I recently had the opportunity to share my testimony, my story about how I came to an intentional decision to follow Jesus Christ. As part of that discussion I was asked to share how a business guy saw the good news of the Gospel. I told the person that I was starting from an understanding that Jesus died for our sins as a statement or even a fact, but not of personal impact. I began to understand that Jesus died for me, so that I could have a personal relationship with the God of the Universe; that I could someday walk with the same God that Adam walked with in the Garden of Eden. I began to understand that I could also have a personal relationship with the other parts of the trinity, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Over the last 18 years of that relationship I have learned how to pursue it, how to listen, how to be aware of the feelings in the relationship. Like any relationship, it takes time, intentionality and purpose. There are times of elation and times of disappointment. The times of elation are a result of the blessings of grace and mercy and plenty. The times of disappointment are a result of my own misunderstanding or disobedience.
In some ways my relationship with God the Father is influenced by my own relationship with my father. As a young child I knew my father loved me; I would get a hug or kiss good night at bed time, we would spend time hunting, fishing and camping together. I also feared my father in those times when I was disobedient or broke the rules, because he would punish me for it. I know God loves me and yet I also fear Him. Those are both biblical statements which sometimes we have difficulty accepting. I can get a better understanding of those elements of our relationship by regularly reading the Bible, discussing passages with more mature Christians, by listening to good teaching, and by praying. Last summer my father died after six months of suffering with cancer. I miss him and through that loss have a greater hunger for a deeper relationship with God.
I have enhanced my relationships with the Trinity by entering into intentional relationships with other Christ followers. As I already mentioned, it takes time, intentionality and purpose. I have found that having a small group of men about the same age who have the same desire to be transparent and be transformed by reading and studying the Bible, praying together and processing our trials and triumphs has been instrumental in helping me build a better relationship with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. This is what discipleship looks like in the modern era.
If you have been blessed with a spouse and children and even grandchildren, then you know that you have even more relationships to again take time, intentionality and purpose for growing, improving or even maintaining those relationships. To do so in our culture today will require choosing not to pursue some of the myriad of leisure activities available or to limit your time pursuing work and its fruits.
If you own a business you have a responsibility to pursue relationships with your employees. Depending on the size of your business, that may not be every one of them, but at least the ones who report directly to you. Make sure they know you care about them. Invest in them, not only from a business perspective, but from an eternal perspective. Let them know about God’s love, grace and mercy through your actions and your words. If you can extend that to their family as well, you will have a huge impact.