How can we develop a close relationship with God?
One of the main factors of belief that distinguishes Christianity from many other religions, is the believe that YAVH is god of nearness.
Isaiah prophesies about the birth of a son who will be named Immanuel. He was not to be mistaken for a demi od, No he was actually God.
The prologue in John 1 verse 1 to 18, expostulates any thought that sees Jesus Christ not as God.
In verse 1 we read that he is the Eternal world and he was God from before the beginning.
Creation is ascribed to him in verse 3. Life and light were hidden and has now become revealed through him, but the world that he has come to deliver from darkness has failed to lay hold of this marvelous light
He took on flesh and fulfilled the prophetic utterance of Isaiah, as he made his Tabernacle among men and His glory was see Seen by them.
In concluding his discourse John States in verse 18.
No one has ever seen God, but the one and only son who is himself God, and is in closest relationship with the father has made him known.
First way: Draw near to God Is by praying
I know you have heard this a million times, but there is no substitute for prayer. If you want to develop a close relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, you must pray. And when decide I am going to pray, the devil will fight you like never before. He will try everything to ensure you are not able to pray. In the Simplicity of words, the psalmist raised him Psalm 69 Verse 18: draw near to my soul redeem me. This doesn’t need to be done with any elephants of lips or flamboyance of words.
God isn’t interested in education when it comes to praying.
All we need to do is to recognize our need for God and humbly ask him to draw near to us.
God is concerned with the condition of our hearts. Come before him humbly.
Second chronicles 7 verse 14: “If my people which are called by my name shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their Wicked Ways then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land”.
He doesn’t desire to be aloof and a far-off.
He is a god of intimacy and wants to come near. We are told that if we ask anything of the Father by faith, we will receive it.
God’s ears are tuned to us when we come and acknowledge our need of him, and our desire for him to invade our space.
The truth is, he is standing at the heart door of the Christian waiting to be let in.
Revelation 3 verse 20: “here I am I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person and they with me”.
Before we pray he a standing there. He has presented himself and is waiting for us to ask him to come in.
Richard Foster declares: “your prayer must be turned inwards not towards a God or heaven or towards a god far off but towards God who is closer to you than you are aware”.
The truth, is that YHVH is closer than we often think and is more accessible than we believe.
James extols us come near to God and he will come near to you.
If we do not experience the intimacy that we desire with God, he is not at fault, we are. Draw near to me and I will draw near to you.
Second way: Sincere hearts and Faith
Hebrew 10:22 “Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that Faith brings having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water”.
The author of this Opus of the Christian scriptures, says no one can come to God without first believing that he is and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him diligently. Every attempt to draw near to God must come from a sincere heart.
God will not be mocked with pretends. He is not swooned by words that are betrayed by insincerity in our hearts.
It is best to cry out of the desperation of our hearts longing for God, than to approach him simply to appease some ritual faith. A dry heart that is thirsting for God will be quenched, an empty heart that hungers for God will Find it full. The author says we must have our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience. This is an acceptance of the sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ, which has redeemed and liberated us. When we approach god with the full Assurance of faith we will get the intimacy we desire.
Third way: Worship with heart and mind
It is simply not enough to know about God.
We must know God in increasing levels of intimacy that lifts us up above all reason, and into the world of adoration and praise and worship.
After we have opened our hearts and allowed Jesus to come in, we would have cleansed it through humility, sincerity, and faith that the sprinkled blood of Jesus has released us from a guilty conscience.
The next thing to do is to close the door of our hearts and dine with Jesus. Worship gives us that experience.
God is seeking persons who would know Know that closeness to him is not connected to any geographical or astronomical location.
He is searching for persons, who would approach him to adore him and to allow his Shekinah to invade their reality.
This only happens when we close the door of our hearts with Jesus on the inside, and allow all that we do to be about the pleasure of the audience of one.
Worship is not about the songs we sing or the things we say. YAVH claims that, these people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their heart are far away from me.
Their worship of me is based on merely human rules.
They have been taught:
Isaiah 29 verse 13. “God is not interested in well rehearse doxologies that are filled with words but empty because the heart is not in the right place”.
How do we engage God on this level of intimacy and worship ? Foster quotes William Tempo are saying: “To worship is to quicken the conscience by the Holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God”.
Fourth way: Embrace God’s truth
All that we do to get close to God must be done in tandem with the study of the word of God.
The Bible is literally the revelation of God to his people about who he is.
We cannot know God without engaging him through his word.
All scripture is god-breathed, and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.
So that the servant of God may be thoroughly. the equipped for every good work. 2nd Timothy 3 verse 16: “We cannot take any shortcuts and try to avoid studying the word of God. How intimate are lovers if they do not Embrace to the point of breathing the breath of the other the scriptures are God breathed in the same way”.
We must to yearn to inhale the Breath of God deposited in his word.
We must find our delight in the truths revealed in God’s worth and in so doing we will find the closeness we desire.