At the beginning of 2016, Get Closer to God was one of my many New Year’s Resolutions. It seems like if you can nurture a more intimate relationship with God, everything else will fall into place.
“Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
I most certainly met my goal this year. My understanding of God and the nature of Our—I couldn’t decide between our and Our ;)—relationship has changed drastically. This year, I’m going to have the same goal, but I’m a bit better equipped than I was last year. Today, I’d like to share some of what I’ve learned this past year in the hope that you’ll learn something too.
First of all, how has your relationship with God and understanding of God changed within the past year? Where has He taken you? What has He taught you? After all, you can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been.
Now that we’ve laid the groundwork, how can you continue to develop a relationship with God? How can you love Him better than you have already?
Loving God frustrates me. Sometimes—maybe a lot of times—I don’t exactly feel giddy when I open my bible in the morning, I find my mind drifting during quiet time, and I dread sermons and extensive periods of prayer. Just reading that makes me feel like a bad person…
“Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”
If I truly love God, why am I not delighting myself in Him? Of course, there are times when I’m burning with passion or crave His presence, but there are at least as many times when my heart isn’t in my prayers. How do you force yourself to be joyful? How do you force yourself to feel love for God more often? How can you not only involve your mind in your devotions but your heart?
I found this quote in my new devotional, God & I Time Treasures Volume 1 by Ken Collier and Rand Hummel:
“The more time you spend with God the better you know Him;
the more you know Him, the more you love Him…”
That sentence made everything click for me. Of course you’d love God if you knew Him better. I mean, what’s not to love? So my next question was: How do I spend more time with Him? I have my day very carefully divided into times for writing, exercising, studying, and family time. God is a pretty important guy, so how do I even begin to set aside enough time for Him?
As I’m sure you know, God is omnipresent. He’s everywhere! Once, I was sitting outside waiting for a divine revelation of some sort. I just wanted to hear from God, and He was being annoyingly quiet.
I sighed and stared across the yard. God, where are you?
Where am I not?
God watches you more carefully than Santa Claus. In fact, He’s with you as you’re reading this blog post. The problem of spending time with God isn’t that we don’t have enough time or that He doesn’t show up. The problem is that we forget to acknowledge Him, to remember He’s there in the first place.
“In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”
If an annoying little sibling of yours were spying on you in your room, but you weren’t aware of their presence, you wouldn’t say you’d spent quality time together. To spend quality time with them, you have to know and remember that they are there.
This opened up so many possibilities for me. I can get to know God while doing dishes! I can do it while jogging, driving, changing out the laundry. If I haven’t spent enough time with God, it’s not because I don’t have enough time, but because I’ve chosen not to reach out to Him.
A lot of building relationships is quality time, but if I neglected the other love languages, I’d be missing more opportunities to deepen my relationship with God.
I have six people aside from myself in my family, all with different personalities and ways of receiving love. After reading The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, I’ve been trying to speak in a variety of love languages, while lavishing each family member in his/her primary love language. Trust me, I’m not quite there yet, but I’m working on it.
My Dad’s is quality time, so every morning, I have tea with him for ten minutes. My Mom and brother both have the love language of words of affirmation, so I slip notecards under their bedroom doors with messages of encouragement, gratitude, or a simple “I love you.”
So what is God’s primary love language? Well, why not all of them? He’s the Creator of the love languages, after all. Realizing this has helped me to remember to speak in God’s love languages. How can you spend quality time with God? What words of affirmation can you speak to Him? What gifts can you give Him? What act of service can you perform for Him? Now, physical touch can be a bit more complicated… But you get the idea.
Few things are both easy and worthwhile. Relationships are hard, yet they’re one of the few things that make life worth living, as my Dad often says. While considering everything you want to accomplish in the year of 2017, I hope you take a moment to prioritize the most important New Year’s resolution you’ll ever have: drawing closer to God.
What New Year’s resolutions are you making for 2017?