The Relationship Test


This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17

Last week we talked about the choice that each of has between a personal relationship with Jesus or religion.

One way we can test whether or not we are truly choosing a personal relationship is to ask ourselves a very hard question:

Is my relationship with God changing my life?

Because here’s the straight truth:

God’s offer is amazing.

He wants to forgive us, give us a new life, adopt us as His children and make us part of His family, and give us a role to play in His kingdom.

However, we need to understand that all of these extreme privileges come with a responsibility.

As it says in Ephesians 4:1:

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.

This is a line that you see will see repeated over and over again as you read through the New Testament. “Live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”

What does it mean?

Basically, it means, “living up to the family name.”

1 John 5:1-5 explains it this way:

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God.

And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too.

We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments.

Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome.

For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.

And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

Go back and take a look at those verses again:

Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome.

How do we know if we have a personal relationship with God and not just religion?

Is it changing us?

Are we reading and studying the Bible, learning God’s ways for living and most importantly OBEYING God’s commands?

Before answering those questions too quickly let’s ask ourselves a few more hard questions:

Is your relationship with Jesus affecting life?

Is your relationship with Jesus affecting your schedule?

Are you daily spending time in prayer and Bible reading?

Are you praying with your children?

Does church come before activities?

Does your life center around God’s plans for your day or your own?

What about your finances?

Are you living by the financial principles God’s laid out in the Bible?

Are you tithing 10% of all of your income to the church? This is God’s command. If you’re not obeying it, you are disobeying one of God’s commands

.

Is your relationship with Jesus affecting your entertainment choices?

The Bible is very clear that we are not to watch or listen to things that are vulgar, sexually explicit, violent, or immoral. (Philippians 4:8)

If you are focusing on these things and saying, “It’s just entertainment”, you are not obeying God’s Word and it is having an impact on your mind and your relationship with God.

There’s an old quote from a movie that says, “The phone call you always take---that’s the relationship you’re in.”

I want to take it a step further and say:

“The sin that you’ll go to the mat defending your right to do it---that’s the relationship you’re in.”

If it’s more important for you to hold onto your sin and keep doing it than to repent and start obeying God’s Word, than you love your sin more than you love God and you need to go back to the first question and ask yourself, “Am I really in a relationship with Jesus or am I just religious?”

Because having a personal relationship with Jesus will change how you live.

Here’s a few more questions:

Is your relationship with Jesus changing how you speak?

Is your relationship with Jesus keeping you honest---all the time?

Does your relationship with Jesus affect how you interact with others?

Is it influencing your sex life?

Galatians 5:19-21 says:

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these.

Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God

Friends, I know this is hard to hear, but I’m telling you this because I love you.

I want you to know the truth.

True Christianity---having a personal relationship with Jesus---needs to be influencing our lives.

If it isn’t changing us, then we have a problem.

We need to go back to step one, reconfess our sins and recommit our lives to Jesus committing this time to wholeheartedly following His commands and obeying the Bible.

I know that it’s not always easy to walk away from sin.

Along the way, you may find that you need help.

You may need to go to something like Celebrate Recovery to break free from addictions or sin. You may need to go to a professional Bible Based counselor to truly overcome. You may simply just need an accountability partner who will be honest with you all the time and say, “You can’t do that.”

But these are all just ways to help yourself keep the commitment you’ve made to live a life that is befitting of the new creation Jesus wants you to become as a result of the relationship you have with him.

If we want to be all we can be and make a difference in our world for Jesus, than the change needs to start with us as we allow our relationship with Jesus to change us from the inside out.

Once that happens---oh, the possibilities!!!!

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