The Bible says, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8). As believers in God, we all know that building a normal relationship with God in order to get closer to God and receive more of the Holy Spirit’s work is crucial. In the fast-paced modern life, however, busy jobs, complicated relationships and evil social trends draw us in and occupy our hearts more and more, and they prevent us from quieting ourselves before God. This causes our relationship with God to become ever more distant and causes us to often feel empty and agitated in the depths of our souls. So how exactly can we establish a proper relationship with God and become closer to God? This is a very important issue put in front of each believer. Actually, we need only to grasp the three aspects below, and our relationship with God will grow closer.
1. Withdraw our hearts from outside people, events, and things, often quiet ourselves before God and commune with Him.
Praying is an important way for us to communicate with God. But in our real lives, because we are tightly bound by children, housework and work, carrying a heavy burden, we often find no time to pray, or just go through the motions in prayer, not meaning what we say. Thus, our relationship with God becomes increasingly distant. Really, praying isn’t necessarily about how much we say or how long we pray. Rather, it only requires us to quiet our hearts before God, say to Him what is in our hearts, tell Him of our difficulties and deficiencies, and open our hearts to Him about our actions. Even if we only utter a few such prayers, we’ll feel that our relationship with God is very intimate, as though we are face-to-face with Him. I remember two passages of God’s words, “First, begin from the aspect of prayer. Pray with undivided attention and at fixed times. No matter how pressed you are for time, how busy your work, or what befalls you, pray every day as normal, and eat and drink God’s words as normal. As long as you eat and drink God’s words, no matter what your surroundings are, you will have great enjoyment in your spirit, and you will be undisturbed by the people, events, or things around you. When you normally contemplate God in your heart, what goes on outside cannot bother you. This is what it means to possess stature.” “When you are able to give your heart to God, you will be able to perceive every subtle moving within your spirit, and you will know every enlightenment and illumination received from God. Hold onto this, and you will gradually enter into the path of being perfected by the Holy Spirit. The quieter your heart can be before God, the more sensitive and delicate your spirit will be, and the more your spirit will be able to perceive the moving of the Holy Spirit, and then your relationship with God will become more and more proper.”
If we wish to become closer to God, we need to frequently come before God in prayer, and give our hearts to Him. Whether it be at gatherings or during spiritual devotion, or when we are walking down the street or sitting on the bus or at work, we shouldin our hearts or give thought to God’s love. Unknowingly, our hearts can then become quiet before God even more, and we’ll understand more of God’s will. In this way, our relationship with God will be closer. Moreover, when we give our hearts to God, we’ll be able to obtain more work of the Holy Spirit, and observe some spiritual matters; we’ll be able to be aware of the corruption we are revealing, and immediately pray to God in repentance so that we won’t distance ourselves from God. For example, as we are talking with others and begin to become unconventional, once we realize this, we should hurriedly pray to God silently, “O God, I’m reckless and I’m following my flesh. Doing this isn’t appropriate. I feel indebted to You.” From the outside, we don’t say these things, but we pray to God in our hearts, and our hearts don’t leave God. Only thus can we guarantee that we’ll live before God and build a proper relationship with Him.
2. Often read and fellowship about God’s words, and put the truth into practice.
The Lord’s words, as we all know, are the lamplight before us, and the light on the road, and they are even more the direction and goal for our actions and are walking-sticks on our spiritual road. When we are mocked and slandered by the world for believing in God, and feel wronged and in pain, God’s words comfort and encourage us so that we become determined to take up the cross and follow God. When we meet difficulties and feel weak and negative, through reading God’s words, we become firm and courageous, have the faith to overcome the difficulties and carry forward by relying on God. When we face Satan’s temptation, through reading God’s words, we see through Satan’s tricks and avoid its test, which halts our tendency to sin. And so on. All of this results from reading God’s words. God’s words are the spiritual food that gives us life. As long as we read more of God’s utterances and fellowship about them, we will gradually come to understand God’s will and have a path of practice in all things, and when we practice according to God’s words, we’ll gain God’s approval and have a closer and closer relationship with God.
God said, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” (John 6:51). Another passage of God’s words says, “Only by building on the foundation of eating and drinking, and thereby coming to know Him and to satisfy Him, can one gradually build a proper relationship with Him. Eating and drinking God’s word and putting it into practice is for man the best way of collaborating with God, and it is the kind of practice that they can best stand firm in their testimony as His people.” We can see from these words that often quieting before God and reading God’s words are of great importance, and that this is the best path of gaining the Holy Spirit’s work and of life progression. God’s will and requirements for us are all in God’s words, so only by reading more of God’s words and pondering them more can we gain some illumination, understand God’s intentions, and find the path of practice in the things we encounter. The more we practice in accordance with God’s will, the more relaxed we will feel in our hearts, and the closer our relationship with God will become. Therefore, frequently reading God’s words and practicing them is one aspect of practice for us to grow even closer to God.
3. Rectify our motives in all things, and accept God’s observation.
God’s words say, “All that you do, every action, every intent, and every reaction must be brought before God. Even your daily spiritual life—your prayers, your closeness with God, eating and drinking of God’s words, fellowship with your brothers and sisters, living the life of the church, and your service in partnership—must be brought before God and observed by Him. It is such practice that will help you mature in life. The process of accepting God’s observation is the process of purification. The more you accept God’s observation, the more you are purified, and the more you are in accord with God’s will, so that you will not hear the call of debauchery and dissipation, and your heart will live in His presence. The more you accept His observation, the more ashamed Satan is and the more you are able to forsake the flesh. So, the acceptance of God’s observation is a path people must practice.”
From this, we can see that whatever we do or say, if we can bring it before God and accept His scrutiny, then we’ll easily forsake our flesh and practice the truth to satisfy God. Accepting God’s observation in all things is the best practice of achieving growth in life, changing our disposition and gaining the truth, and it is also an indispensable path to living before God and being obtained by God. Therefore, our thoughts and minds, motives, every word, every act, every movement, and our daily spiritual life—our prayers, reading God’s words, closeness with God, fellowship with our brothers and sisters, practicing the truth and performing our duties—should be brought before God and be subject to His observation. This will help us betray our flesh and practice the truth, and achieve obedience to God. Whoever has had such an experience has these realizations: When we accept God’s observation, we’ll have the strength to forsake our flesh and practice the truth—despite suffering physically, we are willing to put the truth into practice to satisfy God; when we accept God’s scrutiny, we dare not do things as we prefer or according to our own will, but rather seek God’s intentions and act in accordance with God’s requirements; only when we accept God’s inspection can we understand and enter into the truth, and gradually come to know God’s disposition; only by accepting God’s scrutiny can we be purified by God’s words, and obtain God’s blessings and protection. For instance, when we try to deceive and cheat and are unwilling to lay ourselves bare, if we accept God’s observation, we’ll realize that God is almighty and inspects everything, and God sees with the utmost clarity our actions and deeds, thoughts and ideas, and that if we stubbornly follow our flesh at the time, we’ll be cheating God, be detested by God, and fall into Satan’s scheme. After realizing this, we’ll find the strength to betray our flesh and are willing to practice the truth to satisfy God; we won’t deceive or lie but will have the courage to open ourselves up and be honest to humiliate Satan. After we practice this, we’ll enjoy more work of the Holy Spirit and live before God.
The above are the three paths of practice for growing closer to God. As long as we act in accordance with these paths, we’ll then get much closer to God, our relationship with God will become better and better, and God will bestow on us peace and joy and will enable us to live in His blessings.
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