Matthew 8:8-9 ( NKJV )
The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
In yesterdays post we looked at this scripture from the standpoint that relationship is the basis for faith. We trust those whom we know. The better we know someone the easier it is to trust them. This applies to the Lord as well. The more we cultivate our relationship with Him the easier it is to have faith in Him. If we never cultivate relationship with Him, we will find it difficult to trust Him.
How do we cultivate relationship with the Lord? First let me say that you cannot cultivate what you do not have. Jesus said in John 3 that we must be born again if we want to have relationship with God. If we are not born again we do not have a relationship. In Eph. 5:12 Paul tells us that if we are without Christ we are without God in the world. If we do not have Christ, if we are not born again, we are without relationship with God. So, to begin with, we must be born again. That’s when we meet Jesus and when our relationship begins.
The beginning of any relationship, however, is not the end. I met my wife when I was 13, but that was only the beginning. It has been 43 years since that time and our relationship has grown every day since then. How do any relationships grow? There are two major factors, time in each other’s presence and communication. Without those two things no relationship can grow.
As I spent more and more time with my wife I learned her attitudes, her likes and dislikes. I learned what she would do and how she would react in any situation. I learned to tailor some of my behavior to those things. As we communicated I learned more and more about her. I found out what her hopes and dreams were. I found out how she felt about all kinds of things. In both I discovered her character and integrity. I liked her when I met her. I fell in love with her as we spent time together and communicated.
The same is true in our relationship with the Lord. I met Him when I was 14. I will let you guess who introduced me to Him. I grew up Catholic. I had heard about Jesus all my life. I believed in Him, but I didn’t know Him. After I met Him in salvation there was a whole different dimension to my “religion”, but I didn’t know Jesus yet. Not really.
I began to spend time with Him in prayer. I have always believed that prayer, as communication with the Lord, is not limited to specific times when I get into a special place or posture. Although I believe that is a necessary element of prayer, I also believe that prayer is all the time everywhere. Once I met Jesus I just began to talk to him. The more I talked to Him I found that he talked back to me. How? Often in impressions, circumstances, feelings or other things that I just knew were communication from the Lord. The more time I spent with Him the better I began to know Him.
Another important element of spending time with the Lord is spending time with His people. Heb. 10:25 tells us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. In knowing God’s people I come to know God in them. As we gather there is a corporate relationship that develops. 1 John 1:3 gives us further insight.
John tells us that fellowship together promotes fellowship with the Lord. To know Him we must spend time in His presence with his people.
Finally, the centurion in the story we are studying understood the most foundational element of our communication with God. He understood the most important place we need to spend time with him. The centurion understood that Jesus’ word was who and what Jesus was. We need to spend time in the bible, the Word of God, in order to really know Him. It is how He thinks and what He thinks about everything. It is the clearest most direct communication between God and man that there is.
We will look more closely at this as we continue this week, but let me ask you, “What place does the Word of God have in your Life?” The answer to that question will go a long way to understanding the quality and quantity of your faith.