By Ryan Wall
I grew up in a home where doing the right thing was always expected. My parents instilled in me a great sense of morality from a very young age, which was enhanced by my time spent in the Catholic church. I have known the Ten Commandments ever since I can remember and I always tried my hardest to follow them. I stood out as the nice kid, the one who was well-behaved and always seemed to do the right thing. From the earliest time I can remember, I believed in God, but I spent much of my early life trying really hard. I started growing weary—how good was good enough?
I could never seem to do enough good. My grades were not quite perfect, I couldn't win enough sporting events, I could not help enough people by volunteering, I could not seem to win friends’ approval, I could not seem to win my parents’ approval, and I definitely could not seem to win God's approval.
Where Grace Steps In
When I was 13 years old, someone shared Ephesians 2:8-9 with me, helping me realize there was nothing I could ever do to earn God’s grace. As it says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”
I then discovered Revelation 3:20, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me,” and I realized that Jesus was inviting me to have a relationship with Him. That realization caused a huge weight to be lifted from my shoulders. A peace that surpasses all understanding came over my life.
What Does a Relationship with Christ Look Like?
As I started to walk in this grace I started to think that loving my friends well and giving them grace meant remaining silent when I saw them making sinful decisions. I started to let go of the high standards I had for them, and over time, I consequentially stopped holding myself to the highest of standards—holiness. As small glimpses of sin started slipping into my life, my relationship with Christ began to grow distant. I would constantly turn back to Him, but I had no idea what a relationship with Him looked like and I had no one in my life to model it for me. Year after year, I was searching for significance in lots of different places—church, academics, leadership, drinking, money, work, and friends, but nothing seemed to provide the peace that I once had.
Then I came to The Porch and was challenged by another verse from Revelation 3—verses 15 and 16— “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”
I was lukewarm in my faith and God was drawing me in. He had asked me to sit at the table with him so many times, but I was constantly ignoring His invitation. This time I decide to let Him eat with me. I had no idea what to do, so I started asking around and found three things that have made all of the difference in my relationship with God:
I got into a community group.
I started volunteering my time with the church on a consistent basis.
I started reading my Bible every day.
After implementing these three principles, my heart started changing rapidly and I felt drawn to walk in an intimate relationship with God.
For many good kids, knowing the difference between morality and intimacy with Christ can be hard to differentiate, but God is never fooled. If you look at your faith and feel lukewarm, that is probably what you are, and God would spit you out of His mouth.
I would love to chat with you!