If you have a relationship with God, then that relationship is clearly deficient. I too once believed I had a relationship with God. In fact, I was convinced I had one. I would walk along the road, drive my car and have a good old yack with the lord as I went. It became a force of habit to just think my thoughts as if thinking them to God. I’d use his name, I’d say “Oh Lord” this and “Oh God” that. God walked with me, wherever I went and he was always there for me to share all my thoughts with.
Sound familiar? Of course! It’s the same for any genuine follower of Christ. It’s great, because it helps you think clearly. You even feel like your thoughts are so clear they must be God. Everything makes more sense, doesn’t it?
Well, sorry to break it to you, but in reality it’s a one way relationship. It is simply just you communicating with yourself.
For it to be a real relationship, the following things are needed:
You learn about the person from the person
In any relationship, the way to get to know someone is to spend time with them, communicate with them and experience them on a personal level. However, with God, although we are told we should be spending time with him in prayer, the only real way we can get to know him and his ways is through reading the bible.
Can you just imagine this scenario?
Diane is going on a blind date. She’s going to meet this guy called Jack. She arrives at the restaurant to find him there waiting for her. She likes him instantly, because he’s a really good looking guy with a great physique, even though he has a slightly dorky hairstyle. He hugs her and they sit down together and then Jack slides a huge tome across the table to her.
‘What’s this for?’ Diane asked.
‘Well, doll, I figured if ya wanted to have a relationship with me, I should tell ya a little about myself. Let ya know what I expect from ya and all that.’
‘Huh? What? So why the big huge book?’
‘That will tell ya everything ya need to know, baby.’
‘But… why can’t you tell me yourself? I… I mean we’re here for dinner, so we’ll want to talk to each other and get to know each other won’t we?’
‘I think it would be better if you just read the tome, doll. Study it regularly. In fact I insist that you keep on studying it even once we’re a couple, ya know? You’ll always find out new things about me and how wonderful I am. I really am quite amazing as you’ll find out through that book.’
‘But… but… You mean you won’t tell me anything about you, yourself?’
‘No need too. That book can do a far better job.’
She flicks through a few pages. ‘But… I don’t even understand this stuff. Most of it’s in another language.’
‘Don’t worry, darlin. Once we’ve become closer you’ll be much better able to understand all that stuff.
She stares at one page. ‘It… it says here that you slaughtered a bunch of children several years ago, all because they made fun of your hair.’
‘I sure did. They were evil little buggers. Deserved what they got.’
‘But… but they were kids!’
‘Look darlin, don’t try to understand it. Just trust in me, babe, I’ll see ya right.’
‘Sorry babe, no more questions. Just read the book and know that I’m so much cooler than you, so there’s no point in trying to figure me out. Just accept what it says.’
‘Now just eat your dinner and shut up, sugar.’
Clearly, when it comes to a relationship a book is not going to cut it and no one would get involved with someone who expected them to learn about him/her from a book. We all know relationships don’t work that way… don’t we?
You need two-way communication
As a Christian you are always told you should spend time in prayer, because you should be talking to God. After all, if you love someone don’t you want to spend time with them? But why is it that you should be made to feel guilty for not talking to God, when God never talks to you? Now before you protest and say “Hold on, dude, God does talk to me!” Let’s not forget that no relationship ever succeeded by telepathy. A married couple for instance cannot communicate effectively through popping little thoughts into each other’s mind. Communication doesn’t work that way. Let’s go back to Jack and Diane at the restaurant.
Diane tries to engage Jack in conversation and even talks about herself, but Jack refuses to utter a word in response. Finally, she gives a frustrated sigh. ‘Aren’t you going to talk to me at all?’
‘What are you talking about, doll? I’ve been talking to you ever since we placed our orders.’
‘No, you haven’t, you haven’t spoken a word to me.’
‘Haven’t I, doll? Perhaps ya just weren’t listening.’
‘You haven’t even opened your mouth except to shovel in food!’
‘Perhaps because you were so busy talking ya never took the time to truly listen. If ya did, you’d realise that I was dropping thoughts into your mind.’
‘Huh?’ Diane stared at him. ‘What do you mean dropping thoughts into my mind?’
‘That’s the way I prefer to communicate, doll. Telepathically.’
‘But… but what if your thoughts get mixed up with my thoughts?’
‘Then that’s your fault, babe. You need to learn to decipher the difference. But beware, because there’s also this rival of mine who likes to drop thoughts into the minds of my women too in an attempt to draw them away from me, so you have to be able to learn to weed his voice out too.’
‘But… but how do I do that?’
‘Well that’s why I gave you that book. Study it and you’ll soon learn to decipher the difference.’
‘Can’t you talk to me audibly like you are right now?’
‘That’s not the way I work, doll. I prefer to remain undetectable.’
‘That’s just the way I roll, babe. I don’t wanna freak people out, ya know?’
‘But wouldn’t people get used to you if you spoke audibly all the time?’
‘Now you’re starting to ask too many questions, doll. Just accept what I tell ya and don’t question my ways, ok?’
Nope. Quite clearly a relationship can’t work in this manner. There must be verbal communication by the two parties and it must go both ways.
You accommodate each other
In any relationship, you must accommodate each other. In some relationships, sure, there may be a senior party, eg father/son. One takes the leadership role, while the other follows the rules and the guidance of the older. Nevertheless, the senior member is responsible for filling the needs of the younger.
