If you are wondering how to develop a relationship with God, or ever wondered “How can I get closer to God?”, make this your go-to “start here” guide.
How would you describe your personal relationship with God? Is it where you want it to be?
Maybe you’re new to God or building a relationship with God and you’re wondering how to get started. Or maybe you’ve been around for a while, you have a relationship with God but want to know how can I get closer to God?
I can’t even count how many times I’ve asked that question of my own relationship with the Lord. Especially as a young adult in my college years and even today as a mom. There’s something about transitioning into a new season that gets us thinking about the condition of our spiritual life and wondering how to reconnect with God.
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How can I get closer to God? How can I develop a relationship with God?
Before we go into how to start a relationship with God, let’s answer another equally important question. What does it mean to have a personal relationship with God? A lot of us have knowledge of God. We believe He exists, but when it comes to a personal relationship with Him, we’re stumped.
We stumble on questions like,
Does God even want a relationship with someone like me?
Am I good enough to have a relationship with God?
How do I get in touch with God?
Can you relate?
Would you believe me if I told you were created specifically to have a relationship with God? Our relationship with God has always been an intimate one. Psalm 129:13,15-16 tells us,
For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.
My frame was not hidden from You. When I was made in secret and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed and in Your book, they all were written the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.
Before we even took our first breathe God was carefully crafting, piecing, producing, and weaving us together. That’s what the word “wrought” means in this passage. He knows us so intimately and He wants us to know Him in that same manner.
In fact, God is so set on having a relationship with us that the moment sin wedged its way in between us, He had a plan in motion to restore our relationship. If you’ve ever questioned your worth in the eyes of God, know this – He is for you.
Having a personal relationship with God is simply a way of getting to know Him intimately. When you’re developing a relationship with someone you care about you take the time to observe the things that bring them joy, the people they treasure, their perspectives, and standards. You learn what they love, what they hate, and the why behind each of those stances. The more you understand and consider those aspects of who they are, the more intimate your relationship becomes. The same is true for our relationship with God.
He already knows all there is to know about us. He wants us to take the time to discover all we can about Him. In doing so we discover the fullness of who He is; truth, love, and life.
Types of Relationships With God
A relationship with God is a dynamic one. It is described and walked out in a lot of different ways.
He is my God, I am His child.
He is my King, I am His servant.
He is my friend, I am His co-laborer.
He is my Shepherd, I am His sheep.
So much of our relationship with Him comes from understanding the various pieces of who He is and who we are in relationship to who God is. Each relationship title God has describes not just who He is but how He loves. Our relationship titles describe how we should respond to the love He’s given.
In the remainder of this post, we’re going to talk through basic steps of how to take your relationship with God deeper than its ever been before.
How to Maintain A Relationship With God
Similar to the other meaningful relationships in our lives, maintaining a relationship with God take diligence. When we stop focusing on who He is and drawing near to Him, that’s when our relationship with Him begins to weaken. God helps us guard against those types of distractions and behaviors by establishing certain disciplines and boundaries. Here are some of the disciplines and boundaries that show us how to have a good relationship with God.
- Have a Relationship With His Son (Jesus)
- Follow God’s Commandments
- Listen for God’s Voice
- Study the Bible
- Grow With Others
- Serve Others
- Share The Gospel
How Do I Have A Relationship With Jesus?
In John 4:16 Jesus says,
…I am the way, the truth, and the light. No one comes to the Father except through me.
The first step in beginning a relationship with God is choosing to walk with His Son. That requires three things of us:
- Admission. We must admit that we are sinners in need of a Savior. (see Romans 3:23)
- Belief. Believe that Jesus is the perfect Son of God who died on the cross to (and rose again) to take the penalty for our sins. (see John 3:16)
- Confess Jesus as our Lord. (see Romans 10:9-10)
According to the Bible, there is no other way to begin a relationship with God. If we want to know Him, He requires that we acknowledge His Son, who He is, and what He accomplished for us on the cross.
In an equally devoted gesture, Jesus prioritizes the mission of His Father (God). We see it in how He lived in even in how He prayed. One of my favorite Bible stories to illustrate this is found in Luke chapter 2. Jesus was twelve years old and He and his parents had gone to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast. After the celebration, the family set out to return home, but Jesus unannounced to them stayed behind. When Mary and Joseph realized they had left him they returned to Jerusalem only to find Jesus in the temple speaking among the scribes and teachers. When asked why He had stayed behind Jesus answered,
… Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?
