Alan Smith tells a story about a lady who had just moved from an apartment to a house in the same small town. One day at the grocery store, she used the last of her personalized checks bearing her old address. The cashier examined the check and asked if all the information on it was correct. The shopper assured her that it was correct, and the cashier started to put the check in the cash drawer. But then she inquired again if everything was accurate.
“Why do you ask?” the shopper responded.
“Because,” she replied, “my husband and I moved to this apartment yesterday, and I don’t remember seeing you at breakfast.”
How ironic! This lady could have shopped at any other store and no one would have known her deception. But this cashier knew. She lived there.
Alan then compares this situation to the spiritual lives of too many Christians. It’s possible to fool other people about our relationship with God. We may have moved away from God, and no one knows it. Not our friends. Or family. Or brethren at church. But God knows.
The Bible teaches that God wants a personal relationship with us. God calls us out an ungodly world and seeks fellowship with us. He says, “Come out from among them. Be separate. Live holy. And I will be your Father and dwell with you.” (2 Cor 6:14-18).
One popular religious writer suggests that this may be a difficult thought for some Christians. “We think of God as a deity to discuss, not a place to dwell. We think of God as a mysterious miracle worker, not a house to live in. We think of God as a Creator to call on, not a home to reside in.”
But God wants more. He doesn’t want us to just visit Him on Sunday. On some special day or two of the year like a week-end getaway. He wants to dwell with us. And we with Him. He desires divine association. After all, as Paul put it, in God “we live and move and have our being.”
King David, a man after God’s own heart often talked about dwelling with God. In Psalm 27:4 he wrote:
One thing I ask of the Lord,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.
The Bible speaks of Christ dwelling in our hearts through faith (Eph. 3:17). Or the word of Christ dwelling in us richly (Col 3:17). And dwelling with God in His tabernacle (Rev 21:3). All of this speaks to our relationship with the Lord. Our kinship. Our bond. The spiritual intimacy we enjoy with the God-family.
So, how’s your relationship with God?
Are you talking to God through prayer?
Are you listening to God by reading the Bible?
Are you walking with God by living righteously?
We can’t play games with God. He knows. He hears. He sees. If we don’t dwell with Him anymore, it’s obvious. Even if our name is still in the church directory.
May we echo the words of the Psalmist as we commit ourselves to live with God.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever. (Ps 23:6)
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman