For those who ponder about the requirements for developing and maintaining a deeper relationship with God, we must include some vital components and one of the most critical is desire. Ask any business person or athlete about what it takes to accomplish a goal and they will always testify about the importance of vision, perseverance, and determination. Likewise, when it comes to drawing nearer to the Lord we must begin with old-fashioned enthusiasm.
The next question is where does this passion come from? Most Christians will agree that Christ draws people to Himself and if you are having thoughts about your spiritual life, this is evidence that you are being stirred by His grace. One thing we can be sure of whether we embrace the Calvinist or Armenian theology is that God created us so that He could have a close personal relationship with us.
The New Year is a couple of weeks away and it’s common to think about rededicating our commitment to our Creator and making new resolutions that bring us peace and joy. So, how do we intensify our awareness of His presence? Fire in the Bible is often used to describe spiritual adoration for the Lord.
An important nugget of wisdom is to know that we can be as close to God as we want. Nothing is preventing us from walking with Him except our resistance. We’ve heard the passage in Romans 12:2 that talks about not being conformed to the world but being transformed by the renewing of our mind.
This means we worship the things we love and until our mind is changed we will not change our behavior. God’s warning that in order for anyone to advance with Him, we must make Him our highest priority. There are levels of spiritual commitment and unfortunately it’s common to live however we want while using Him as a backup plan in case our arrangements do not work out. This is not what God had in mind when He sent His Son to the cross to restore us back to Him.
Whatever the reasons or excuses people make to refuse Christ as their Lord and King, each person will be held accountable for the way they lived. When it comes to our opportunities to choose whom we will serve, He is either Lord of all or He is not our Lord at all.
I appreciate all of you who read this column each week and for the encouraging emails and cards. I spend much of my time studying and writing and enjoy the blessings of being able to share God’s word and my thoughts. As we continue to focus on what is truly important in this life, we will notice how the things of this world will grow strangely dim.“I surrender all” is another convicting challenge and as I dwell on this invitation, I realize how easy it is to sing but how difficult it is to live.
Let’s look at some practical actions we can take that will make an immediate improvement in our personal intimacy with God. Before we build we must have a blueprint and changing our lifestyle will require a fresh agenda. Find a quiet place where you can read a certain portion of the Bible every day.
Begin a prayer journal and in this time of meditation, express your deepest thoughts to Him, ask Him to fill you with His Spirit, and begin to think about others and pray for them. Do not be surprised if those around you begin to think you are weird. This is a good thing because it’s exactly what He intended. If you desire to go even deeper, you can read about the power of fasting which increases your spiritual discernment and proves that you desire to know Him more than anything in the world.