Near or Far

Are you a Christian?  Are you a member of a church?  Have you prayed the sinner’s prayer?  All these questions have a similar flaw in them.  It can make it appear that each of them is a final destination.  Are you a Christian, oh great you are all set.  You’re a member of a church, well sit back and relax; you prayed the sinner’s prayer, great you have punched your ticket to heaven.  If we are not careful we can make it sound like faith is a destination or a secret club you need to seek entrance to.  If only you would say the right prayer or join the right church then you are set.


Jesus talks about faith in a very different way.  For Jesus faith is not a destination, it is a journey.  Throughout the Gospels Jesus doesn’t talk about how God’s Kingdom is an exclusive club you need to seek entrance to, but a journey all of us walk throughout our lives.  In Mark 12, Jesus could have said, well buddy, you are not in yet, but maybe one day. Instead Jesus speaks of proximity to God.  We don’t have a God switch that you just flip one day.  For many their journey towards God happened over the course of years; through conversations, books, concerts, and more.  The Kingdom of God is not about getting in, it’s about proximity.  This is so central because no matter your age or length of time as a believer, you too are on this journey; each day moving closer or farther to Jesus Christ our source, our life, our redeemer.  Instead of asking are you in or out, we should instead be looking to see, are you growing closer or farther, are you near or far? 


Bill Hybels describes it as a continuum running from -10 to 10. -10 is an atheist, someone who does not like God, or is even angry at God and convinced God is not real.  10 is a mature believer who walks with God in a deep and meaningful way each day.  As you walk in your own life or with others, he challenges us to think beyond getting someone to “become” a believer.  Hybels instead challenges us to think, how can I walk with someone to help them move closer to God?


Pastor Bill



Discussion Questions

  1. Think of someone that you might share you faith with, or invite to church, how might you walk with them closer to God?
  2. How are you growing closer each day in your own faith?