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So Close, but Not Close Enough

This is probably the most well-known verse in the Bible. I found myself thinking about it recently in terms of how God saved me forty-four years ago. I was thinking back to before that day, and how I could have ticked off so many of the requirements we have for someone to be regarded as ‘saved’.

My mother attended Church. I was brought up to attend from time to time. I was there every Christmas Eve service. I had my first and second communion. I went to a Roman Catholic senior school. I completely believed that God existed. I believed that Jesus existed, and that He was, and is, God; that He died for all our sins and for mine too. I thought I had my golden ticket to heaven. I was definitely going to be OK when I died. I didn’t have a relationship with Jesus, but that was to be expected, as He was far too busy trying to sort out all the problems in the world to take notice of me. That was OK because I had my golden ticket, and I wouldn’t have known what to say to Jesus anyway, apart from the standard church prayers I knew by heart.

So, I believed in accordance with John 3:16, or so I thought. But you see ‘believe’ there doesn’t just mean a mental assent, because we’re told in James 2:19 that ‘even the demons believe there is a God and they tremble’. No, ‘believe’ in the Greek means to trust in, rely on and to lean on with your whole weight.

I saw a good example of this when my wife and I visited the Grand Canyon Skywalk some years ago. It’s a circular bridge which extends over the canyon with opaque glass on the left and right sides of the walkway, and clear glass in the centre. Although the thickness of glass is the same all the way along, it’s amazing to see how people avoid standing on the clear glass. They just can’t trust that it would hold them. For me, all those years ago, I was unable to fully lean on and trust in Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. It took six months of internal struggle before I was, and the relief was amazing.

Another event, many years afterwards, further illustrated the difference to me. This time my wife and I were in Jersey (where I was born), and attending a large garden fete. At that time, the TV series ‘Bergerac’ was all the rage, and we watched it avidly in the UK, trying to spot the places in Jersey where the filming was taking place.

At the fete John Nettles (‘Bergerac’) made an appearance with his iconic ‘Triumph Roadster 2000’ that he drove in the series. Crowds gathered, and I kept waiting for him to recognise me and acknowledge my presence. You see, I was so used to seeing him that I felt he must know me too. Then the realisation dawned and I felt so stupid. I realised “He doesn’t know me” It was then that the words of Jesus came to mind, ‘“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you …’’ (Matthew 7:21-23).

Why have I chosen this for today’s ‘Seed’? It’s because I want to reach out to any reader who thinks that they have the golden ticket to heaven, but haven’t gone beyond the head belief in Jesus. You haven’t leant on and relied totally on Jesus to save you. You’re walking along the opaque edges of your life with Jesus, but unable to trust Him fully. You think you know Jesus, but the much more important question is, “does He know you?” Have you got a relationship with Jesus so that you spend time together and you know in your ‘knower’ that you are His and He is yours forever?

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, please reveal to me today if my relationship with You is just a mental belief that You exist, and died for me. Reveal to me by Your Holy Spirit if I’ve failed to go all the way in trusting You. Reveal to me if my knowing You just extends to me thinking I do, but, in reality, You don’t know me. If so, I want that to change now. I choose to give my life to You and lean on and trust You with all I am. Please be my Saviour and Lord. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.
 

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Scripture

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
John 3:16 NKJV

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Today's Writer

Philip Asselin is on the associate ministry and teaching teams with Glyndley Manor. He, and his wife Gillian, attended the second Healing Retreat at Glyndley Manor in 1992, and were greatly helped. They have 2 grown up children and one grandson, plus a step-granddaughter (both in California).

Philip Asselin


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