How do you develop a closer relationship with God?
This question is one most Believers today are asking. In this email, rush-around, hurry-I'm-late world, you have enough trouble keeping up with your friends. Nevertheless the God of the Universe, the Creator of all mankind, but a relationship, an intimate one at that, is what all people crave.
It's that empty part of yourself that you are always trying to fill. The part that you try to fill with drugs, alcohol, love, success and being popular. No matter what you fill it with, there is still a hole. A big, gaping hole.
Maybe, like me, your relationship with your earthly Dad left a lot to be desired. Perhaps you've had a hard time relating to God as your Father because of it. Maybe you transfer your relationship with your Dad onto God and expect Him to be the same way. I know I've been there, done that too.
God is not like your earthly Dad. Perhaps your Dad abandoned you in your time of need. Maybe not physically but emotionally. God will never leave you. He will never forsake you. He will never turn you away when you need Him. He is not your earthly Dad, who didn't have all the answers. He knows everything. He knows what you need before you need it.
God is more than your Father. He is your friend. Some children experience their Dads just as Dads, like me. Others, though, experience them as friends. They can tell their Dad anything. They know in the good and the bad, their Dad has their back.
The same is true for you, as a Believer. You can not only experience God as Daddy but as friend. You can share your most intimate secrets and feelings with Him, and He will never turn you away. He will never abandon you (Hebrews 13:5). There is nothing that you can say or do that will cause Him to stop loving you. He won't be shocked or surprised by your actions. In His presence, you are safe. Safe from criticism. Free from fear. Free from ridicule.
How do you develop a closer relationship with God? How do you develop a closer relationship with a human being? No matter if they are your mother, your neighbor, your friend or a potential mate, if you want a closer relationship with them, you must spend time with them.
With my friends, I send them letters and cards to let them know I am thinking about them. We talk through email. Through each letter, I learn more about them as a person.
You cannot email or write letters to God and expect them to be deliver to Heaven in their physical form. Nor can you expect an email or letter back from God.
Instead you have something better. It's called prayer. Yes, you must pray to the Father in Jesus' Name (John 15:16) and pray according to God's Will, the Bible (1 John 5:14). Other than that, prayer is just talking to God.
However if you were to talk with your friend, and they didn't respond, it would be a very one-way conversation. That's the way most people are with God. They do all the talking.
I make time every morning to fellowship with God. I speak His Word over my life. I pray and read the Word. Then I take Him with me throughout my day. I talk to Him when I have a problem, when I am frustrated, angry, whatever.
However, I make special time to listen to what He has to say. I learned early on that God speaks to me in restrooms--mine at home, in restaurants or whatever facilities I am in. It is our special place. It is where I listen to what He is speaking to my spirit, but it took practice to hear Him well.
Not only do you need to talk to God, but you need to listen as well. Then you will know what is on God's heart concerning you. Through your communication, your conversations with him, you will get to know Him better. Then your relationship with Him won't seem so one-sided.
Another way to become more intimate with God is through your praise, worship and thanksgiving.
Let's take them one at a time:
Praise (Psalm 100:4). What is praise?
Let's say, your child receives straight A's or catches the winning pass in the championship state football game, what would you do? You would praise your child, of course, with a "Good job, Sally" or a "Wow, Bobby, that was a great catch."
When God does something spectacular in your life, though, do you acknowledge Him for what He has done?
Worship (Exodus 23:25). What is the difference between praise and worship? The churches categorize it by slow and fast music.
Praise, though, is acknowledging what God has done in your life. Worship is from the depths of your heart, focusing on Who God is. You acknowledge that He is your Healer (Isaiah 53:4-5, I Peter 2:24, III John 2). You acknowledge that He is your Peace (John 14:27). He is your every need fulfilled (Philippians 4:19).
God is God, and you must keep yourself in constant remembrance of Who He is rather than just what He does.
You don't want to just be known as the guy who can make a jump shot or the girl who can multiply five numbers in her head in five seconds. You want people to get to know you for you. And so does God.
Thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6, 1 Thessalonians 5:18). This is essential to changing your perspective, your attitudes and thoughts. You can look at a situation, such as getting a flat tire, as a negative experience. Or you can find one good aspect about it for which to be grateful. For instance, the tire could have blown and killed you.
You must discipline yourself to be grateful, to purposely find the good in every situation. Then you will become closer to God. You will have a better attitude, a better perspective.
If you want to have a closer relationship with God, you must spend time with Him. You have to listen to Him. You need to praise Him for what He's done. You must worship Him for who He is and be grateful in every situation. This is how your relationship with God will grow and become more intimate.
Annagail Lynes is a writer of devotionals, ebooks and articles. Her articles and devotionals have appeared in publications online and offline around the world. You can order her books at http://www.annagaillynes.net
1. Follow Me and I Will Make You
2. Healing Distress, Debt, And Discontent
3. The Secret to Your Healing Is In the Word
4. How to Hear From God
5. Judge Not Least You Be Judged
6. Can Christians Divorce?
7. The Bible: Original Text versus Translations