"God is faithful (reliable, trustworthy, and therefore ever true to His promise, and He can be depended on); by Him you were called into companionship and participation with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
1 Corinthians 1:9 (AMP)
How in the world do you have a relationship with Jesus? I wish you could have listened in on our conversation about this at lunch yesterday. I had all the Scriptures lined up supporting the importance of having a true and meaningful relationship with our Savior. I had the analogies formulated; asking my kids to look at the relationships they have now… coming up with fundamental characteristics that allow those relationships to grow and thrive, even through the toughest of times. I really thought I had this one in the bag, until my eldest son shook his head in consternation and said, “I can’t play baseball with Jesus.” I sat there dumb-struck, mouth agape. I didn’t have an answer for that… anything else, sure… but not for that.
My gut reaction was to say, “Well, sure Brayden. Jesus isn’t physically here with us, but I promise He’s watching and cheering you on.” That’s been my go-to answer for as long as I’ve been a parent… until I came across the above translation of First Corinthians 1:9 in the Amplified Bible, specifically the following: “…you were called into companionship and participation with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” Holding on to this promise, I knew there was a better answer to give my son. The last thing I wanted was to give him another example of a “loving, caring and intimate” Jesus that only sits on the sidelines waiting to see if he succeeds or fails; that will merely cheer his triumphs or console his wounded heart. If we are called into “companionship and participation” with Jesus, then He’s out there with us: on the playing field, in the office meeting, in the classroom, and yes, even doing the laundry.
Then, for whatever reason, it all seemed so simple… yet again, I made things WAY too complicated! It was the “whole heart thing.” (I say this with absolutely no disrespect; only to point out that clichés lack intentionality… they’re said so often that people gloss over them... amazing truth becomes white-washed, ignored.) I was quick to explain to Brayden that while Jesus can’t physically catch and throw, or slide into second base, He can help center his focus when coming to bat. He can remind Brayden that being an example of Christ on the field, whether through a positive attitude or the encouragement of other players, is more important than winning or losing. (If you want Jesus to be glorified in an audacious way… that would be it!)
This seems so elementary… Jesus resides in our hearts. Yet, we often forget this beautiful truth. He doesn’t sit on the sidelines, readying himself to pick up the pieces when we inevitably fall apart. He doesn't watch from afar, keeping tally of what we do right and what we do wrong. He’s waist-deep, in the muck of life, with us. When our hearts break, He feels that pain. When we're burdened with anxiety, He feels the crushing weight on our shoulders. He’s an active participant in our lives. He is the one true companion that will never leave our side.
Spend time talking with your family (or friends) about “companionship and participation” with Jesus. (If you REALLY want to be challenged, try having this conversation with someone that isn’t a Christian… not for the sake of conversion… just to get a different perspective.) What does “companionship and participation” look like with other people in your life? Bridge the conversation back to Jesus. The purpose of this challenge is to help us see Jesus as our companion in life… always Sovereign and Almighty… but still very much wanting to be an active participant in each of our lives.