Column by Sumter Pastor Joey Durham: Having a fulfilling relationship with God is really that simple


Today's devotion asks this question, "Can it really be that simple?" My text is in John 3:14-17, where we read, "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." (KJV)

I know you have probably heard these words, "Is it really that simple?" to something you thought was going to be super complicated. I want to make the application to anyone and everyone being able to have a real and fulfilling relationship with God. Here in our text, Jesus Christ was conversing with a sinner by the name of Nicodemas. The truth of the matter is that all mankind is a sinner by birth and also by choice. We all know that because of all the abundant evidence in our society that proves it beyond any doubt. But the great news is that God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to die as man's substitute on Calvary's cross to pay for the sin of all mankind.

This matter of having a fulfilling and thriving relationship with the God of Heaven is really not complicated at all. The grace of God, or the unmerited love of God, is offered to "whosoever" wants it, no matter who it is.

Ephesians 2:8-9 states, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (KJV) As the Word of God states, don't try to insert works of righteousness to earn salvation. That is an impossibility. The simple truth is, all anyone must do is repent and acknowledge to God that you are a sinner, that you believe Jesus Christ died in your place on Calvary's cross to pay the penalty for your own individual sins, and in child-like faith just invite Jesus Christ into your heart and life as your own personal Savior.

It is my prayer that if you don't have a relationship with the God of Heaven that you will come to Jesus Christ by faith and accept Him so that you can have a friend in Jesus that will love you, care for your every need and will never leave you nor forsake you. In these days, everyone needs a friend like Jesus, and to have such a relationship with God is really that simple.

Dr. Joey Durham is pastor at Open Bible Baptist Church at 180 Old Manning Road in Sumter. You can contact Pastor Durham at or call the church office at (803) 481-9315.