In today’s society, a relationship with God seems inconsequential to the majority of the world. We could blame it on the millennials like most everything else is now, but I don’t believe that’s accurate. That’s like blaming the long hair hippies for everything in the 60’s.
A 2017 Gallop poll showed that in 2001 90% of people believed in God and it decreased to 64% in 2017. I’m not sure of the accuracy of the poll but the numbers seem very possible. Just believing in God though is NOT a relationship. It takes much more than just belief to develop, nurture and maintain our relationship with God! That is a fulltime responsibility of ours! It’s not God’s responsibility to cultivate a relationship with us ! God does not need anything from us so what is He looking for in a relationship with us?
You cannot inherit your relationship with God from your parents nor anyone else. Your relationship is very personal. The first step is believing God is the Lord God almighty. Then we can only begin our relationship with God through a relationship with Christ. John 14:5 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Notice Christ did not tell us that religion is the way to God but rather He Himself. It’s necessary to confess Christ is the Son of God and our Lord and Savior. For me, the next step is to commit to Christ through baptism.
Ok, now I have confessed my faith in God and Christ and been baptized so I have done all that’s necessary for my relationship with God. No, that’s like saying to your spouse we’ve been through the marriage ceremony, so we have a relationship. No, you’ve started one that takes love, care and nurturing. What do I have to do to nurture my relationship with God?
The answer to that question is found in the Scriptures so study becomes a major commitment to nurture the relationship. Can’t I just go to church for the knowledge needed? No, church is a guide only to the Bible. Remember your relationship with Him is through Christ only so study.
What’s next? Prayer, communication is essential. God loves you and wants to hear from you. Philippians 4:6 ESV –“ do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
Is there anything else? Of course, but your relationship is not with me so study about being obedient to God’s commands, discover what gifts He gave you so you can serve Him, learn how you are to worship Him and how to conduct your life.
God has blessed us in many different ways. He wants us to be thankful! He wants our praise and thanksgiving especially for Christ and His sacrifice.
There is much more that could be said about nurturing our relationship with God so study and pray. Realize that God wants us to completely surrender to Him! II Timothy 2:15 –“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”
Be aware that Satan is not happy with your efforts to cultivate your relationship with God. He’ll stop at nothing to discourage you! 1 Peter 5:8, ESV: "Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." Don’t let that someone be you!
F. LaGard Smith writes in Meeting God in Quiet Places, about the rich young ruler: “What Jesus undoubtedly saw was a heart that was unwilling to completely surrender to God. Whether possessions, career, or perhaps some relationship, something would always stand in his way. But for the fully surrendered heart, no sacrifice is too great.”
“Surrendering to God is the most difficult decision we will ever make. The prophet Joel reminds us that we are not alone when we face the moment of choosing: ‘Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.” What Joel really means is that most of us live an entire life in the valley of indecision. To surrender or not to surrender that is the ultimate question of life!”
“Through His complete surrender on the cross, Jesus has already grasped the nettle for us. He has taken away the sting of death. All we need to do is to put our hand in His—to feel softness of His love and never let go!”
It’s never too late to start and cultivate your relationship with God! If you would like a study partner, there are a number of people at Southside that will welcome the opportunity!
Meeting God in Quest Places – F. LaGard Smith – 1992 – Harvest House Publishers – Used by permission