Before we can represent Jesus we have to know Him. We need to build a relationship with Him. The first major problem in today's churches is that they are filled with people who do not even know the Jesus whom they are supposed to follow. True Christianity is not a religion, it is a relationship, but we have too many Christians who treat it as a religion, too many Christians who simply attempt to follow the rules and regulations and who do not know the Savior. Like the Pharisees in Jesus' time they honor their tradition but don't honor God. They go to church on Sunday, throw some money in the offering plate, and may even pray occasionally throughout the week, but in the end they do not even have a relationship with Him who gave us life. God is our King, Lord, and Master, but He also wants to be our Father and Friend! So how do we build a relationship with Him, it starts the same way any other relationship does:
Spending time with him:
Dan was standing alone throwing rocks into the river. Suddenly a thought came to his mind;
"Dan, can I throw rocks with you?"
"Where did that come from," thought Dan. "Was it God? No it couldn't be." But then it came again;
"Dan, can I throw rocks with you?"
Dan was now convinced that God was trying to speak to him. "God," he began to respond. "I think I heard wrong. It sounded like you said you wanted to throw rocks with me."
"I do want to throw rocks with you," God responded.
"But why would you want to throw rocks?" Dan asked confused.
"Because you are throwing rocks."
Dan received a revelation that day. He received a revelation that God, the God that created the whole universe, the God that is King of kings and Lord of lords, is interested in simply spending time with Dan! This is the same for each and every one of us. God is interested in spending time with you! The problem comes when we, for whatever reason, are no longer interested in spending time with Him. We allow ourselves to get too busy, to forget, or maybe we we just never truly understood that God is there waiting for us, waiting for us to come to Him.
As I mentioned before, James 4:8 says, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you...". This means the responsibility is on us. If we want to get to know Him then we have to do something, we can't just wait around for God to force Himself into our lives, we must take the first step. This step could look different for each individual. It could be taking a walk, getting on your knees beside your bed, singing praise and worship songs, or reading your Bible. It doesn't really matter what it is as long as you take some time out of your schedule to say, "God, here I am, just me." We need to take time to talk to Him, to worship Him, and perhaps more importantly, to listen to Him, but most of all we simply need to take time to be with Him.
Sharing in His Interests
Jesse woke up one morning with no plans for the day. "God what do you want to do today?" He asked.
"Jesse," God responded. "I know how much you like riding your motorcycle, let's ride your motorcycle together."
This got Jesse excited, so he went out to his motorcycle and started it up. He and God had a great time riding around the city. After a while Jesse found himself at a McDonalds and he saw a trucker pull up about the same time. This gave him an idea, he walked up to the trucker and offered to buy him lunch. After Jesse spent some time convincing him that there was no catch, the trucker finally agreed. As they ate lunch Jesse shared the Gospel with the trucker and finally led him in a prayer accepting salvation. After saying their goodbyes Jesse got back on his motorcycle.
"You didn't have to do that," God said.
"Yeah I know, but you rode my motorcycle with me because you knew I was interested in it. You shared in my interest and I know you're interested in saving souls and I wanted to share in that interest."
In all earthly relationships we learn to share in each other's interests. Often a relationship will be built in interests which are already shared, but as we get closer in our relationship we must learn to take on the interests of the other person. If a guy starts dating a girl who enjoys romance movies than that guy learns to enjoy those same movies. In order to strengthen our relationships we may take up a new sport, learn to cook, start playing board games, or plan vacations we wouldn't normally be interested in. If we take up the interests of our earthly relationships, how much more should we take up God's interests in our relationship with Him. We should learn to love what He loves and hate what He hates, and just as we desire to be a part of His interests, so does God desire to share in ours.