I have heard many people say that "Christianity is a relationship" - which is actually true. But then, why is it true?
Let's try and find out...
According to a dictionary, free will is "the ability to act at one's own discretion". Simply put, "Free will is you making your own decisions - no commands, no threats and no coercion. Just you."
One of the things about being human is that we all have free will. No one - not even God, not even the devil - can surpass your free will and force you to do something.
(Well, God has the power to do that for He is all-powerful, but out of His personality and values, He can't. He is a gentleman and will always respect your choices - whether good or bad. Beware however that choices have consequences)
No one can go above your free will unless you allow them to. No one can force you to do anything unless you decide within yourself to do it. There is ALWAYS a choice. Even in the most complex situations, there is always a choice.
Free will basically means that you are the boss of your life.
Since the devil can't go past our free will, he uses deceit through temptations to make us fall into sin. He will tempt us but we will ultimately choose whether we will give in or not.
He will try and show us how sweet and desirable sin is, he will show us the pleasure part of sin, the part where we will feel nice, the part where we will gain - but the ultimate decision on whether we will give in to that tempation or not, is up to us.
When the devil tempted Eve in the garden of Eden, the Bible records that:
- Genesis 3:6
- And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also to her husband with her; and he did eat.
Why did Eve desire the fruit? Because the devil had made it desirable to her. He had twisted God's commands and then presented 'gaining wisdom' as something good and to be desired.
The devil made Eve desire to be like God - but ultimately, out of her own free will, she reached out, took the fruit and ate it. Same case for Adam, he decided out of his own free will to eat of that fruit.
When Jesus was being tempted, the Bible records that:
- Matthew 4:8-9
- Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
- And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
Here we find the devil showing Jesus all the kingdoms of the earth and their glory. He then promises to give them ALL to Him if He only worship him.
I believe we can all agree that this was a very lucrative offer and very desirable; and many people today, especially celebrities, have taken up this offer by 'selling their souls'.
Do you now see how the devil presents sin as something desirable?
But the decision to worship satan still lay with Christ. Satan presented an offer but Jesus, out of His own free will, refused to take it up. There is always a choice.
Now, if no one, not even God Himself, not even satan - can go past our free will and force us to do anything; judgement then becomes easy - because now we will all be judged on what we did out of our own free will. This judgement will be just, free and fair for we are all responsible for our own actions.
The Bible actually records this:
- Revelations 20:12-13
- And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.
- And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.
Love out of choice
Back to our initial statement that 'Christianity is a relationship'.
A relationship, of whatever kind, is a two-way street. There are two parties involved. And for any relationship to work, there must be love or respect out of choice. They MUST choose to love.
Be it friendships, dating, marriage and even Christianity - there MUST be a full, non-coerced, non-threatened decision to partake of the relation. It is saying, 'Out of my own free will, I fully agree to enter into a relation with this other person.'
In a marriage setup: the husband has to choose, out of his own free will, to love the wife; and also the wife must choose, out of her own free will, to love the husband. This is the reason why before they are joined together, they are asked: "Have you both agreed to enter into marriage without coercion, freely and wholeheartedly?" To which they answer "Yes we have".
Most contracts, be it job or legal have such a clause:
You are entering into this agreement of your own free will and without coercion, intimidation or threat of retaliation. You acknowledge and agree that the other party has not exerted any undue pressure or influence on you in this regard. You acknowledge that you have had reasonable time to determine whether entering into this agreement is in your best interest and you have read and fully understand the terms set forth in this agreement.
To which if you agree to the terms, you sign and get access.
God has chosen to love us
God has already chosen to love us. Out of His own free will and out of His own heart.
He did not love us when we were righteous, but from even when we were still sinners. He did not love us because He was bored, was coerced or as a duty, no, He choose freely within Himself to love us. He made a decision and said, "I will love you".
- John 3:16
- For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
- Romans 5:8
- But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
- 1 John 4:19
- We love him, because he first loved us.
- Ephesians 2:4-5
- But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
- Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved);
We should choose to love God
This relationship called 'Christianity' can only work if we, out of our own free will, choose to love God. We need to search ourselves, look inwards, take our time, decide and choose to love God.
And this basically sums up the first and greatest commandment; which coincidentally is in both the Old and New Testaments:
- Deuteronomy 6:5
- And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
- Matthew 22:37-38
- Jesus said unto him, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
- This is the first and great commandment."
This is what you are agreeing to when you choose out of your own free will to get born again and accept Christ as your Saviour and Lord.
These are the terms - that you will love the Lord thy God, above and before everything else AND with everything you've got.
Related Blog: Is Jesus your Lord? Really?
To love God is to obey Him
To love God is not to buy Him chocolate or flowers; or going out with Him once in a while. It is not attending church and being with other brethren. It is not even to praise and worship Him - this is as a result of your love for Him NOT how to love Him.
To love God is to obey Him.
Obedience to God is what separates those who love Him and those who don't; Christians from non-christians; the wheat from the tares; the sheep from the goats; the children of God and the children of the devil.
- John 14:15
- If ye love me, keep my commandments.
- John 14:23-24
- Jesus answered and said unto him, "If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
- He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me."
- 1 John 2:3-5
- And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
- He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
- But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
- 1 John 5:2-3
- By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
- For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
You CANNOT be a Christian if you haven't, out of your own free will, decided to love, obey and follow Christ. Do not deceive yourself.
Read the Gospels and see what Christ demands of you as a Christian. Read through carefully, take your time for they are the terms and conditions that govern this relationship.
If you agree, take it up with God and then live as stipulated in the contract.