Having a relationship with God!

Posted: December 7, 2011 by Nathan in What Next...

Getting the right perspective.

Many people at times fall into the trap of confusing knowing God and knowing about God. I know I’ve done it – thought I’d been getting to know God better and yet all I was doing was learning more about Him.  I even went off to Bible College with the aim of getting to know God better only to find out it was all about learning about Him and what others have said about him.  However the two things are very much interlinked. I know a little about Australia, I don’t know it at all as I’ve never been there.  However, if I were to go there I would increase my knowledge about it before I went in order to make the most of getting to know it whilst there.  What I mean is I would read up about Australia before I went to make sure I saw the best sites, visited a good range of places and saw all that I wanted to see. Likewise with God we know about Him before we know Him.  We read His word, talk to people who know Him, we are taught by our churches about Him before we get to know Him.

Getting to know about God is a lot easier than getting to know God. Getting to know about God is a case of learning, getting to know God is a case of relationship.

Knowing about God

It’s good to get to know a little about God before we attempt to get to know Him.  Why is this important? Forming a relationship with God is not the easiest thing you will do – after all relationships are difficult things. The more we know about God the easier we will find it to know Him.  If I were expecting an important business call from someone on the other side of the world I would want to know as much about this person as possible. I wouldn’t want to be thrown by them not speaking English or being an intern when I was expecting the boss.  The Bible shows us how God communicates. 1 Kings 19:11-13 tell us that God didn’t speak in the earthquake or the fire but in a gentle voice. If we do not know about God we may assume that he will speak to us in one way and miss the other ways in which he speaks.

Knowing God

As I said before, knowing God is about relationship. So how do you build relationship and is building a relationship with God any different from building one with those around us?

Keys to building relationship

1. Contact

Let’s face it it’s pretty difficult to form a relationship without contact.  It doesn’t have to be face-to-face, though that may help. The same is true with God we can’t start to form a relationship with Him unless we have contact with Him, spend time in His presence.

2. Communication

One of the main things that will help a relationship grow is good communication. With God that is done through talking to Him and listening to Him.  It’s what we call prayer and is a vital part of getting to know God.  It isn’t easy and takes some getting used to, but is worth persevering with.

3. Common ground

In most relationships that flourish there is an element of common ground.  You talk about things that interest each of you and discuss things that are important to you.  With God it is no different.  A lot of the common ground that you share is you.  God loves you and is very interested in you, what you think and how you are feeling.  God wants to know about you even more than you want to know about God.  God created you and knows all about you yet loves to hear you talk about yourself, what your worries are and what you like to do.

4. Commitment

With humans one of the ultimate signs that a relationship is going well is to commit to each other.  With a male/female relationship this commitment may take the form of getting married.  It’s a sign that both people make to show their commitment. God is wholly committed to you, so much so that He sent His Son to die for you so that you may be reconciled back to Him.  God longs for us to be committed to Him. He know our hearts and knows when we are committed to Him, but we might make an outward sign of commitment to Him by being baptised or confirmed or giving a public declaration of faith.

5. Continuity

If we had a friend who visited us every day for weeks on end and then one day just stopped coming round we’d think something was wrong. So it is with God.  He is constantly their for us but we tend to blow hot or cold.   We go through good stages where we seek him regularly but then life crowds in and we forget about him, our prayer life falters and our bible gathers dust. We need to try and be consistent in our relationship with God.

6. Compromise

In order for most serious relationships to work there needs to be some level of compromise.  Many of us like to get our own way but in relationship with others something has to give. I remember in the first few months of our relationship my wife and I had to work out what areas of our lives needed compromise. It wasn’t the easiest of things to do but we know that to work as a couple there were areas of our individual lives that we needed to change. This sounds very heavy but all I mean is that, for example, spending time with each other meant spending less time with our own friends.  We both wanted to spend time together and in order to do that we had to compromise in the times we saw others.  It wasn’t a big deal but for the relationship to work it had to be done.

With God the compromise is slightly different and can come across as slightly unfair but it is anything but that.   God is perfect, all His ways are good and just. He is all powerful and all knowing and all loving. He made the ultimate compromise in sending His son to die for all the wrong we have ever done and will ever do. Now it is our turn to respond. We have to remember that God always has our interests at heart.  Any changes in our lives that he wants us to make are for the good of ourselves.  God loves and accepts us just the way we are but for our own good He doesn’t want us to stay that way. If we want a good relationship with God there are changes in our lives that we will need to make. If you kept giving sound advice to a friend who constantly ignored it you would still love them but it wouldn’t do much to enhance your relationship.

