Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Getting Closer to God

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.


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35 comments:

ms mimi the mocha soulchild said...

Thanks Sonya

For sharing another wonderful article with us. It is right on!

This year I want to be more in tune with God and make a better effort to be closer to God in all that I do. As I grow in my walk I find that I have to remind myself of all the things I've learned...

sonya said...

Ms. Mimi:

I think you are well on your way. I saw your recent poem and posted a link to it on my website! I truly believe you will get to where God intends for you to go...

Anonymous said...

I thought this was a nice article. I only wish you also talked about the importance of practicing love for one another.

We show God we love him by doing his will and loving others. It’s the only other thing he asks us to do. We are to love him and love each other. I think 1 John 4:20-21 says it best.

“Those who say, ‘I love God,’ and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also (NRSV).”

2 Peter 1:5-7 walks us through how to grow our love and apply our faith.

“…You must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love (NRSV).”

I could give example after example of the importance of applied faith from the Old Testament to the new. God wants his love to flow through you and be a blessing to others.

When we love other through our actions and deeds we are allowing God’s spirit to use us. When we love others we are showing our appreciation for the loving sacrifice Jesus made for us. When we sacrifice of ourselves as Jesus sacrificed himself for us, we align our spirits with the divine will of God and come into closer relationship with him.

I don’t have time to get into it right now but maybe I’ll write an article about it and you can post it if you like.

T.H.

sonya said...

T.H. -

As usual, you are right on point. There's nothing I could add to your remarks that would make your point more clearly than you already have.

Absolutely - submit an article to me! I can tell you've spent years studying, reading the Word and learning about God. Your wisdom shows. I have been a practicing Christian for about nine years, and every day I learn about how much more I need to learn!

Thank you for your contributions.

Anonymous said...

I only have one question. How does a person find God? I admit I don'T attend Church like I should and I am ashamed to say that when I do I feel empty. I need some serious help.

Sonya C. Triggs said...

Anonymous:

Thank you for your question. I posted an answer on the front page of my blog. Here is the link: How Does a Person Find God. God Bless you in your journey!

mandileighl said...

I am struggling w/ many things rite now from falling away from God this year and getting over a broken heart from some one who used to call me names hit me and recently threaten to kill me... I feel very alone rite now but reading some of you stuff has reminded me that God is hear with his arms wide open but I do ask that you please pray for me b/c now i am at my lowest point i have ever been in thanks-mandileigh
" created2worship_god@yahoo.com "

Sonya C. Triggs said...

mandileighl:

I've been praying for you. I will pray for you tonight as well. How have you been doing?

Anonymous said...

hey sonja. i am a 19 year old guy from south africa. firstly i DONT want to come across as holier than thou because i really dont think i am, but i believe that satan did not want me on earth. when my mom was pregnant with me she was in 2 car accidents, she got german measels, and got bladder and kidney infections in the worst way, the docters told her not to hope for much because if im not born dead ill be retarded, deaf, blind or mute, but through the grace of God im absolutely fine. i got prophetic word from our pastors wife at a young age and she believes im gona do great things for God. i walked closely with god for many years but then fell off the wagon about a year ago. i really want to get back to God but im scared cause i am terrified of demonic attacks and i know satan will use this to scare me away from God.

Anonymous said...

i have a question. is it possible to be close to God without reading the bible, going to church and the like? is that still being a Christian? i believe in him, pray and love him to the deepest part of my soul. i dont feel that the other things are necessary unless you want to learn about God. i guess you could say i have strong, sometimes unknown, blind faith in him.

Sonya C. Triggs said...

To the 19 year-old from South Africa:

You should not be afraid of what satan can do to you. The Bible says we must "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (Eph 6:11)" and "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you...(James 4:7-8)" The enemy is not stronger than God - not even close! The key for you is to always stay close to God. Satan can attack, but he can never overcome the power of God. Do all that you can to remain close to God - pray, fast, meditate and study - and the power of God shall sustain you through all that the enemy shall do. I will pray for you.

Sonya C. Triggs said...

To Anonymous (About being close to God):

You ask me - "is it possible to be close to God without reading the bible, going to church and the like? is that still being a Christian?" My answer to you is yes, it is possible to know God (and be a Christian) without reading the Bible, or going to church, but is impossible to be close to Him without any of the above. Hebrews 11:6, says "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." You have the first building block - you believe in Him. But in order to get close to Him, you must come to Him and seek Him.

