If I were to move in with a man and call him my husband through marriage – does that qualify a good relationship? What if I were to carry on as if I was not a married woman? If I never talked to him? Never did things with him? We can see how unhealthy these behaviors and mindset would be, yet this is what many are doing in their faith in Christ. They may live under the same roof (or believe in all that the faith contains), follow what is right in practice such as attend meetings with one another, share with others about the faith and even take part in the ordinances. Much like a woman who may live under the same roof as her husband, cook clean and speak kindly about him – yet still not know or have intimate relationship with him. Similarly this is how many relate with God where there is disconnect, believing in Jesus but living as if He was not there.
Practically, there are certain things we must exercise in order to develop our relationship with God. But even before this, we must first take what Jesus has done for us, in dying on the cross to be for us – accept it and receive Him into our lives as Lord and Savior. We must repent of living apart from Him and determine to live for Him. After this, we are able to establish a new relationship with the living God – this is the most wonderful and beautiful gift Salvation brings to us. Here are a few things to consider:
BELIEVE: In the case with our relationship with God, we must actually believe He is alive and personable. He is not a far off deity too busy with running the world. He longs for us to seek Him and relate to Him.
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Heb 11:6
ACKNOWLEDGE: With any healthy relationship to acknowledge one’s presence is absolutely essential. Imagine if your spouse never acknowledged you? How many do this with God? They talk about Him, learn about Him and sing about Him – but never talk to Him or ask Him about His thoughts or sing to Him. In not acknowledging God is a form of rebellion and quite serious!
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths. Prov 3:5-6
HONESTY: Honesty is key to walking with God. If we cannot be honest we will not enjoy a relationship with the Living God. We must be willing to fill Him in – on everything in our hearts. That means when we stumble – we go to Him and confess this. There is no hiding, no tucking away things for our own eyes/ears and certainly no lying. God sees everything anyways and we are foolish to think we can do these things. But when we walk with a heart that is honest to share all of it with Him, God is able to join us and share with us His grace, when we experience His grace – we experience Him.
This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. 1 John 1:5-10
COMMITMENT: To commit ourselves to God means we are ‘all in’ which means no half heartily, when I feel like it kind of stuff. Commitment always involves sacrifices.
CONSISTENCY: Once we commit, we then are consistent. Often, God is given a few minutes a day where there is prayer and scripture reading and go on to the rest of the day without Him. Consistency means we live by and according to what/who we profess to believe and love. If we say we love God and do not include Him in every moment of every day, we are not consistent to what we profess to believe.
RESPECT: Expressing honor and esteem to God in our day to day life privately and publicly is to respect Him. Our conduct is careful to not bring shame to His name and we quickly stand for Him when the moments arise. We make it our diligence to NOT participate in anything that would harm our relationship or dishonor His name.
It is terribly sad that many who profess Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior are without relationship with Him. He is not alive experientially in their own lives because they have not yet included Him. God makes Himself known, to any and all who want to know Him. It is to our own benefit and spiritual well-being that we make every effort to know Jesus and He us, and this can only be done through true relationship.
Jesus spoke of a day that will come to many, who claim they were His. They remind Jesus that they did work for Him, but He gives them terrible news: ‘I never knew you!’
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Matt 7:21-23
God has made a way for us to have relationship with Him because it is His desire. Through Jesus, we have been given the way. If this is yet an unknown or neglected territory, begin a journey to learn what this means. As you draw near to God in truth He will draw near to you, and when He does you will gladly give up the things that have kept you from Him and only gain strength and more love for Him as you do!
24 But let him who glories glory in this,
That he understands and knows Me,
That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.
For in these I delight,” says the Lord. Jer 9:24