Getting Closer to Jesus Christ 2016-16
If we believe in Jesus Christ, we could do many things that would allow us to get “Closer to Jesus” in a way that would solidify our relationship with Him. Why use the word solidify? I do so; to say we could make our unity with Jesus stronger or to be reinforced in the process of our living as a Christian.
I can only express my own trials of doing so, to give others an idea of what it is like to do this. First off, it is NOT easy! It is a process to a degree. We are all, in some way, in different stages of being closer to Jesus.
I remember an exercise a number of years ago called REVEAL. This was something that was put out by a religious group, for many churches of different faiths to participate and find out where the church as a whole belonged, and, where as individuals at the church were in their relationship with Jesus.
I remember a chart that showed “stepping stones” for where each person was in life. Remember, we are ALL in various stages of growth and maturity:
Stages of Steps
First was a stone called “Exploring Christ” where people in this group had a basic belief in God, but they were unsure about Christ and His role in their lives. I wonder how many of us have this way of thinking. I would think that a new member or a younger member would normally fit in this group, without any criticism at all about them.
The second stone was “Growing in Christ” and people in this group have a personal relationship with Christ. They had made a commitment to trust him with their salvation and for their eternity, but they are just beginning to learn what it means to be in a relationship with Him. I believe countless number of people are balancing on this stone, clinging and hovering at this junction of their lives.
Another group and thirdly, were those people that were “Close to Christ”. These folks depend on Christ daily for their lives. They see Jesus as someone who assists them in life. They turn to Him on a daily basis; they look to Him for help and any issues they face on a regular basis. Quite a number of people belong or believe they belong to this group and stand on this stone.
Lastly, the last stone are those that are “Christ Centered” and these people identify their relationship with Jesus Christ as the most important relationship in their entire lives. They see their lives as fully surrendered to Jesus and his agenda, subordinating everything to His will and His desires. Actually, this stone is not crowded and probably the percentages of people on this stone are few or very low.
So, where do we belong on these rocks of life? The thing is, sometimes we change our position in life and where we stand. We move forward and backward and it depends on circumstances just where we are in our relationship with God and Jesus Christ. So, the stones or rocks remain in place, but we skip from one to another.
I remember reading about Teresa of Avilla. She was a Roman Catholic nun who lived in the 16th Century from 1515 to 1582. She wrote an autobiography and what was called “The Interior Castle” which described SEVEN rooms in a mansion, which really somewhat parallel what the FOUR stepping stone segments. If you get a chance, read about Teresa and her mansion with the SEVEN room concept.
I bring this up because Teresa of Avilla suggested that people go from one room of spiritual growth to another and sometimes back track to the previous room or to others they left behind. This is normal and the stone positioning is not linear and one way. Ultimately people in general tend to move toward a relationship with God and Christ. But, as individuals, their pathways can be very non-direct at times. Birds head south for the winter, but not necessarily in a straight line path and people do not take giant leaps from one stone to another in their faith either; it is a slow process at times with many ups and downs in the journey.
Where are We ?
I will leave you here to contemplate what I have stated. Think about it and try to understand where you are in life as a disciple of Jesus Christ. As you think, realize the following in your thought process of living as a Christian.
Now, in the Christian life the same stages of growth seem to apply for growing to Jesus Christ. People seeking to understand God and his plan come to a point of responding to the invitation to be born into God’s family. With the right nurturing (1 Peter 2:2), a newborn Christian becomes a spiritual infant. Jesus taught his early Kingdom converts and helped them grow into young disciples. He invited them to follow him and he would make them “fishers of men.” They had a time to learn and grow and begin to serve. Ultimately, as he was leaving this earth, he prepared his men for maturity by inviting them to remain in him.(John 15:7-8).These men went on to reproduce their lives and see many other new believers trust in Jesus and grow to maturity.
God’s Peace be with you,