“What is a relationship with God?”
In the Quilombo Community in Pará, Brazil, this is the question, by the grace of God, that many local followers of Jesus and I had the opportunity to respond to when a family of new believers asked honestly. The following is a testimony of a precious salvation through Jesus Christ.
It was a hot and humid Sunday afternoon in the Quilombo community. I had plans that day to go catch up with a new believer at his home and teach him more about the Bible. So right as the sun was setting, me, a translator by the name of Wellington, and a few friends of mine, Ryan Blumer and Nate Reyes, went out to go find Marcelo.
Three days earlier, Marcelo got saved when a couple of people from our group visited his home to talk to him. We arrived and jumped right into a conversation with him and his girlfriend. Ryan Blumer got to talk to them about the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit’s role in our lives. When Blumer ended, I clearly heard the Lord tell me to talk about what a relationship with Christ looks like.
Here in Brazil, there is a lot of idol worship. Many people pray to special dolls and saints, so religion to them is giving but not so much receiving. There is no aspect of relationship with God, just mindless repeated prayers. I believe this is why God told me to speak about what a relationship with Him really looks like.
When new believers first look at the idea of having a relationship with God, it’s a little bit scary. Many times they might have questions like, where do I start? What do I do? What do I say to God? How should I act? What should change in my life?
A relationship with God is interactive.
So I started to tell Marcelo, his girlfriend and his mother all about this. I started off by telling them that a relationship is not jut reading the Bible. It’s so much more than that. A relationship with God is interactive. It’s alive and causes change to happen in your life. Its you talking with God and him listening and responding. It’s God talking to you and you listening and responding. It’s God teaching us. It’s us asking God questions and letting God ask us questions. You see, it’s not just reading and praying and then it’s over for the day. It is something that should last all day, everyday.
I told Marcelo that when he goes out to work everyday he can talk to God. He can ask him questions about his work, and about his life, even when he is working. This is what God really is looking for.
We explained to him that before Jesus died on the cross, he told his disciples that when he dies, he would send the Holy Spirit to live inside of the believers. And throughout scripture we see that the Holy Spirit’s role is big in our lives. In John 14, it says he is our teacher and the one who reminds us of the teachings.