Social media seems to be the networking norm these days…I frequently receive emails asking “Do you know…” followed by a list of individuals. Most often I know the name, an acquaintance at best. This morning LinkedIn, a professional networking site, came to mind and something clicked…
On LinkedIn, people in your network are called connections and your network is made up of varying degrees of connection:
1st-degree – People you’re directly connected to because you have accepted their invitation to connect, or they have accepted your invitation.
2nd-degree – People who are connected to your 1st-degree connections. You can connect at a 1st degree level by receiving and accepting an invitation
3rd-degree – People who are connected to your 2nd-degree connections.
Now to the clicked part…
I wonder…how many of us have a 2nd or 3rd degree connection with God? Do we connect with Him directly or do we stay connected with Him only through other connections? Our pastors, family members, friends…
If we never engage in a direct one-on-one relationship, why? What’s holding us back from accepting the invitation to know Him directly?
What, if anything, is fanning the flame of desire to know Him better? Do we truly want to know God? Or…are we content to know of God…do we recognize the difference?
For years (as in decades), I didn’t – I didn’t consciously recognize there was a difference between knowing God and knowing of Him. At best, I’d periodically get involved with church activities, but that was about it…far too often, my selfish desires took precedence.
So what changed you ask? What persuaded me to seek a 1st degree connection with God?
It wasn’t just one thing…it was definitely a God thing…His persistent pursuit of me…ever so gently drawing me closer from one degree of connection to another. God is incredibly resourceful…utilizing unique combinations of circumstances and willing, faithful servants to show Himself to me and to help me learn about Him in ways I’d never before experienced.
The other day on the way to the office I caught the tail end of a message on Turning Point. Dr David Jeremiah was talking about how God coaxes us out of our carefully constructed comfort zones…
“like an eagle that stirs up its nest
and hovers over its young,
that spreads its wings to catch them
and carries them aloft.” Deuteronomy 32:11
The visual is fantastic, isn’t it? Egypt was the children of Israel’s nest – even though the conditions were undesirable, they had become comfortable…until God combined circumstances and willing, faithful servants (Moses & Aaron) to stir things up.
In John Gill’s exposition of Deuteronomy 32:11, several things stood out to me:
– out of God’s love for His people, He awakens them, stirs them up, and gets them out
– by sending His messengers to arouse them, He opens their eyes to their wretched state
– like the eagle, God catches us with His expansive grace and teaches us to soar in the exercise of faith, hope, & love
Beautiful, isn’t it? The confidence in knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt we serve our God who takes “his people up from the low estate in which they are, and raising them up to near communion with himself, bearing them on his heart, in his hands, and on his arm, supporting them under all their afflictions, and carrying them, through all their troubles and difficulties, safe to eternal glory and happiness.” (John Gill)
Take a moment and allow those words to sink in… I don’t know about you, but I am forever thankful to have an open invitation to be “LinkedIn” with God as a 1st degree connection!