Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. – James 4:8 (NLT)
God just wants you close. He wants you to draw near to Him. But if your struggle has been anything like mine then you’ve probably gotten to a point where you’ve lost the zeal to draw close to God. Now the awesome thing about God is that we can have a relationship with Him just like any other relationship we have with people in the natural realm. But also, just like natural relationships, our relationship with God can deteriorate if we don’t stay in constant communion and fellowship with Him. Our relationship with God can also dwindle if we don’t have a desire to spend time with Him.
So how do we get back to that close place of fellowship? Well how about we start with what can cause our relationship to deteriorate in the first place…
I can only speak from my personal experience and I recognized that my relationship with God was starting to become more of an employer/employee relationship rather than a husband/wife or father/daughter relationship. I was punching my “spiritual time clock” like you may have heard others say. I was reading my word and seeking God because I knew that was what I needed to do but not because I desired to do it. Now don’t get me wrong, in the beginning it was smooth and easy to get in God’s word, but after a while it started to become mundane. Praying became mundane. And slowly but surely my desire to spend time with God dwindled until it was too difficult for me to even stay in the word for more than 5 minutes.
And then guilt took over. Anytime, I wanted something or wanted to pray and ask God for something, I felt that I didn’t deserve it. I felt that way because I hadn’t read my word consistently (if even) and I hadn’t been in constant prayer daily like I know I should have. So of course that naturally just made things much worse. Maybe you’ve been there? Where you feel as those you are so distant from God? And although your heart wants to draw close to Him every effort seems to be unfruitful.
I wanted to be able to hear from God on certain things I was believing for. I wanted confirmation and clarity, just everyday guidance in any decision that I made and it sucked when I felt like I couldn’t hear Him. No confirmation, no clarity, just silence. You can probably imagine how difficult that was for me, especially at such a pivotal time in my life where I really needed His guidance.
So on top of not having a desire to spend time with God and then not being able to Hear from Him or feel His presence that just made it all too easy for me to just not seek Him. I fell into the habit of not praying or reading my Word. And the guilt followed very closely behind every step of the way.
But after a few sermons and devotionals and my own personal revelation I realized how awesome God is and how true the “God remains faithful to you even though you’re not faithful to Him” statement really is. Certain revelations can only come through first-hand experience. Before, that phrase used to completely go over my head because I hadn’t been in that place before. But experiencing God’s grace and faithfulness to my ole’ underserving self, sparked another level of gratitude that couldn’t have been achieved otherwise.
So I’m here to encourage those that may have gone through or are currently experiencing this same situation. Here are a few pointers to encourage you to get those old flames going in your relationship with God.
- Many times we put unnecessary pressure on ourselves to be this great “T.D. Jakes” Christian (just using him as an example) and discourage ourselves when we miss the mark. We have to remember that God wants our heart not our Christian resume or pedigree. We will fall short and miss the mark many times than we would like to (Romans 3:23) but that doesn’t mean that God won’t forgive us. He loves us and wants us to continue to seek Him despite our shortcomings, not run away.
- Don’t be surprised if you lose your zeal and joy in seeking God. This is just a sign that you may have fallen victim to the religion-ship and not the relationship that God desires to have with us. Seek God and ask Him to increase the desire in your heart and to give you innovative ways that will keep you from falling into a mundane routine. You should want to spend time with God because you “want” to not because you’re checking off your “Good Christian” to do list.
- If you become discouraged and disappointed don’t allow the shame from the enemy to keep you “down and bound.” (Romans 8:1) The enemy wants you to become too discouraged and ashamed to seek God because he knows that with discouragement comes distance. Don’t be afraid to seek the “righteous prayer” of others that you can trust. When you have the support of friends and family it will give you the encouragement and boost you need to keep moving.
- Remember, it’s not a competition! Just because you’ve only read 1 scripture doesn’t mean that the person that read 10 is any better than you. We all have our own personal relationship with God and He is no respecter of persons. Many times we fall victim to discouragement and feelings of unworthiness because we’re comparing our lives and relationship with God to the next person. It’s okay to be motivated or inspired by someone but don’t give into a competitive spirit and lose sight of what’s most important…God! Strengthen your relationship with God because you need Him not because you’re trying to impress the church-goers or pastors. Your desired reward should be eternity in Heaven not a pat on the back from man.
- Be encouraged and know that this is not a sprint. This is a life long journey that God looks forward to sharing with you and that He wants you to share with others. It’s not about who reaches the finish line first it’s just about reaching the finish line and walking hand in hand with other like-minded people. We all have the same reward so we should be able to walk in unity and love without having to jeopardize or patronize another person’s walk. God just wants YOU to draw closer to Him. So will you?
Peace and love.
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. – Hebrews 10:22 (NKJV)
Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer. – Psalm 4:1 (NKJV)