God is a jealous God. Your relationship with Him is your number one priority. It is. And if you’re truly striving to have a relationship with God, then there will be change in you. You will become a better human being.
But I think Christians are sometimes like this:
“Hey, man, I don’t care about that person.”
Or they’re like this:
“I’ve got to make sure I read my Bible today, and I’ve got to make sure I take communion, and I’ve got to memorize my memory verse. Hey! That person just cut me off! Eff you!”
What? Time out! If this is you, you’re messing up somewhere.
I’ll give you a hint: when people say, “Well, you say you’re a Christian, but you’re not a very good person,” then you’re struggling in your relationship with God.
When you’re connected with God, you don’t struggle in your relationships. So if you struggle in your relationships, you can bet there is a vertical disconnect. You’re disconnected from God. You will not be connected horizontally, with people, unless you’re connected vertically, with God. And if you’re messed up vertically, you’re going to be messed up horizontally.
If you’re like me and find yourself having trouble caring about people – or cussing at them – then somewhere along the line your ability to connect with God has gone missing. It doesn’t matter how many verses you read or memorize. You’re not a better person just because you memorized a verse. If you’re not doing it with your heart, you’re not doing it. The Bible says, “Write the commands on your heart so they will not leave you.” (Proverbs 3)
Remember the two commandments. Love the Lord God your Father with all your heart, soul, and mind. That’s the first one. But there are two. And the second says, Love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus said the second one is like the first. In other words, when your intimacy with God goes up, so does your intimacy with people. There is no separation between your love of God and your love of other people.
If I’m increasing my relationship with God, then I’m increasing my relationship with human beings. We were all made in the image of God, and we were all set on this world where God said, “I’ve created man in my image, and yet there are people less fortunate.” If you forget about them, you’re forgetting about God.
Matthew 25 is the gig:
Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ Matthew 25:37-40
Jesus is saying, “In every human being, you need to find me.”
So, you want to be a better human being? Pursue a relationship with God, because as you grow more intimate with God, you’ll become more intimate with people. You can’t separate the two. They’re the same thing.
Are you going to mess up? Yes. You’re going to mess up. But in your relationship with God, you’ve got to learn to love your neighbor as yourself. That is what He’s asking you to do.
Note: I was very sad at the passing of Gary Carter. We had a couple of speaking engagements together at churches, and I really enjoyed it. He was bubbly guy, and he was a great man. But I truly believe he’s in a better spot now. He’s enjoying life up there. He was enjoying it here! But he’s having a lot more fun up there. Let’s remember to pray for his family. See you Wednesday.