Imagine this scenario…
Colin has a two year old son named Mikey. He wakes him up from his slumber. ‘Alright my son. It’s time for you to get up, because we need to have a talk. You know I really am quite concerned about your thumb-sucking problem. You know it really is a bad habit and it’s really bad for the growth of your teeth. The last thing we want is to have to spend hundreds of dollars at an orthodontist. Don’t you agree?’
Mikey stares at his father for a moment, then speaks. ‘Biscuit.’
‘What? Biscuit? This is no time to talk about food. They’re even worse for your teeth. They create plaque and tartar build up and next thing you’ll find you have cavities. Look, you don’t seem to understand just how serious this issue is. It really is a bad habit you’re getting yourself into. And another thing, you threw a temper tantrum at me yesterday and threw all your Vindaloo onto the floor. I’m not having that you know.
Mikey grizzled. ‘Hungry.’
‘Mikey! Quit trying to change the subject and pay attention…’
Quite clearly, it’s ridiculous to expect a two year old to understand you if you attempt to communicate with him in a way that he doesn’t understand. You need to simplify things and try to get down to his level when it comes to communication. However, this is not the case when it comes to God and humans. He expects us to rise to his level and to communicate in a way that suits him! He will not come down to our level. He expects us to be responsible for the communication and puts the blame on us if we don’t understand. Not only that, but sin supposedly puts up a wall between us and God (Isaiah 59:2).
Let’s go back to Diane and her date with Jack to see how a relationship would work in this situation…
Diane excuses herself to go to the toilet. When she returns she finds that Jack has erected a wall of bricks in the middle of the table.
‘What’s all this?’ she asks.
‘A wall,’ says Jack. ‘Each of these bricks represents things that you’ve done tonight that’s pissed me off, babe.’
‘But… but how are we supposed to have a date with bricks in between us? I need to be able to see your face. And if you talk I need to be able to hear you.’
‘Tough shit, babe, these bricks are here because of you. If you were more like I require ya to be, they wouldn’t be there at all. Please don’t put the blame on me, after all I didn’t force you to behave like a complete tart. But I’ll do you a deal doll, if you apologise to me for each thing wrong, I’ll start to remove bricks, one for each apology. But if ya start to do things that piss me off again, I’ll start adding bricks.'
'But what have I done that's so bad?'
'Well you need to read that book I gave you and then you'll find out all about me and just what things piss me off. Then you'll know what to apologise for. I shouldn't have to tell you!'
‘If you were a caring sort of guy, you'd just remove the bricks anyway. ’
‘I won’t do that.’
‘Because I’m an asshole like that. Look, would you rather I just gave you a good thrashing if you piss me off? I could do that you know, after all if you piss me off you deserve a good thrashing, but if you do what I want, then you'll get to reap the benefits.’
‘So let me get this straight. I have to bow and scrape to you and obey all your rules. Not only that, but the quality of my date with you is all dependent on how many bricks there are in the middle of the table?’
‘And you could remove these bricks if you wanted to, but you won’t unless I apologise?’
‘That’s right, doll.’
‘Isn’t that kind of stubborn?’
‘Those are my rules, darlin.’
Ok, clearly Jack is a prized wanker, but it’s not a far stretch from the way God operates. Granted, with God, those bricks appear there as the result of our actions, not of God placing them there, but still he is God so could prevent that wall from going up and could easily tear it down with ease. And even if the wall was there, he could still penetrate it so that communication could resume, after all he is God, isn’t he? If he will not remove the bricks from the wall, you can hardly call him a loving, caring being. You also wouldn’t be able to have much of a relationship with him.
You have physical contact
It may be true that a relationship can develop without physical contact. People fall in love on the Internet and through letter writing. People fall in love all the time with people they’ve never been intimate with, but anyone who has had a long distance relationship will tell you that it can’t go on like that forever. Sooner or later there must be some physical contact of some kind otherwise it becomes nothing more than a fantasy.
What sort of a friend or father would you be if your friend/child was in anguish and you didn’t give a hug or a pat on the back? What sort of cold fish would you be if you married someone and refused to give them any form of intimacy?
Can you imagine if Diane went to give Jack a kiss goodnight, but discovered he’d done a runner right at the moment? And knowing Jack, it wouldn’t be at all surprising, would it? After all, he is a complete and utter… well we won’t go there. We all know, every relationship requires some kind of physical contact. We as humans crave it and need it. If God cannot even be physically in the same room with us where we can actually lay eyes on him, how can we have a relationship with him? And before you start going on about how you get touches from the lord, “warm fuzzies” can also be achieved through the Internet and over the telephone too. It’s just not the same thing as real physical contact.
* * *
Christian, it’s time to wake up and realise that Christianity is a religion and you don’t have a relationship with God. Your so-called relationship with him is no better than the relationship you had with your teddy bear when you were a little child. At least your teddy bear was there to cuddle when you needed it. The thought of God being there as your best buddy, your guide and/or your heavenly father is lovely and no doubt can have a placebo affect when it comes to your troubles, but please, don’t try to kid yourself. There’s no relationship with any supernatural deity going on. Well, maybe a real warped and sick relationship like the one Diane has with Jack, but nothing more.