When we gather to worship, or really, when we think about following Jesus, we talk in terms of “having a relationship with God”. It’s a good phrase, but what’s funny to me is how we live that out.
In other words, what does it mean to “have a relationship with God”?
You ask the question and people start throwing out lists of actions or beliefs:
- You have to believe Jesus died for your sins (Which he did).
- You should be a good person (And you should).
- You have to believe in God and that God loves you. (God does)
- You have to believe the Bible.
In fact, if someone were to ask, “How do you become a Christian? How to you get to be a part of the Church? What does it take to join in God’s kingdom?” we’d rattle off all kinds of things you should believe: That you’re a sinner. That Jesus died for you. That you need forgiveness. And we’d say,
Agree with these beliefs and… you’re all set!
But is believing things really how you begin a relationship with God?
You have to have a revelation, a realization, an understanding, and then you get to participate in God’s Kingdom. Believe, then experience. That’s the model we work with. But is it right? In that model, we expect people to learn about God in classroom settings like Bible studies or lectures sermons.
Which is silly, because that’s not how you learn a relationships. Classrooms are great for some stuff, but not for building relationships.