earth. If he pursued solitude to pray for Divine guidance then we certainly need to separate ourselves from the noise of distractions to hear God’s Voice. We require Divine Intervention for direction to withstand temptations and to receive the anointing, power, and presence of the Holy Spirit.
The Silent Life—When that inner voice is not heard when a man cannot attain the Spiritual Peace that comes from being perfectly at one with His true self, his life is miserable and exhausting for he cannot go on happily for long unless he is in contact with the Spiritual Source of Life. Thomas Merton
We are pursuing the wrong sources to provide us with peace and contentment. Once we have accepted Christ and let our relationship falter, we recognize the change in our inner selves and lifestyles. Our thoughts, decisions, behaviors, and the people we socialize with fail to represent a Christ-like character.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me, you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
Without Christ, we no longer have the Holy Spirit to lead, direct, and give us clarity [discernment] over any dilemma we face. Either we will make a change and renew our covenant with Christ or we will continue in our present state of disregarding the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30)
“The sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit does not lie in any sudden word or deed; it is the firm, determined resistance of truth and evidence.” Ellen G. White
If you accepted Christ as your personal Savior, have gone astray, and do not feel any conviction or remorse with your current mindset and lifestyle then the Holy Spirit is no longer giving you promptings to repent.
The Apostle Paul tells us of the Perils of Not Progressing in our relationship with Christ.
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. (Hebrews 6:4-6, NKJV)
A modern translation reads: “For it is impossible to bring back to repentance those who were once enlightened—those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come—and who then turn away from God. It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance; by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing him to the cross once again and holding him up to public shame.” (Hebrews 6:4-6, NLT)
Restoration of our relationship with Christ is a personal decision that relies on each individual. God always requires the human effort of love, faith, surrender to His will, and obedience in the relationship with His Son. Without those intentional character traits, we lose our spiritual connection with God.
It is difficult to believe that one would reject Christ and suffer the consequences of the wages of sin. We may perceive ourselves as living acceptable to God because we do not engage in the worst worldly sins, yet, disobedience is a sin. Our Heavenly Father is doing all He can to give us a better life. His help is only a prayer away.
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)
As long as we have breath in our bodies and sound minds, we can decide to restore our relationship with Christ. Repentance—asking God for forgiveness requires humility and a contrite heart full of sorrow for our sins. And the prayer of forgiveness receives an immediate yes from God!
Staying on the Path of Righteousness requires the human effort of following Christ no matter the cost. When we do our part by remaining steadfast, we automatically receive the Divine Intervention of the Holy Spirit to give us strength and power. The walk with Christ requires the loss of relationships and surrendering our will to God’s will and plan for our lives.
Jesus is ready at any time to receive us when we desire to give up everything for Him. To be a disciple means to forsake all others and travel a life-long journey that includes suffering trials and sorrows. The reward: Living forever in a perfect, sinless, and majestic New Heaven and New Earth with Jesus, the King of Kings. Amen!
Prayer: Lord, we pray for those who have lost their love for You. We know that we are living in the last days and are easily distracted by the busyness and noise of this world. We pray this intercessory prayer for those who have rejected You that they will return. We ask this prayer in Your Worthy Name, Amen.
© 2023 Steps2successwithspiritualsolutions
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