From: David Kabanje
Date: January 13
Subject: GMU: God and Long-distance Relationships

Long-distance Relationships 

Beautiful People,

The closer I get to Jesus, the more I realize how sincere His goodness is. Friends, a relationship with Jesus Christ is not long distance. In my senior year at Union, I proposed to my beautiful wife. The proposal day was December 31, and in three weeks, she would leave the country for her IRR capstone semester. The next three months brought a new meaning to the term "lovesick." Communication was difficult due to her lack of signal. I missed her, and it wasn't easy to focus on anything else. The disciples must have felt the same way, albeit on a grander scale, when Jesus disappeared into the clouds to sit at the right hand of His Father.

Long-distance relationships are challenging; however, Jesus isn't interested in having a long-distance relationship with us. Let me explain. In John 14:16, Jesus promises a special gift—the Holy Spirit. I LOVE THE HOLY SPIRIT; we don't talk enough about Him. Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, will live in all believers. That's excellent news, but keep reading chapter 14 and pay close attention to how Jesus decreases the distance between Heaven and Earth. Jesus promises not to leave us like orphans. I don't know about you, but I have had my orphan days, days where I felt abandoned by the people I thought loved me unconditionally. That abandonment created toxic behaviors and patterns that Jesus is helping me work through today, and He can do the same for you.
Jesus is not in the business of abandoning us; He is in the business of regenerating us. In John 14:21, Jesus reaffirms the love-obedience relationship in that, "Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them." Now, this is an interesting commandment. If our hearts are self-centered and wicked (Jeremiah 17:9), how can we love God? Well, "Only by love is love awakened," which is done through an intimate knowledge and interaction with God's character! This is done because of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth that brings conviction and clarity to God's sincere love and goodness. Friends, God is not in the business of having a long-distance relationship with you. He is interested in regenerating your heart so that it is in sync with His. In other words, God wants to make His home in your heart. God is not interested in a long-distance relationship. He has bridged the gap that sin created. All He asks is that we respond to His amazing love with submission and trust.   

P.S. Aaron Davis will not be joining us for uGather today. We have rescheduled him for another date. We will have an interactive chapel focused on spiritual resuscitation. Don't forget to bring your phones to chapel, you will need them!