The New King James translation says, “…Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”
If you want to know how to have a closer relationship with Jesus, start with being about His father’s business. The next six steps will help you do just that.
Follow God’s Commandments
The 10 Commandments were first introduced to The Hebrew people under Moses’ leadership. They were the rules set in place to help the people love God well and love people well. When we study the Old Testament and see the various way the Hebrews fell into different temptations and were lead away from God and the natural consequences that followed – we begin to understand why God implemented these boundaries. It wasn’t a method of control or manipulation; it was to help guide them in living righteously. God knew that sin would pollute their lives and He knew that sin would only lead to death. He wanted His people to know eternal life. John 1: 1-4
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him and without Him nothing was made. In Him was life and that life was the light of men.
God knew that deviating from what was right and holy would keep people from life and relationship with Him. This is why Jesus so plainly states in John 14:15,
If you love me, obey my commandments.
The 10 commandments are boundaries that help us protect our relationship with God.
Pray. Listen For God’s Voice.
Take time to listen for God’s voice. I know that can sound intimidating and almost a little weird. Most Christian circles address prayer from the perspective of talking to God. Equally as important though, is our willingness to hear from Him.
God will guide us if we let Him. He is constantly reaching out to us and He promises that if we draw near to Him He will draw nearer to us too. We can cultivate a deeper relationship with God through prayer.
It takes patience.
Sometimes it requires us to adopt a slower lifestyle. It’s easy to miss God’s voice when we spend our days hustling about.
It might also require us to let go of some of the “extras” in our lives in order to make time to be still and talk with God. This is especially true if you’re someone whose been in a relationship with God before and you’re wondering how to find God again.
Study the Bible
One of the best ways to get in touch with God is to “fall in love” with who He is. My favorite way to do that is through the Bible. His nature and character are described in every story and event of the Bible. Not only do we discover His nature and character there, it’s in the pages of the Bible that God also reveals His heart – His desire to know us and for us to know life with Him. The gospel is the lengths that He went through to make sure we could have that relationship with Him.
Study God’s character.
Study His actions.
Explore the meaning of each of His Names (there are tons throughout scripture)
Understand His heart.
Fall in love with who God is.
If you’re new to studying the Bible, these Bible study questions will help you follow the “big picture” storyline of the Bible while helping you keep your eyes on God, His sovereignty, and His love for you.
Grow With Others
Powerful things happen when believers gather together with Christ as our focus:
- Our faith is strengthened.
- Discipleship happens.
- Healthy accountability is created.
- Unity is established.
In Hebrews 10:23-25, we’re instructed,
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembly of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much more as you see the Day approaching.
This type of companionship is essential for functioning well as the body of Christ (a term used to describe Christian unity) and for making disciples (more followers of Jesus).
God never intended for us to live our faith in isolation. He wants us to pursue Him and encourage others towards Him as we go.
The deeper your relationship with God is the more important the health and unity of the church body becomes to you. If you’re wondering how to have a good relationship with God; if you want to grow passionate about God and the things He is passionate about; find ways to connect, encourage, and grow with other Christians.
Remember how I mentioned being passionate about the things God is passionate about? One of those key things is serving. Jesus expresses the value of service as a Christian in Matthew 20:25-26 and 28
You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant… Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.
Serving is one of the ways we can partner with God in the things He is passionate about. If you’re someone who isn’t able to serve physically, try loving people this way instead.
Share the Gospel
We often consider our faith and relationship with Jesus to be a private thing. Although the decision to follow Jesus might be one made in private, the evidence of our commitment to Christ is supposed to expressed outwardly. We aren’t supposed to keep the love of God to ourselves.
The gospel is God’s love in action. We honor the Lord when we share His love with others. Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus tells us,
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always even to the end of the age.
Matthew 28:19-20 (NASB)
Build God’s Kingdom. Share the gospel.
Cultivating a relationship with God does take time, but it’s not something that’s out of reach. As you begin incorporating these basic steps you’ll find you’re better able to hear God’s voice, better understand His heart, and even when you don’t understand His reasoning you’ll be able to trust Him anyway because you know His character and the faithfulness of the God you serve.Share this on Twitter!