February 2, 2021
One of the primary issues in the last year was that most everyone wanted to get back to church. There was plenty of disagreement in our culture about whether the government was abusing their authority, or whether the church was failing to love others by caring adequately for proper procedure during the pandemic. We tried to be as wise as we possibly could be, and I am proud of NewPointe’s careful consideration all the way through. And now, by the way, I am thankful that we have regathered. I am praying things continue to get better and better.
So we are back to “church,” but the bigger question is this: “Do we truly want to get back to God?” One of the reasons I started thinking this way is because of what I read in a recent report titled Faith on the Hill. The Pew Research Center states that 468 out of 531 members of the United States’ new 117th Congress describe themselves as Christian.
I don’t know about you, but it literally floored me. I actually said aloud, “You have to be kidding me. Maybe this is why 25% of Americans when asked what religious affiliation they are, check the box for none.” The representatives in our government on both sides have continually exhibited lives and beliefs that don’t reflect a Christian worldview. Are they representing us spiritually too?
This is a good time for us to follow Paul’s directive: “Examine and test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing the proper fruits of it. Test and prove yourselves [not Christ]. Do you not yourselves realize and know [thoroughly by an ever-increasing experience] that Jesus Christ is in you—unless you are [counterfeits] disapproved on trial and rejected?” 2 Corinthians 13:5 AMPC
Think about it. What is your relationship with God—really? Where are you in your relationship with God? Are you a Christian more in name than anything? Are you a “counterfeit”? The key factor in evaluating your relationship is the word TRUST. How much are you trusting God? Trust is the center of all great relationships.
One of the best decisions we can make this new year is the intentional decision to grow our relationship with God. It might sound intimidating, but in reality it is just making some basic choices that will lead to strengthening our faith and our relationship with Jesus. What does it look like practically to make sure that indeed our mind, soul, and heart are set on prioritizing God above all things?
Jesus showed us and taught us how to do that. He said the greatest commandment is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37, 39). Our relationship with God is all tied up with our relationship with people. Jesus made it plain throughout all of His ministry that the horizontal relationship with people is vital to the vertical relationship with God. Loving God and loving people is central. It’s not rules and lists and behavior. It’s not trying to up our reputations or appearances. It’s not “correctness.” It’s love for people.
How we live shows our true focus. Legalism, rule-keeping, and shining up our images never helped anyone grow closer to God. Spiritual to-do lists were never part of God’s plan or Jesus’ commission for us. Once we know Jesus as our Savior, our fulltime commitment is to love God with our whole being and live our lives with the fulltime purpose of bringing people through love to Him. Never let yourself be consumed with spiritual to-do lists. Love God, love people. Don’t get caught up in second-rate things. Let first things be first.
Priority #1 is getting back to God and His plan for our lives and fulfillment. Our mission at NewPointe is to lead people to realize and reach their full potential in Jesus Christ. Are you experiencing this? That’s real life!