2020-01-17
Shutterstock.com

God, our Heavenly Father, has always desired to be close to us, to have a relationship with us. As Christians, we acknowledge that God exists and that Christ was resurrected. Despite knowing this, many of us have absolutely no idea what it means to have a relationship with God.

What does it mean to trust God? What is expected of us and what should we expect from God? Should one pray despite the feeling that no one is listening? These are questions that you may begin to explore as you start a relationship with God. If you want to foster that relationship, it’s important that you open your eyes to His heart so that you can see Him.

The problem for many people who want to begin to have a relationship with God is hearing Him which is essential to growing in our relationship with Him. One of the big reasons is because we are afraid to hear what He has to say to us. He may be pulling us in a direction we don’t want to go or we may simply have issues trusting Him. Our choice is whether or not we will heed the messages He sends us through Scripture and through our life circumstances.

Another issue many people run into is that the desire for a relationship is not motivated by love but by expectation. A lot of us grow up in churches that tell us that having a relationship with God comes with the territory of belief. We know we are expected to have a relationship with God, but don’t otherwise feel led to cultivate a relationship with God. When we open our hearts to a real relationship with God through Christ, we discover God’s unconditional love for us and it stirs up a passion inside of us to love people. We don’t have to struggle to do the things He calls us to do because we are secure in Him.

God is all about family. He designed our family model to mirror His. The Bible tells us, “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings” (Hebrews 2:10). God wants to bring many children to His glory.

The apostle John confirmed why God created mankind when He said, “Behold the manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed when we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:1-3). God is our Father and wants a relationship with us based upon the family relationship He created. Because we are His children, we are to follow the example set by Christ. But because of mankind’s rejection of God, the human family has become broken. We continue to struggle with this daily.

One of God’s key commandments is to “honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12). God has created a great relationship model for us but too few of us are actually experiencing this beautiful relationship. If you have had the experience of a loving father and mother who set examples of love and respect for each other and also showed you what it means to love unconditionally, you already have a solid understanding of the type of relationship God wants with you. However, if you come from a broken home, you may struggle with the loving Father concept.

The relationship that God wants to have with us is rooted in love. John 3:16 is the perfect example of God’s perfect love for you: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”. No other verse in the Bible summarizes God’s relationship with humanity and His ultimate love for us. It tells us that the love God has for us and the extent of that love is so great that He sacrificed His only Son on our behalf. God’s love for us inspires our love for God.

Many of us have heard someone say “I want to be close to God” or “I feel far from Jesus” or have even said some of these things ourselves. We say these things because we have been led to believe our relationship with Jesus is based on proximity – a sliding scale of near and far based on faithfulness of our spiritual devotion. However, a relationship with Jesus requires more than just being close with Him. Jesus longs to become perfectly one with you.

God takes residence in us, invites us to die to ourselves and become a new creation in Him. He invites us into an intimate relationship with Him: union with Christ. Union with Christ refers to relationship between the believer and Jesus Christ. There are countless passages throughout the Bible that reveal that believers are joined in Christ: We are the branches and Jesus is the vine (John 15:5); Jesus is the head and we are His body (1 Corinthians 6:15019); Christ is the foundation and we are living stones in the foundation (1 Peter 2:4-5). Nothing is more basic or central to knowing and enjoying God than union with Christ. It’s at the heart of our Christian faith.

Jesus Christ is dwelling in us and because of this, Jesus is available to us anytime and in anyplace because we believe. We can access the Father by calling on His loving Son daily through prayer and meditation. We also should do our best to reflect Christ each day. Yes, becoming in tune with God takes word but when we spend time working at the relationship, it strengthens tenfold.

more from beliefnet and our partners