Through all of the above we can begin to develop a relationship of love with God. It takes time and effort on our part.  It is an ever changing journey that will continue for the rest of your life.  It will, of course, have it’s ups and downs.  You will have days when you think you’ve cracked it and days when you feel like your right back at the very beginning.

So How does this Relationship Start?

Any relationship has to have a firm foundation or BASE!

B Believe in God and what the Bible states about Him, that He is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe and that He came to earth in human form as Jesus.

Genesis chapter 1 verse 1

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

John 3: 16

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Romans 10:9

That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

A  Accept what God has freely offered you – forgiveness of all your wrongdoings and eternal life through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 2:8-9

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not by yourselves, it is the gift of God – not through works, so no-one can boast.

S Switch to following God’s pathway for your life

Ephesians 5: 8-9

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of Light. (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth.)

E Entrust your life to Jesus Christ and His direction.

Colossians 2: 6-7

So, then, just as you received Jesus Christ as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted  and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught and overflowing with thankfulness.

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Comments
  1. I agree – having a real relationship with God means a lot of walking and talking, constant communication with Him. I am always excited by how He shows His presence. His mercies are new every morning! Thanks so much for linking up today, hope to see you next Wednesday!

  2. Cheryl says:

    Found you over at Cooking Up Faith, I remember hearing this idea likened to a famous person, Queen Elizabeth, I know who she is, I could point her out to you, I may even know some details of her life, but I don’t KNOW her. Such an important thing to REALLY know Him!

  3. owen howlett says:

    I’d like to hear a little more about how this two-way communication works; since God doesn’t actually speak to you (unless you’re a televangelist!), what form does God’s communication take? The way I understand it, prayer is a form of meditation, I.e., through prayer you take the time to notice things, see the world differently, and see how your attention is directed toward the world around you. Comments…?

    • Nathan says:

      Hi Owen – it’s a good question. I believe God can speak to people in an audible voice. I’ve never experienced it but a good friend who is now dead had that experience. She was one of the most Godly women I’ve met. She spent most of her life as a missionary in India/Nepal. I respected her greatly and she said that once, just once in over ninety years, God had spoken to her in an audible voice. She was going with her husband to view a large house with a view to it being the base for a missionary society. As they drove up the drive she saw this huge Victorian House with gargoyles etc. and she there is no way we’re basing ourselves hear. It was then that God said in an audible voice something along the lines of “If you want to follow my will you will!”. The missionary society has been there ever since. However, although I fully believe her, I’ve never heard of anyone else hearing an audible voice so, as I said, I believe it is possible, but it is not at all usual.

      I can only really speak from my experience with certainty. I would say the main way God speaks is through His word. The Bible is part of this two-way communication. God has not only inspired it to be written but continues to illuminate it through His spirit today. I believe God had brought to mind various passages within the Bible at appropriate times to guide me. One specific occasion that this happened was when I’d gone away to think over a particular issue and a Bible verse had popped into my head (as the book and chapter, not the words). I had looked it up and it fitted perfectly with what I was thinking about. Later that day a friend had texted to say she had been praying and a verse had come to her. She said she felt foolish as it was a bit of a weird verse but wanted to pass it one. When i looked it up it was from a completely different part of the Bible but said almost the same thing as the verse that I had been given earlier. Now, you could, of course, put that down to coincidence, but I have found that when I pray and seek God’s input these coincidences happen time and time again.

      Another way God speaks is through circumstances. About 6 years ago we were living in a shared house. We lived upstairs and an elderly lady lived downstairs. We kept an eye on her for a reduction in our rent. Our eldest had just started crawling and we found ourselves both working from home. Suddenly our accommodation felt very small. We wondered if we should move and decided to go away on retreat for the weekend to seek God and His will on the matter. We both came away from the retreat feeling (no more than a gut feeling, I guess) that God was wanting us to move but that He would confirm it somehow. We arrived back on the Sunday and completely out of the blue on Tuesday morning we got a letter from the lady downstairs’ daughter asking us to move out.

      There are many smaller ways I believe God speaks to us. Just as our earthly relationship have many different ways of speaking God speaks through blogs, nature, feelings, events, other people etc. One of the difficult things for me is distinguishing what it is God is saying or what is God and what is me. I have just found that when I put the time in – when i do spend quality time seeking God it is then that things happen that I sense His guiding, that He directs me in paths that I see in retrospect were the right ones for me to take.

      I hope that helps but do come back at me. It is not an easy subject and not one that I’m an expert in and as I say I can only really speak out of my experiences, others may have a very different way they hear God.

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