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Title : What do avoid if you are looking for a vital relationship with Jesus By : Pastor Reinhard Westphal
Is Jesus just a believe system for you or do you have a vital and living relationship with him? Many people know about him, study him but they are missing a personal and living relationship with him. In this article I will show you four approaches that you have to avoid at all costs in order to enter into a very personal and intimate relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.

In Luke chapter 24. 1-12 we find the resurrection account of Jesus. Three women, Mary Magdalena, Joanna and another Mary went to Jesusí tomb but discovered that his body was not there. They loved and followed Jesus. Now they are terrified because there Jesus is not there. Two angles appeared and asked them a very important question. The same question is to this day a challenge to you and me:
ďWhy are you looking for him who is alive among the dead? He is not here: he has risen!Ē

The all important and challenging question in this story is that of the messenger in the tomb, "Why are you looking for him who is alive among the dead?" Many people today still look for Jesus among the dead.

There are those who regard him as the greatest man and the noblest hero who ever lived - but who also died like everybody else.

Donít fall into this trap. I hope that Jesus is not just a moral model for you. Not just a great person who was and did good. Believing in Jesus means not just to acknowledge that He once lived but that He is alive and well today. He wants you to accept Him as your personal saviour so that He can come and live within you.

There are those who regard Jesus simply as a man whose life must be studied, his words must be examined and his teachings must be analysed.

Some Christians tend to think of Christianity and Christ merely in terms of something to be studied. When we come together in our Bible study groups - do we only come together to study, to examine and to analyse and to discuss?
Yes, without any doubt, study is necessary and important!
But Jesus is not only someone to be studied! He is someone to be met in person! If you want to know something about Jesus why not ask Him? Jesus is someone to be lived with every day of our live.
He is not only a figure in a book, even if that book is the greatest book in the whole world - Jesus is a living person. He wants to walk with you, and he wants to talk with you. He desires to be your friend. Wherever you are, whatever you do, he is there with you and He wants you to realise that.

There are those who see in Jesus just the perfect pattern and example.

And yes, he is that. But a perfect example can be the most heartbreaking thing on earth. For centuries the birds gave men an example of flight - and yet not until modern times could men fly.

Can you remember, when you received your first writing book in grade one? At the top it had a line of copperplate writing; below it had blank lines on which we had to copy it. Remember how discouraging it was to try to reproduce that perfect pattern, that example? But then the teacher would come and take our hand into his or hers and guide our hand with his or hers and we got closer and closer the ideal.

That is exactly what Jesus does. He is not only the pattern and the example. He helps us and guides us and strengthens us to follow that pattern and example. He is not simply a model for our life - He is the alive - he is the life.

Some Christians look for the living Christ in dead tradition.

Mark 7.6-8 (New International Version)
He replied, "Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: 'These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men. You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men."

I am so glad that over time many of our churches and denominations did let go of dead traditions and moved into the freedom of the Holy Spirit. For many years it was more important to live by manmade church rules than to obey Godís commands.

If you sang the right songs, used the appropriate instruments, wore the right cloth and had your hair done in the right way, then everything was good and you where a good Christian. You tried top live by those rules but did that satisfy your soul? Of course not! Because pleasing man puts you under bandage. You are trying, but you can never please man.
But pleasing God brings wonderful results. It brings peace and joy. It opens the doors for Godís blessings. It really satisfies you.

My dear readers, I encourage you not to look for Jesus in the wrong places. Donít look for Him in History. Donít try to find Him at university. Donít look for Him under the noble man. And please donít try to find Him in tradition.

But meet Him as you pray and read His Word. Meet Him while you have fellowship with other believers. And meet Him as you do acts of kindness for your fellow man

The living Christ wants a vital and living relationship with each one of you.

Pastor Reinhardís passion is to encourage Christians to live an abundant life, overflowing with peace and joy. He wants you to enter into a life without guilt and condemnation and to experience Godís Goodness every day of your life. Get his free MP3 teaching ďThe Jonah-Virus - how to defuse your angerĒ as Pastor Reinhardís gift as a thank you for reading this article.
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