I’ll tip my hand to one assumption I am making. I assume that an intimate, conversational walk with God is available, and is meant to be normal. I’ll push that a step further. I assume that if you don’t find that kind of relationship with God, your spiritual life will be stunted. And that will handicap the rest of your life. We can’t find life without God, and we can’t find God if we don’t know how to walk intimately with him. A passage from the gospel of John will show you what I’m getting at. Jesus is talking about his relationship with us, how he is the Good Shepherd and we are his sheep. Listen to how he describes the relationship:

I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.”...“Whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:1–4, 9–10)

The sheep live in dangerous country. The only way they can move securely in and out and find pasture is to follow their shepherd closely. Yet most Christians assume that the way to find the life God has for us is to (A) believe in God, (B) be a good person, and (C) he will deliver the rest. A + B = C. But Jesus says no, there’s more to the equation. I do want life for you. To the full. But you have to realize there is a thief. He’s trying to destroy you. There are false shepherds too. Don’t listen to them. Don’t just wander off looking for pasture. You need to do more than believe in me. You have to stay close to me. Listen to my voice. Let me lead. Now there’s a thought: if you don’t hold the same assumptions Jesus does, you haven’t got a chance of finding the life he has for you.

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