A few years ago when I was working at a summer camp for troubled teens, I was challenged by a fellow staff member to ask the right questions. I was learning to understand the many different places people can be in their relationship with God, and if you don’t ask in the correct way, you won’t find out where they are. “Are you a Christian?” means so many different things to different people. “Do you believe in God?” is too narrow. After a bit of thinking, I realized what I really wanted to understand about people was “What is your relationship with God?” Now I admit this isn’t the most clear question, so I hope to explain myself here.
Most people will respond back “What do you mean ‘relationship’?” Here are examples of answers that would fit the question. “What is your relationship with God?”
Like my relationship with Casper the friendly ghost- I don’t believe in ghosts but they make for fun little stories.
Like my relationship with Erin- we were best friends when I was younger but we haven’t spoken since then. And I really don’t care to start that relationship again.
Like my relationship with the Queen of England- I know she’s out there but what she does has no influence on my life. So I really don’t care.
Like my relationship with President Obama- I don’t know him personally but I don’t like what he does. I want to avoid him at all costs and get him out of my life (sorry for the politics, but it made for a good example)
Like my relationship with my distant family- They are family and I love spending time with them once every year or two. But I’m not really close to them and I don’t have the desire to build that relationship.
Like my relationship with Sarah- We get along well but it is a long distance relationship and requires work to get to know her better. Therefore, the friendship gets dropped to the side.
Like my relationship with my husband- I love him greatly and know much about him. But there are still many things I don’t know. It’s not enough to know him as I do now. I want to (and am excited) to get to know him, to be able to love and serve him without having to ask how.
Those are just a few examples of possible answers. There are many different relationships in our lives. What is your relationship with God?