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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sermon Lessons: Connection

14-15"In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can't get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God's part."
(Matthew 6:14-15)

These verses come immediately after Jesus instructed the disciples how to pray. We think of that instruction on prayer as the "Lord's Prayer" - but Jesus was outlining some things to remember in prayer and what prayer does for us.  To that instruction, he adds the idea that we often miss - that prayer is a connecting point between us and God.

It is in the times of prayer - short or long, heavy or lighthearted - that we "connect" with God.  Jesus takes that one step further - he reminds us that it is where we connect with "what God does" and "what we do".  So, it is a time of bringing to God what we are incapable of doing and for us to admit what it is that we are doing with what he has committed to us in this life.  

The one area of "connection" that he emphasizes is the example he spent some time developing already with is disciples - that is the concept of forgiveness.  God is in the "business" of forgiveness and reconciliation - he expects us to be in the same "business".  Our ability to be effective in the Kingdom of God is directly proportionate to our willingness to be obedient to what it is he asks of us.  We do our part - he does his.

It is in those moments of "connection" with God that we begin to understand that he truly is unconditional in his love for us.  We recognize how much he has provided in our lives.  We transition from just seeing our needs to understanding the deep heart-needs of others.  That is why it is so important that we have these times of "connection".  

Connection suggests linkage - there is direct contact with whatever we are connected to.  If that connection is weak, infrequent, or broken, the bond is broken and allows for other things to creep into that space of connection that should only be between us and God.  

If you have a car battery that has a build up of corrosion along the positive terminal post, over time that corrosion keeps the cable from making connection with the terminal post.  That build up of corrosion is actually a very toxic substance known as lead sulfate.  That corrosion is caused by the "seal" between the terminal and the cable being less than "perfect" - there is some type of "looseness" in that seal.  Dirt, heat, humidity, etc., lead to the corrosion - much as hidden sin, unforgiveness, etc., leads to an interruption in our "closeness" to God's "recharge" in our lives.  A good mechanic will tell you that it is only by continual inspection, cleaning, and protection that you will eliminate the corrosive build up.

So, don't neglect the "maintenance" of your connection with God's grace, love, and forgiveness.  Look for the little things that are "building up" to cause some distance between you and God.  When you see evidence of them in your life, it is time for a little "maintenance" of that connection!