By Qingxin 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. First, 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 should pray to God in 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. Second, 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…
“If you wish to achieve a proper spiritual life and establish a proper relationship with God, you must first give your heart to Him, and quiet your heart before Him.”
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People feel that they are only able to transform during their church life, and that transformation is not possible outside of church life, that they are unable to achieve transformation in their real life. Can you recognize what the issue is? I used to talk about bringing God into real life, and this is the path for those believing in God to enter into the reality of God’s words. In fact, church life is only a limited way to perfect men. The primary environment for perfecting men remains to be real life. This is the actual practice and actual training that I talked about, which allows men to achieve a life of normal humanity and to live out the likeness of a real man during everyday life. One must first learn to be cultured in order to elevate his own cultural quality, to be able to understand God’s words, to have the capability to understand. On the other hand, one must be equipped with the basic knowledge required to live as a man, so as to achieve the insight and sense of normal humanity, because men have almost none in regard to these areas. Furthermore, one must also come to savor God’s words through church life, and gradually come to have a clear understanding of the truth. Why is it said that, in believing in God, one must bring God into real life? Not only could the church life transform man, but more importantly, man should enter into reality in real life. You used to always talk about your spiritual state and spiritual matters, while neglecting training in many things, as well as neglecting your entry into them. You wrote every day, you listened every day, and you read every day. You prayed when you were cooking: “Oh God! May You become my life within me. How should I pass this day? Please bless me, enlighten me. If You must enlighten me today, please let me achieve such understanding in this moment, so that I can have Your words as my life.” You prayed when you were eating dinner: “Oh God! You have bestowed on us this meal. I wish that You would bless us, amen. Please allow us to rely on You for our lives. May You be with us. Amen.” After you finished your dinner, when you were washing the dishes, you started rambling again: “Oh God, I am this bowl. After this bowl has been used, it has become like us, corrupted by Satan, and now it must be washed with water, and You are the water, Your words are the living water that provides for my life.” After having said that, when it was time for bed, you started rambling again: “Oh God! You have blessed me and guided me through the day. I am truly grateful to You….” This was how you passed your day and entered into your slumber. Most people lived like this every day, and even until now, they have not paid attention to entry in real life, they only focus on paying lip service in their prayers. This is the life of men from before, this is the old lives of men. Most people are like this, without any actual training, and they have very few actual transformations. They only pay lip service in their prayers, approaching God through their words, lacking transformations in understanding. Let us take the simplest example, tidying your home. You see that your home is messy, so you sit there and pray: “Oh God! Look at the corruption that Satan has wrought on this home. Oh God! I praise and thank You. I am just as dirty as this home, and without Your salvation and enlightenment, I would not have realized this fact.” You only sit there and ramble on, praying for a long time, then you act as if nothing has happened, behaving like a rambling old woman. You live your spiritual life this way, without any true entry into reality, doing so many superficial things. In the practice of entry into reality, it involves men’s real life, it involves men’s difficulties in reality, and that is how men can be transformed. Without real life, men cannot be transformed, and what then is the use of paying lip service in their prayers? Without understanding the nature of men, everything is a waste of time, and without a path for practice, everything is a waste of effort! Proper prayers can maintain the normal condition within man, but they cannot completely transform man. Man is able to understand his own arrogance, conceit, hubris, and to understand his corrupt disposition, such things are not achieved through prayers, but they are discovered through savoring God’s words, they are attained through enlightenment by the Holy Spirit in real life. People nowadays are all able to speak well, and they have heard the loftiest way, loftier than any others through the ages, yet very little of it is actually implemented in their real life. That is to say, in their real life, there is no God, and it is lacking the life of a new man after being transformed. There is no living out the truth in real life, there is no bringing God into real life. Men’s life is lived as if they are the sons of hell. Is this not an obvious deviation? In order to restore the likeness of a normal man, that is, to return to normal humanity, you cannot achieve this by merely pleasing God with your words. You are harming yourself by doing so, and it gives no benefits for your entry and transformation. Therefore, to attain transformation, men must practice little by little, enter slowly, seek and explore bit by bit, enter from the positive, and live a practical life of truth, a life of the saints. From now on, it involves real matters, real things, real environments, allowing men to practice within reality. It does not require men to pay any lip service, instead it requires practice in real environments….