A Personal Relationship
Updated: Jun 21, 2020
by: Carleigh Woods
When I sat down for lunch with Deena Price, my eyes were immediately drawn to a tattered and worn object in her hands. When I realized what it was, I knew it wasn’t tattered and worn, it was treasured and well-used. A Bible, gifted to Deena by her husband Jay in 1996. And when life seemed to crumble around her just two years later, it was the Bible, and God Almighty revealed inside, that Deena clung to.
“Anybody can go to church and do the right things, and there is something to be said for that, unless it’s just to check the boxes. Because there’s gonna come that time in the trenches when you’re really gonna need God.” And Deena Price knows the trenches. From 1998 to Mid 2000, Jay and Deena’s lives were consumed with tragedy. Her sister-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer that ended up claiming her life, her father passed away unexpectedly, and then her nephew was involved in a tragic and fatal car accident. “Without a personal relationship with God, there’s no way… it would have just snowballed me over. Going through all of that without a personal relationship with God… I can’t event imagine it because I got low even with one. He was there in the valleys but… it was low. But God had a plan. We go through so much yuck in our lives… I just don’t understand how anyone can get through it without this,” motioning to the Bible on the table, holding on by a thread. A reflection of everything she went through, and the thread that held her together was her relationship with God.
The day after meeting with Deena I sat down for my personal time in the Word. I read Luke 6 and was drawn to verses 46-48. In these verses, Jesus talks about what it means to build your house on the rock (himself):
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.”
As soon as I finished reading it hit me… this is Deena’s story. Being grounded in a personal relationship with the Lord, having treasured and acted on His Word, the storm could beat the house all it wanted to… but it wouldn’t fall. God’s Word tells us over and over again that we will face trials in this life. How we react to them is a reflection of the depth of our faith in and relationship with God.
So how do we deepen our faith? How do we have a personal relationship with God? By studying His Word. “I haven’t always been very good at consistent bible study. I relied on necessity to guide me, like preparing for a lesson. It helped, but it was a regimen. An actual desire didn’t actually come until some of the yuck. As it would be for almost anybody, sadly enough it’s when you’re in the trenches and you’re crying out like there has to be something in here… and now there is a desire to be in God’s Word.” Many times our experiences in the trenches are when the Lord draws us nearest to himself.
The question now is, how do I study God’s Word? “As for tools, I lean on the resources provided, like the Devote Daily has been awesome to add to the things I do. I listen to podcasts, watch bible study videos, read Bible Study books, & prepare for my Connect Group. More personally, I have walked through the entire Bible and continue in that. Daily I look for application of what’s going on in my day for it to mean more. Whatever my day is holding I want to have a word to share with others.” Time in the Word will look differently for all of us. But Deena summed up the most important part of spending time in scripture: “I just want to make sure I am seeking God and getting to know God better in each passage.” No matter what, our time in God’s Word should first and foremost be finding out what it says about our God.
A personal relationship with God is multidimensional. Having a rock and hope when trials come is only one aspect. A personal relationship with God most importantly leads to sanctifying work in us by the Holy Spirit. It also brings eternal joy, immense gratitude, increased love for our Savior, increased understanding of who God is, deeper love for the lost, more meaningful worship, deeper love for the global and local church, an increased desire to obey God’s Word, a transformed mind focused on kingdom purposes, a transformed heart, eyes that see the world with a gospel lens, and a daily desire to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with those who do not know and love him (amongst a multitude of other things). Do you feel your relationship with God is truly personal? Or is it a public front? If you are ready to deepen your faith, it’s time to start walking in God’s Word. Don’t know where to start? “Our church does a phenomenal job of providing resources for us. People don’t have to be confused about what to do because our church provides.” Deena was right, First Baptist Choctaw provides a multitude of resources. Tune in during the week to our Devote Daily videos as we walk through the Bible Reading Plan Pastor Andy has put out, as we move through Old and New Testament passages. If you have never read the Bible in its entirety, it’s not too late to start. Ask Pastor Andy about purchasing a Foundations Bible Study book for yourself and your family!
A personal relationship with God is the substance of our faith. A personal relationship with God transforms our hearts, minds, and lives. And it is the sweetest relationship we can have the privilege of enjoying. Don’t miss it. In Luke 6:49 Jesus describes the result of missing a personal relationship with him:
“But the one who hears and does not do [my words] is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”
Have you built your foundation on The Rock?
P.S. -- do you have a story to tell? Head over to fbcchoctaw.org/shareyourstory to tell us yours.