So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12
The picture is vivid: A little girl stands at the edge of the window in a burning building. It's the second floor, and to the child, the ground seems like a long way down. Below is a fireman--a big guy, standing there in his yellow garb, big hat, and black boots. With outstretched arms, he reaches for the child and yells, "It's OK to jump. I'll catch you! You'll be OK. Come on, kiddo. Jump!"
The little child's heart is fearful. She doesn't know the fireman, and besides it's a long way down. If, however, that child's father was there and said the same thing, most children wouldn't hesitate. Actually, the fireman who is trained as a professional might well be more qualified to catch a falling child than the dad. He's done it many times, but that doesn't take away the fear. The little girl knows and trusts her father. And that's why, overcoming her fear, a little child will usually jump into the arms of a father without hesitation.
This, in a measure, is the quandary that confronts anyone who is serious about his relationship with God. How do you learn to trust Him, overcoming the fear that you might be let down or disappointed in the end?
In this series I've already suggested two steps: First--get to know God through His Son Jesus Christ. This means go to the source and find out who He really is. When Paul was confronted with Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus, his first question--and a valid one, too--was "Who are you?" Once you have gone back to your New Testament and have satisfaction with that question, you have to deal with your irrational fears--Will He reject me? Will He expect more of me than I can deliver? Could I possibly be let down in the end?
Now, we've come to Guideline #3: How do we develop a relationship of trust? Obviously, you don't trust a stranger. Kids today have to learn that no matter how kind or how gentle a stranger is, you just can't take that risk. This explains why a child would jump for his daddy when he would hesitate for a fireman.
When Jesus was here and He called those simple men and women who would, in time, turn the world upside down for His cause, He asked but one thing: it was that those who heard Him should follow Him. He didn't ask for a long-term commitment, though those who did follow did so, generally, unto death. He didn't ask for them to become ascetics and give up pleasure or wealth, though it became apparent that those who did follow Him became willing not only to deny themselves but to give themselves completely and without reservation to His cause.
He just said, "Follow me!" Following someone, of course, demands that the one who leads goes before you, and you must obediently walk where he has walked.
Jesus knew that those who followed Him would get to know Him, and when they got to really know Him, they would love Him, and when they loved Him, they would obey His teaching, and when they did that, their lives would be filled with purpose and direction.
Want to develop a relationship with God? Spend time with His Son. Get to know Him experimentally through prayer. Keep a journal of what you pray for and what God does. As you read the Word, write down your impressions and what you feel God is saying to you. Getting to know God is not something reserved for only those who leave the real world and become ascetics, but for those who live in our world with the touch of heaven on their lives. That's God's purpose for His children, something that far too few really experience.
Resource reading: John 1:35-50.