Growing up in Russia I strived to make friends, to connect with people. I was bullied a lot. It was hard for me to make friends. In fact, it was nearly impossible. Many people considered me cursed because of my physical deformities.
At the age of twelve, I surrendered my life to Jesus. This has changed a lot of things. My focus shifted to the Lord.
After moving to the US, I started attending church regularly. That was the first time when I fully connected with the people outside of my family.
I had true friends who shared my faith. We could talk about anything.
Before I knew it, it was time to go back to Russia. I had to say goodbye to all my friends. I was devastated. Leaving those who showed me the Love of Christ was painful. It felt as if a part of me was missing. I couldn’t fathom my life without them.
Two months later it was a time to leave again. This time my destination was Canada. My current home.
By the grace of the Lord, I was blessed with a place to worship the Lord. I connected with new people, made new friends. As time went by, some people moved, others stayed. The Lord brought new people into my life.
It changed my focus. I realized that while trying making new connections with other people, being busy with the church activities, I neglected relationship with Jesus. People will come and go but the Lord is always with us.
Each day I have to remind myself—not connecting with God will connect me with sin.
“But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.” 2 Thessalonians 3:3 (NIV)
We can never truly connect with others until we connect with God. We were made for fellowship with our Creator. The closer we to Jesus the more we become like him. It allows us to discern his will for our lives.
This connection transforms us beyond anything we could ever imagine. We begin to view others through God’s eyes. Our lives bear the great fruit of the Spirit. We become more equipped to do God’s will. The Lord will bring the people we need to us.
God is the only one who is always with us. We don’t know when our loved ones will die. We don’t know when the relationships will end. Few of my family members died far away. I have never had a chance to see them for the last time. Last year one of the friendships fell apart. I haven’t seen my family for years. There are times when the pain seems unbearable, but the Lord is always near.
Jesus loves us more than any other person. We cannot love others the way God loves us because we are sinners in a constant need of Grace. Connection with Jesus allows us to experience the most perfect love. People will let us down. God never will. We can love others just like the Lord loves us through experiencing this perfect love.
Connecting with others without before connecting to Jesus leads to idolatry. There are people whom I love and respect. Their lives influenced me greatly. Sometimes I put them on a pedestal. I want to be more like that person rather than like Jesus. I begin to think that they are perfect.
When we don’t connect with God, we connect with flesh. We let sin in.
Without the Lord, we see others through the eyes of the flesh. We lose compassion and become heartless. We ignore God’s call for our lives. Our hearts turn away from the Lord. Sin takes a stronghold. We become prone to judging others. We avoid those whom we dislike while we could be the only ones who can show the love of Christ to them.
We will know when to let go. Certain people pull us away from the Lord. Certain relationships are toxic. Sometimes we want something so much—we will sacrifice the best God has for us so we can keep what we are clinging to.
“They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD.” Psalm 112:7 (NIV)