Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Is your 'relationship' with God more like a one night stand?

So, if you are reading this blog, you probably know that I am a big Steelers fan.  As I watched them last night on Monday Night Football, I kept comparing what I was seeing to examples of faith in my own life and in the Bible.  
Lot's of people have 'religious' experiences watching football and to many in our country and around the world football or some other sport (like the 'other' football) are watched, played, followed and experienced 'religiously'.  But that is not what I am talking about today.
So, in the game last night literally from the opening play the Steelers were dominant, creating a turnover and scoring a touchdown a few plays later.  The game was a blowout and the Steelers were up 20 points with a little time left in the 3rd quarter.  The game was, essentially, over.  But, as these things go, it wasn't over.  In fact in the end the Steelers won by just 6 points and needed a great defensive stand and a little bit of luck to stop a fourth down play inside their own 10 yard line with less than a minute left.  
What happened?  To most of us watching it seemed like the Steelers, like the rest of us, thought the game was won and that the fight was over.  Their effort and their intensity was maybe not completely gone, but it was certainly no where near where it had been in the beginning of the game.  They had worked hard for a big lead, and due to their complacency and lack of focus - they almost lost it.  
So what does any of this have to do with us or with faith?  Well, I think all throughout the Bible we see similar situations played out.
God calls his people to do something, usually something extraordinary or seemingly illogical - or both.  Sometimes the people rebel, but often they respond with excitement and enthusiasm but when it doesn't go as quickly as they first thought they lose focus, fall away or  just stop trying.  
But God's call on our lives is not about a singular moment of decision - it may begin there, when we make a decision to accept Jesus.  But what that means, or what that needs to mean is that we are making a choice to accept Jesus as the Lord, director and guide of our lives.  The moment in time where we make that choice is a moment when we choose to begin to live your lives for God.  The point is that that moment when we become Christians or followers of Christ is only really meaningful if it marks the beginning of a relationship with God and a journey towards greater faithfulness to God's call.
This is what Jesus is talking about in Luke 14, today's lectionary gospel passage (which can be read here: http://gamc.pcusa.org/devotion/daily/2010/11/9/  )  In the passage Jesus talks about 'picking up your cross and following him'.  And then he immediately talks about how when you begin a building project you don't start unless you have figured out what it will take to complete the project and know you have enough to finish.  An unfinished construction project, Jesus suggests, is a source of public ridicule.  
The point is that our faith - if it is real is not about a moment in time that is located somewhere in our past.  Our relationship with God is not a one night stand, but it is - it needs to be, if it is going to be pleasing to God - a long term relationship.  That doesn't mean there aren't bumps and bruises, if you have ever been in a real, long relationship then you know there highs and lows but the point is that you are on the road together, headed in the same direction.  
So where is your 'relationship' with God?  Have you called lately?  Spent any time together?  Worked on the relationship?  

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