I was reading a book the other day and was startled when the author said, “Everyone has a relationship with God.” Startled because preachers, like me, often invite people into a “relationship with God,” inferring that there are people who do not have one.
As I dug into his comments, I recognized the validity of his statement. It begins with the reality that God is the creator. Romans 1 reminds us that as such, God is inherently revealed to everyone. Perhaps not a strong relationship but as people grow in sensitivity, they often find themselves reaching out to God even if he isn’t well defined in their understanding. Furthermore, according to John 14 & 16, the Spirit is reaching out to all people to further the relationship.
I think of the Ethiopian official (Acts 8) who did not know Jesus but had a relationship with God. In his pursuit of knowing him more the Spirit sent along Phillip who helped him take it to a whole new level. So radical was this new awareness that the official asked if he could be baptized, in that very moment, in a little water that was conveniently there on the side of the road.
So my first response is to apologize for the many times that I assumed people did not have a relationship with God just because they didn’t attend a local church or were obvious Christ-followers. My second response is to learn to rephrase my invitation. Old habits die hard but I am learning now to invite people - who know God - to take the relationship to a new and deeper level through Jesus Christ.
It is life-transforming when the Creator God becomes your friend. It has also reminded me that church is not a place where Christians go but rather a gathering of people working out their relationship with God. I will make the assumption that if you are reading this Minister’s Minute that you are already aware of God in your life.
I encourage you: keep pursing Him. He wants to be found.