Saturday, March 2, 2013

A Personal Relationship with the Lord ~ by A Brother In Christ

What does a personal relationship with the Lord look like? As we turn through the pages of Scripture we find many examples of men and woman who had strong relationships with the Lord. So what is it what sets these men and woman apart? What drove their passion and zeal for the Lord?

Let’s take a step back and examine a few key points from the lives of several men that are applicable to all who know Him.
But first let’s test our knowledge of the Word of God. Who in the Old Testament could you say was the greatest revivalist? This person is not someone you would normally think of in this way. This person is in the line of Christ and had a glaring sin at one point in their life. Think about it for a moment and we will come back to this point later.
So what does a strong personal relationship with the Lord look like? May I submit to you the fruit in our life from a strong relationship with the Lord is the result of our walk with God! When we are walking with God, spiritual fruit is a sure sign that our relationship with Him is strong and passionate. In the pages of Scripture we find seven men who Scripture says, “walked with God”. Let’s take a look at each of their lives and how they developed a strong relationship with the Lord.

How many names of men can you think of that Scripture says walked with God?

~ The first example we come to in Scripture is Enoch. In Genesis 5:21-24 we find one of the only two accounts of his life. Enoch was one of two men who God took to heaven without seeing death. That by its self is a huge testimony of his passionate pursuit and special relationship with the Lord. Enoch is the only person in Scripture where God says, “He walked with God” more than once. In Hebrews 11:5 God says, ”By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God.” I am challenged to look at my own life and evaluate my thoughts, attitudes, words, and actions to see if they are pleasing to the Lord. Even amongst all this we find that Enoch was just like you and me, he was not perfect. In verse 22 we see that, “…Enoch walked with God three hundred years…”  Though we sin, if we are willing to confess that and repent God can still use us for His glory just as He did with Enoch. Enoch left a Godly reputation for the generations coming after him. What kind of a legacy are you leaving for those around you?
Noah ~ Three generations later we see the direct result of Enoch’s Godly legacy in the life of Noah. In Genesis 6:9 we find the following account, “These are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God.” In Hebrews 11:7, we see that Noah followed God’s will for his life. "By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.” But wait you say, how could Noah have walked with the Lord with all the evil around him? God has called us to be a salt and light in the world. Matthew 5:13-16 “You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world” If Noah was salt and light shouldn’t others have come to know the Lord as a result of his’ testimony? Sometimes the mission field God calls us to will be hard. Sometimes the life He ordains will be lonely and seemingly void of fruit. I Corinthians 3:6I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.” We plant and water, but God brings the harvest through His sovereign plan. Sometimes God will use situations in our lives where we look and say, “God, am I the only one serving you? Am I the only one seeking you?” God can even use hard hearts for His glory. Think of Noah’s friends, Pharaoh, Moses etc., Ezekiel 3:19  “Yet if you have warned the wicked and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered yourself.” and Ezekiel 14:12-14. “Then the word of the Lord came to me saying  ’Son of man, if a country sins against Me by committing unfaithfulness, and I stretch out My hand against it, destroy its supply of bread, send famine against it and cut off from it both man and beast, even though these three men, Noah, Daniel and Job were in its midst, by their own righteousness they could only deliver themselves,’ declares the Lord God.” As someone who walks with God we should be aHerald of Righteousness” as was Noah. 2 Peter 2:5,”But [God] preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly…”

Abraham and Isaac ~
As we continue through Genesis we find the next two men who walked with God, Abraham and Isaac. The fathers of a nation, God’s people, the nation of Israel. Having a strong relationship with the Lord means we,

GO” when God calls us to go.

Matthew 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit…” Abraham stepped out in faith and followed the Lord’s direction for his life and God was able to use him for His glory. God has called each of us to “GO”. Acts 1:8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” What are you doing to “GO”? You do not have to GO to Africa or South America to fulfill God’s command. We are FIRST called to go in our own Jerusalem, in our own town, in our own families.
David ~ All throughout the Psalms and many other books we see the life of David. Psalms 116:9 I shall walk before the Lord in the land of the living.” As a man or woman who walks with God,

We must be genuinely saved!

