I have this story I like to tell. It is just a story, it is not true, but it reveals a truth I think. It goes like this….
Several years ago the minimally famous actress, Dinah Wheeler, received quite bit of attention for her friendship with a woman named Carly Smithe. Carly considered herself to be one of Dinah’s closest friends. Whenever Dinah was out of town on a movie shoot, Carly would take care of her place. She would dust, vacuum, collect the mail and water the plants. Carly would even sleep over on weekends whenever Dinah was going to be out of town for an extended period. Dinah’s neighbors were accustomed to Carly’s comings and goings. She was always pleasant and they’d often wave or engage in neighborly chit chat at the mail boxes. Dinah’s neighbors considered her to be fortunate to have such a good friend as Carly. Everything seemed fine, better than fine even….except Dinah had no idea who Carly was.
She had never met her before and had no idea Carly had been in her home on such a regular basis. One weekend Dinah returned home a few days earlier than scheduled from filming on location. She found Carly in her house and immediately phoned the police. When the authorities came to take Carly away neighbors heard her crying out, “But I’m her friend, I watch over her house and take care of her things!” Sadly, Carly was mentally unstable. She was a devoted fan for many years and eventually considered herself to be a close friend of Dinah’s. Carly may have known a lot about Dinah, but she never spoke with her, wrote her or spent time with her. There was not a “personal” relationship between them . Carly had imagined one existed. She believed it was true and so did all of Dinah’s neighbors. A lot of people thought Carly and Dinah were very close friends.
Are we like that with God? Do we hang out at His house on Sundays, watch over His things, do stuff “for God” and consider ourselves to be close to Him? Like Carly, who was certain her attention to Dinah’s things made her one of Dinah’s friends, do we fall into the pattern of doing things for God, but not really knowing Him in a personal way? A relationship requires attention to the heart. Do we listen to Him through His Word? Do we talk with Him through prayer? Do we rely on Him in faith and trust?
Sometimes I ask myself have I become like Carly? Does my life only look like I know God in a personal way. 2Timothy 3:13-17 warns of imposters and gives us guidance for how to not become a Carly. “…continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them; …from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus…all scripture is inspired by god and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God be adequate, equipped for every good work.”