How can you be close to someone you have no knowledge of? How did you come to love your mother except through regular interaction, love and open communication? God loves you and He would love nothing more than to get closer to you. But in order for that to happen, you must get closer to Him. You must study the Bible, attend church services to hear sermons (or download them to your Ipod), pray, spend time with God and think about all that you have learned - what the Bible says about Him, what the preacher said and what you have learned through your own interactions with Him.

God will love you no matter what - but it is your responsibility to learn more about Him to enable you to truly get closer to Him.

Jan said...

Right on the money! So many things you mention are true... I spend a lot of time thinking about how I want to be closer to God, but never wholeheartedly taking the steps to do so; not allowing Him to be first in my life. I've become known for putting him off, praying at the last part of the day (when I'm sleepy). God hasn't been number one, and my actions don't match my desires. I'm glad I came accross this page. It's funny, I'm just coming home from choir practice (it was wonderful by the way) and I just felt so joyful and I was feeling like I needed to go and talk to God. I ended up reasoning with myself... telling myself that I'd just surf the internet instead, then pray to God right before I go to bed. Oddly enough, I just decieded to google "getting closer to God" and I clicked on the first link, it lead me here. It must have been God.

jan said...

Hi, it's me again... I need some spiritual insight. I use to be really devoted to God, but these past few years have proven me to be luke-warm, and weak in faith. Pride and envy are two other issues that I really struggle with. I've fallen away, and I miss God. People still see me as the Christian I use to be... just this Monday, one of my coworkers told me that it seems to him that "I don't sin as much as everyone else". He couldn't be more wrong. I'm struggling, I really am. I'm so fake, and such a hypocrite. I feel deep inside that there are certain people that God wants me to talk to, but I'm so messed up in my own spirit and so selfish that I just don't... What should I do? How do I get out of this pit? How do I get back in right standing with my Father?

Tweety said...

after reading this article it made me realize so many things ,am not alone and God will always be there for me no matter what ,i love my God and will always praise his name,he did wonders for me,i hurt my ex-boyfriend with so many things,he even ended up hating me in a way,but the funny thing is i knew he is a good man ,but becouse i let Satan steal my happines i ended up losing him,i prayed with faith to my God to bring him back in my life and he just did and now taht i ahve he just doesn't believe in pre marital sex and am scared to lose him but then again i need to put God first,pls pray for me guys i really need your hepl

Dolla_one said...

Firs of all thank very much for the wonderful messages you delivered. iam a boy of 20years, this year i want to be focus and get closer to God also to sick for God Present and favour, but i dont know where to start from can you please tell me how to begin? God Bless, Mikel.

Aaron Halvorson said...

That's good stuff. After reading it I thought that most of it should have been incredibly obvious to someone who has been a Christian nearly their entire life. It is unfortunate how much common sense is lost sitting in a church pew every Sunday. I always thought that a formula such as praying to God 5 times a day wasn't the answer to getting closer to God, but I have never thought of it in these incredibly simple terms.

I know that sounds stupid. But I have read the entire Bible and never came to the conclusion "God Likes to Talk." I've never heard that in a sermon either. It's both incredibly simple and incredibly profound.

I've spent a lot of time wondering why God doesn't seem to talk to me and not enough time realizing He probably actually wants to.

Sonya C. Triggs said...

Aaron:

Thank you for your wonderful comment. It was so great, I posted a new article to address it. You can find it here: Talking to God
God Bless!

Divine Elements said...

Thank you Sonya for that wonderful article. I don't think that people realize (me included) that when we spend all of our time talking at God instead of listening to what He has to say that we are missing out on a ton of knowledge and wisdom.

Anonymous said...

nice practical advice thank you and keep up the good work

Qute Claudie said...

Am blessed...I have a group of getting closer to God in facebook and when I was browsing I came across this article am really blessed and God bless you so much Could link it to my group in facebook?

Qute

DesperateNaijaWoman said...

I know you wrote this in 2006 but here I am in 2009 needing to hear these exact words. So simply put.

I identity with another commentator. I too know that I look all good on the outside but God and I know what's really going on. And the root cause of all this is my not spending enough time with God, just talking to Him. TODAY, I had a real light bulb moment. I was taking God for granted and playing with my eternal life. Not anymore by His grace. Not anymore. Thank you. And Glory to God for making me click on this link!

