Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Getting to Know God

"But I am close to God. I go to church three times a week, and read a Psalm everyday."
 "I do know God. I've read the entire bible twice, and I'm halfway done for my third time." 
"I already have a relationship with God. My dad's a pastor and so was my grandfather. It's in my blood."
All that stuff is great, but it does nothing to get you any closer to God. If you really want to get closer to God, you're going to have to take some major steps. Here are three points that I came up with to actually know God.

1. Simply reading isn't enough.

In all honesty, we all could probably use some work in this area. But seriously, you can't read about someone and expect to get to really know them. That's knowing about them.
For example, if you clicked my name up there and read everything I have on my Google Plus profile, does that mean you know me? Personally? Or does that mean you know stuff about me?

Sadly, that's how many of us are with our relationship with God. We know all about God--that He's Almighty, Sovereign, omnipresent, the Beginning and End, our Comforter, our Protector, etc. But many of us never actually experience any of that in our own day-to-day lives; it's just knowledge. Like knowing your friend is a doctor, but never going to see him when you have some disease.
I'm not saying it's bad to read about God--it's great. But it's no replacement for an actual relationship. Knowledge is useless if not applied. Actions and understanding need to come with it. This leads me to my next point.

2. A relationship works two ways. 

A common definition of "relationship" is
"Emotional or other connection between people: the relationship between teachers and students." 
Notice the word "connection." A relationship is a connection between two or more people, not one person doing all the work while the other just sits and listens. Unfortunately, we've began to apply this to our relationship with God, in two ways.

The first way is when we work tirelessly to reach God, but don't give Him any time to talk or say anything back. Some people teach that if you read your bible cover to cover, or pray every hour of every day, then you'll be "spiritually connected" to God.
That's not true.
That's the equivalent of someone trying to do all these nice things to get close to you, but forget to actually spend time with and get to know you. They're so busy with their works, that they forget the relationship part.
In reality, we get ourselves even farther away from God than we were at the beginning.

The second way is when we turn ourselves off to God completely. Our world becomes us-centered and all we think about is ourselves. God becomes some distant memory, and we're off indulging ourselves in what we want to do. We basically say to God, "If you want me, come and get me!"

Neither of these examples are relationships with God. You're either trying to hard, or not trying at all. You're either not letting God in or pushing Him out. If there's a secret ingredient to a good relationship, then in my opinion; it would be balance.
You need to balance your relationship. Remember that some of the responsibility falls on God, just as some of it falls on you. You don't have to do everything; God doesn't have to do everything. You guys are supposed to meet in the middle-ish area. (I say that because God probably does more work than we do) While we definitely have to do our part to stay on key with God; it's not all our responsibility.

In our Relationship, we have to trust God as well. If we take too much of it on ourselves, we become crazy workaholics, only working ourselves away from God. If we take on too little, we became lazy brats who expect God to do everything. How do you balance it then? Simply get to know Him. :] Which leads me to my third point.

3. Simply Obey

If you want to really advance in your Relationship with God, you need to be willing to take those steps to obey Him, completely. Take Moses for example. Exodus 33:11 tells us that he spoke with God face to face, totally unlike anyone before or after him. How exactly did Moses get to this point? I believe it was because Moses obeyed God.

From appearing before to Pharaoh, to leading the Israelites out of Egypt, to parting the Red Sea and leading God's people to the Promised Land, Moses was obedient. Not to say he never disobeyed, as Moses had his moments as well. Numbers 20:12 gives us an example of that. Moses had his doubts, his fears, his "what ifs", and his worries.
But you know what? Most of the time, Moses didn't let those stop him from obeying his God. Despite criticism, backlash, arrogance and complaining from the +2 million Israelites he was leading, Moses never resigned from, backed out of, or left the calling God gave him. And simply because of his obedience, Moses experienced God in more ways than many of us can even dream of.

Obedience puts your faith into action. If God tells you to run head-first into a brick wall, for whatever reason, what do you do? Do you ignore God's command, or do you start running?

Seriously. Think about it.

Usually, when we obey, it usually put things at risk. There's usually some kind of doubt in our minds or a chance that things will go wrong. But God uses those experiences to teach us who He is and how He works. You get to know Him more when you obey. When you listen, you get to see how He works through you. You get to witnesses for yourself God's plans and what He has in store. You get to experience Him in a personal way, in a way that only you can.

These are just three things I think are really essential to having a genuine relationship with God. Many people--while sincere in their motives--end up getting themselves farther from God then they were in the first place. We've become more focused on us and what we can do, than on God and what He will do. We need to stop just knowing about God and actually get to know Him!

Because God knows you. He's already at the door, knocking and waiting. (Revelation 3:20) Either you can be like Mary and let Him in, or you can be like Martha and get so caught up in what you think is right that you miss God yourself. {Luke 10:38-42}

Let's pray that we all let Him in. :]

Have a great day and God bless!