Sunday, 2nd December 2018
Rev Daniel Xi An Poon
Christmas is the time people celebrate as a holiday. But God looks at this at a deeper level – He values our relationship with Him. He created and prepared everything before He created us, because He loves us. Our relationship with Him is not just like the one between husband and wife, or parents and children, but it requires real communication. Nowadays, people are so indulged in activities using mobile phones but real communication requires personal interaction, including eye contact, talking, or even arguing. People without relationships will experience all the negative things. Communication through social media or text messages is not real communication, which is not the kind of relationship that God wants with us. When Adam and Eve had sinned in the garden, God went to look for them and wanted to talk to them.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:1-4)
Through the relationship, people learn that they are important. Relationship creates a network that will help one grow. It’s very common now people tend to stay home and only know how to interact with the world through their computers, but they do not know to interact with real human beings. We need to know that our spoken words have the creating power, which comes from God. God did not create this world through the keyboard. You will not perceive the real emotions from the person through text message. Do not lose the opportunity to talk. In the same way, the church is not only about preaching or the Bible, but it’s also about human relationship. You can see God anywhere, but you can only experience the real relationship when you come to the church. Bitterness and unforgiveness grow in the absence of relationships, but only love in the relationship can cover all these.
1. REAL RELATIONSHIP
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.” (Psalm 23:1)
David was just a shepherd boy. He made this statement before talking about anything else. He was saying that the Lord is his shepherd and he had everything he needed. Just like parents, they prepare to give all the good things for their children without demanding any return. You can see how deep the relationship is between David and God because David called out God’s name in the first sentence of this psalm. Like the marriage, it should be a real relationship, you choose to commit to the other even when you don’t “feel” love. If we can’t keep the commitment to the ones we can see, how can we keep our relationship with the God who cannot be seen?
2. BEHIND THE RELATIONSHIP
“He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.” (Psalm 23:2-3)
Why does God want this relationship with us? We can see from verse 2. It was God who led David. We are not our own God. We tend to think that we succeed because of our own hard work, but we forget that it was all God’s guidance for “His Name’s sake”. If you walk on His righteous paths, God will make you lack nothing in Him. God places us high because He wants people to see Him through us. In order to maintain our relationship with God, we need to spend time with God: read the Word, pray and have quality time, otherwise, God is only in our brain but not our heart. However, David knew this secret, which is that everything he owned was from God, so he treasured his relationship with God. The same goes for a healthy relationship with other people, we need to invest time with them.
3. FULLY BELIEVE
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)
The shepherd leads his sheep, just like how Jesus is walking in front of us to lead us. We may not see Him, but we know He is there, so it’s up to us that we trust and follow Him. David declared that he feared nothing because he knew God was with him. Even we may walk through the darkest valley and all the things come against you, you must remember that God has the “rod” to defeat the enemies, and the “staff” to discipline and redirect us when we go astray. How do we know whether it was God’s discipline or attack from the devil? Only through our relationship with God can we discern one from another.
Proverbs 4: 23 tells us that it is our responsibility to “guard our heart”. Just like Jesus’ parable of sowing the seeds, it is our job to prepare our hearts, which is the “soil”, to receive God’s word, and there is no shortcut, but truly spend quality time with God every day can help us achieve that. When we have our heart well prepared, it will guide us what is right or wrong.