Three Oranges: God's Will for Everyone

Day 2 of 7 • This day’s reading

Devotional



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Three things we know are God’s will



Three things reliably fall into the category of God’s general will for us: Relationship, Growth, and Impact. If we can only get these three things right, we’ll be grounded and off to a solid start in knowing God’s specific will. Let’s consider the first of these before we go any further.



Orange 1: Relationship



God’s plan for your life and my life begins with relationship. Jesus is the very embodiment of God’s desire to know us, and the only way for us to know Him. All through the Scriptures, God is reaching out to man, inviting him into relationship. In the Garden of Eden, God walked in the cool of the day with Adam and Eve; in Exodus, He took Moses from his wanderings to the tent of meeting; through the Old Testament prophets, He called a wayward people to restored relationship; in the New Testament, God came even closer with the birth of His Son who would be both redeemer and friend to man; and the gospel story ends in Revelation with a city where God and man will live forever in glorious fellowship. All 66 books of the Bible call for and celebrate relationship— a divine relationship based on identity, not on activity.



Our relationship with God does not stem from a “do” but a “Who”. We don’t act our way into relationship with God; He lovingly extends the offer of relationship to us through His son, Jesus Christ.



I did not always understand this. I grew up thinking that my connection to God was based mostly upon my actions. I believed that if I behaved in a certain way, I could get closer to Him, or conversely, that my poor behavior put distance between us. I thought somehow that it all depended upon me. I imagined that if I performed reasonably well in comparison to others, God would be pleased. This misguided belief reduced my life to lackluster performance that could never satisfy a holy God or establish a true relationship with Him. The idea of sacrifice was foreign to me. I saw life as a walk on the fairway, with par as the goal. I thought vibrant believers were cut from a different kind of cloth than ordinary me. But it is not our efforts that unlock heaven; it is only through Christ’s death and resurrection.