Terry R Baughman is Lead Pastor for LifeChurch in Gilbert, AZ. See his complete bio at trbaughman.com
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Connecting with God
Terry R. Baughman
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28–29 NIV).
God is present with us. He is not a far away, distant God, who has no care for humanity. He is very much immanent, with us in our humanity. That was the blessing of the incarnation. The Almighty God became flesh, taking on the limitations of humanity while still remaining the Omnipresent God. As the prophet Isaiah said, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14 NKJ). Translated from Hebrew, that name is “God with us!”
God has always desired to be with us. Since the beginning of Creation God made a way to connect with humanity and for us to be able to connect with Him. Even though sin entered the Garden of Eden through humanity’s disobedience, God already had a plan of redemption and initiated the remedy for sin so that we might again enjoy fellowship with God.
Jesus came with a singular plan, “to seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10 NKJ). God was in Christ to bring reconciliation between lost sinners and a Holy God. It is not God’s desire “that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9 NKJ).
The invitation is open; the opportunity is extended, “Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life” (Revelation 22:17 NLT). It all comes back to the individual response. If God is willing and extending His hand in welcome, it remains the choice of each individual to complete the connection.
He is seen in Revelation as the One standing on the outside awaiting an answer to His knock. Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20 NKJ). Christ is the perfect gentleman. He will never force His way into your life. He will not take away your choice and your free will. It is up to you to respond to His invitation.
Those who make the choice to follow Christ will find rest for their souls. Our burdens of oppression, our weariness of life can all be lifted and lightened when we take on the yoke of connection with God. While some see the yoke as further oppression and a load of responsibility, it is quite the opposite. Jesus said, “My yoke is easy and the burden is light.” When we share the yoke with the Savior we find that He bears the load and lifts our spirits.
A connection with God does not bring more oppression, but rest and relief. We find that the more we share our pain with Him, the better we feel and the lighter our load. The things we have carried for years can be lifted in a moment. The burdens of our sin can be removed and a spring can return to our steps. Why wouldn’t we want to experience His grace and walk in His favor?
Through this series we will come to know Christ in a better way. He has great plans for us and His love is unfailing. A great relationship with God begins with the answer of His knock and the opening of our heart’s door to receive everything He has for us! Jesus says, “Come, follow me.”
“I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10–11 NIV).