I have had a lot of conversations recently about how to know God. People wanting to know how to hear from God, how to become closer with Him and how to take their relationship with Him to the next level. Today, I wanted to talk a little bit about how to get closer to God. (I also wrote an article entitled How to Hear From God on my website for more information.)
I personally approach my relationship with God as I would anyone with whom I wanted a close relationship. Someone I was dying to get to know better. For most people, this could accurately describe how you felt when you first fell in love. I was anxious to know what He was about, what He liked, and how I could do more things to please Him. I also wanted to know Him as my Father, my Friend, my Comforter and my Strength (all things that were promised in the Bible). In that God could be so many things to me, it was very important to me to build a solid relationship with Him. So, how did I do that? Initially, by reading the Bible (His letter to us), talking to other people, listening to good preaching and a little bit of trial and error. Here is what I discovered:
1. God Likes to Talk
God likes to talk to His children. All throughout the Bible, there are instances of God speaking to his people, his prophets, his servants and those who faithfully followed him. In Isaiah 1:18, God says ‘Come now, and let us reason together, saith Jehovah: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.’ (ASV) I like this verse a lot because not only does it show that God wants to talk to us, He promises He is open to us even in the midst of our sins. We may not like everything God has to say to us, but it is reassuring to know He wants to hear our conversation.
2. God Likes to Hear You Say Good Things About Him
A good example of a person who was close to God was King David. Though he sinned in his personal life (and was punished), God still considered him to have been pure in his heart towards God. I think one of the reasons for this was because David was tops in one area: he loved to praise God! A familiar passage of scripture can be found in Psalms 34:1-2, where David says ‘…..I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.’ David made a point of saying good things about God and openly displayed his affection and devotion to God no matter what anyone else thought. And, because of this, God counted David as a friend. As my pastor’s wife often says, if you were in a relationship with someone, would you want them to be embarrassed to talk about you? I think not….
3. God Has to Come First
The first of the ten commandments (in Exodus 20) says that we are to have no other gods before Him. We are also told time and again to love God with all our heart, soul and might (Deut. 6:5, 30:6, Matt. 22:37, etc.). That is the first and most significant commandment. Everything else God asks us to do comes after this first and most important command. It is important as a Christian that you build your relationship with God first – and from that, your relationships with other people.
4. God Gets Jealous of Competition
In the ten commandments, right after God tells us that He will have no other gods before Himself, He tells us in Exodus 20:5 ‘Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God…’ God does not like competition. As a matter of fact, not only does He not like competition, He gets jealous when you have someone or something in your life that you hold in higher esteem than you do Him. That means husband or wife, children, family, friends, job, money, material things or wealth. Whatever it is - you can never put those things or those people before God. Remember – no one else is your God – but Him.
5. God Likes to Spend Quality Time With You
God says to Moses in Exodus 25:22 ‘And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat…’ The American Heritage Dictionary of the English language defines commune as ‘To be in a state of intimate, heightened sensitivity and receptivity, as with one's surroundings’. And we are reminded that God is the One ‘Who comforteth us in all our tribulation….’ (2 Cor 1:4) Communing with God and being comforted by God all involved spending time with God. We are so often in a hurry, ripping and running from place to place, that we want what we want from in a hurry! Well, here’s a news flash - it doesn’t usually work that way. Most true spiritual work takes time. If you’re lucky, God will deliver you of your troubles right away, but, most of the time, He doesn’t.. Most things that you want from God will take time – and involve a process. A process of spending time with God, talking to God, listening to God, and spending good quality time with God. Saying good things about God, putting God first, and getting rid of (or lessening) any competition. That’s what it takes to be close to God.
Religion, Spirituality, Christian, Christianity, Articles, Advice, God
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