Will you go out with me? Circle YES or NO. Almost every middle school relationship begins this way: the folded, smudged note passed from one person to be delivered to said potential love. Do you like me? Am I cute? Are you mad at me? Communication passes back and forth with a note delivered by a go-between– an interpreter, a translator. I have seen a relationship go on like this for two weeks with not one word spoken face to face. But relationships like that are never very deep. Where is the personal communication? How can one honestly get to know another with that third person always translating what was said, or meant, or done.
But we have all seen the rare middle school relationship that lasts and turns into a happy marriage. This couple eventually starts to talk to one another face to face, spends time together alone, gets to know each other one on one. The relationship matures and moves past the note-passing, past the mediator relaying what was said, or meant, or done.
Sometimes I meet people who are faithful in having “devotions” but they usually quote what Sarah said, or Joel, or Max. But what about Jesus? What did Jesus say to you this morning? And I wonder, Is it possible to move into a mature relationship with Jesus if one only reads what others say about Jesus? What does our relationship with Jesus look like if we are still just passing notes? If we never move to that face to face conversation? What does our relationship look like if we constantly rely on that middle man to pass along what Jesus said, or meant, or did?
Now I confess, there is a time for that middle man, the translator. There have been times when I have been frustrated with the love of my life and have needed someone else to point out what was good about him, or remind me of how men work. But this sort of learning about each other could never be the bulk of our relationship, one has to eventually move back into the one on one, the face to face.
So I have a challenge for you. Pick up your Bible, just your Bible (and not one with all those notes at the bottom), grab a cup of coffee, find a comfortable spot to relax, and just read. Pick a short book first: John, Mark, James. Visit with Jesus face to face, spend time with him alone, gets to know each other one on one– And see if that love relationship matures beyond what you could ever imagine!