Henry Charles Windham said...

I agree with your article. I just wanted to say to those without a Church home that the Church was God's idea is is His bride.

Alexis said...

Hello first I would like to thank god for letting me see this message. It was very touching to my heart and I ask god to keep you moving further in a good well direction in what you are teaching out here. My realationship is not 100 perect with god always becouse of the destractions out here in todays world. I wont to fully know my lord and worship my father in everyway that he can use me. But my qustion is I do right all the time and way is it that people try to use you or take your nices in a nother way? Thank you and god bless you always!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your insight. I have found a resource for weekly devotionals targeted specifically to getting closer to God. You can sign up for them for free at http://www.drawingcloser.org . I hope that you can benefit from these weekly devotionals as much as I have!

Lisa said...

This is a really nice article, Sonya.

I really want to get close to God. I am finding it so hard to because my life is busy and I don't find much spare time to talk to God. When I'm at work my mind is on the job, and when I'm at uni my mind is on my studies. I'm finding that I'm unhappy without God in my life. I always want to go to church for the Sabbath and talk to God because I love Him so much, but it is so difficult. I'm not happy being busy. I just want to live my life for God, and it is so hard. I want to find God and be close to Him. Please pray for me, and please tell me how I can achieve this. Your article has made me more determined to find God. Thank you so much!

Anonymous said...

ok im going to be straight up honest here. I'm a christian and i have time and time again looked at porn. I'm trying to stop, but it's such a great temptation. I think that if i get closer to god, then maybe i could find the strength to resist the devil's temptation.I'm also trying to study god's word.
PLEASE PRAY FOR ME.
I would greatly apreciate it. Thank you for reading and have a wonderful day and i hope to see you in heaven some day.
PLEASE PRAY FOR ME.
-Jason

john said...

i prayed for you guys,who asked.
time is of no matter for god so im sure he got them.
i been looking into god very deep after a few years of lost faith.
i started to look into science about the big bang.
i think that after looking into black holes and all that the multiverse is,nde-s god is the only answer.
i had doubt and praise my creator, he has shown my mind how to be at ease in the concepts of time ect.
i know god loves me and im glad to have him back,

to get closer to him i feel like you need to talk to him everyday and he will make things known when the time is right. i am feeling brand new in god and i cry alot. tears of amazment.i feel like if you really want to be close to god your life will start to change because your always thinking of him and its easier to live for him. only i am not one to give advice as i said im brand new in christ.
i ask for your prayers to stop smoking and hate to understand gods word aswell as live it. thanks jimmy

CaityC said...

Thank you God for bringing me to this blog. I know that sounds silly but I was having an off day and feeling really confused about my relationship with God and this helped. I know HE showed it to me. Thanks, Sonya, for sharing. What a blessing :)

RK in Denver said...

One thing that a friend shared with me long ago, that helped me a lot (even though it sounds weird), is this: Don't forget that God is a telepath! He can speak to you, and you to Him, directly from mind to mind. You don't need to hear a physical voice, or speak physical words, to communicate with Him. He is outside of time and unbounded by space.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much Sonya for this article. Am glad to read it and with the enlightenment i hope to closer now and always. Samuel Azong from Ghana

Anonymous said...

Im feeling really lost and sad at the moment. I feel like i dont know myself or God. I want to know him and i want to feel like i have a destiny. Im currently having problems with my partner who tells me he needs space to think about whether he wants to be with me. When I asked him if he still loves me he said yes but is sick of the drama. And rightfully so because i have not been the best girlfriend. I want to turn to God and I pray for him to help heal the pain and if we are meant to be then guide my boyfriend back to me. I have made a lot of mistakes and done things i am not proud of. Im feeling lost, confused, and heartbroken. I feel like my life is heading nowhere. I want to feel a sense of purpose and love from God and my boyfriend. Can anyone help?

Sarah Grace said...

Great article! This was spot on with a free e-book that I just read. It went into depth on some of the very same topics. Reading it helped me get a lot closer to God. I have struggled many years finding peace in my life and after using some of these same principles, I have truly found peace and comfort and power from HIM. The link to get the free e-book is... http://www.drawingcloser.org/freebook.htm

Anonymous said...

I need to get closer to God if not I will eventually loose my family,

Anonymous said...

Hey, really good article. Please can I use your article to do a Bible Study?