Being genuinely saved comes as we recognize our sin and need for a Savior, repent of our sin and trust Christ alone to save us, and surrender our life to follow Him as Lord.  This brings us into a right relationship with God, so that we can walk with Him. (Romans 3:23, 6:23, 5:8; John 3:16, 14:6; I Corinthians 15:3-4)
David was a man after God’s own heart who trusted God. As we read through the Psalms we see that David,
Had a heart of compassion and humility toward the Lord

This is evidenced by his many tears for the Lord throughout the Psalms. Romans 12:15 shows us a model of a heart that is compassionate for the Lord. “
Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”

Hezekiah ~
As we continue our journey with the seven men who walked with God we come to Hezekiah. II Kings 20:3 “Remember now, O Lord, I beseech You, how I have walked before You in truth and with a whole heart and have done what is good in Your sight… Hezekiah,

Walked in the truth of God’s Word.

He spent time studying God’s Word. A strong relationship with the Lord MUST be founded upon a love for God’s Word. We must spend time seeking God through studying His Word. We also see that, “
I have walked before You…with a whole heart…”

He walked with God with a whole and committed heart.

Because of His passion for Jesus we see the fruit of his life. 1 Chronicles 12:33 “Of Zebulun, there were 50,000 who went out in the army, who could draw up in battle formation with all kinds of weapons of war and helped David with an undivided heart.” With an undivided heart the men of Zebulun followed David. With that same undivided heart we are to follow after God.

He did what was good.
Galatians 6:10So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” What are you known by? What is the fruit of your life? Matthew 7:20 So then, you will know them by their fruits.”

Levi ~ This brings us to the final person scripture says walked with God. Let’s turn to Malachi 2:4-6Then you will know that I have sent this commandment to you, that My covenant may continue with Levi,” says the Lord of hosts. “My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him as an object of reverence; so he revered Me and stood in awe of My name. True instruction was in his mouth and unrighteousness was not found on his lips; he walked with Me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many back from iniquity.” Levi, the father of a nation of priest had an amazing relationship with the Lord. A strong relationship with the Lord requires that we,

Revere and fear the Lord

Malachi 2:5 “he revered Me… Exodus 20:20 Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin.” Levi had a lightning bolt fear of the Lord that caused him to honor Jesus name. Do I have a proper and healthy fear of the Lord? A righteous fear of the Lord causes us to:

Stand in awe of God’s name

Verse 5so he…stood in awe of My name.” The name of the Lord is HOLY, He is our CREATOR. From the beginning of time God has loved us with His Holy love. Between Genesis 1:1 and 2:7 the name of God ELOHIM is used 39 times. Do we stand in AWE of our creator ELOHIM?

A strong relationship with the Lord causes,

True instruction to be found on our lips

VERSE 6True instruction was in his mouth and unrighteousness was not found on his lips…” Let’s examine the Word and allow Scripture to speak for its self in regards to our language. Psalms 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.” Matthew 12:34 “…For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.”  Ephesians 4:29Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”
So this brings us back to our question posed earlier. In light of verse 6, “of whom could it be said they were one of the greatest Old Testament revivalist?” May I submit to you that it could be LEVI! “…he turned many back from iniquity.” How do you live your life? Do you live your life in such a way that it is a testimony to those around you? Do they clearly see Christ lived out in your life? Do you boldly proclaim Christ to those around you? Are you known as someone who turns many away from iniquity? It is my prayer that we will be bold for the Lord and tell those around us about Christ. May I encourage you to examine your own life and consider the last time you shared Christ with someone? God has given us a commission to Go and proclaim His gospel. Will you be faithful to answer His call?   This is a great measuring stick with which to compare our lives to and evaluate our relationship with the Lord.

When we walk with God we are pleasing to God. When we walk with God it is ONLY because we have a strong personal relationship with God. That strong relationship with Jesus comes only from spending time in His word and applying it to our lives as these men who walked with God have done. We must purpose in our hearts to, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  Matthew 6:33 As David said in I Chronicles 22:19 Now set your heart and your soul to seek the Lord your God…” We must set our hearts to seek Jesus all our days. As you build your relationship with Jesus and seek Him I would encourage you to journal the exciting journey and share it with those around you. May you each be an encouragement to many!

Thoughts for evaluation:
~        At the baptism of Jesus Christ what did God tell the world? “That He (Jesus) pleased God!” Is my life pleasing to God? Are my thoughts, attitudes, words, and actions pleasing to Him?
~        II Corinthians 5:9 says that it should be our ambition and goal to please God. Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.” What are your goals in life? Is pleasing God and having a strong personal relationship with Him at the top of that list? In today’s culture even as Christians we are told we are to please God and ________. Matthew 6:24 "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. God is to be our all. He is to be the ONLY person we strive to please.
~        What distractions and encumbrances must I remove from my life to make my relationship with the Lord strong and vibrant?  Hebrews 12:1 & 2 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

No comments:

Post a Comment