The “Brave New World” of the 21st Century requires a “Brave New Discipleship” strategy.

How to Nurture a Closer Relationship with God

Posted on: May 03, 2016

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GROW CLOSER TO GOD BY GROWING CLOSER TO HIS WORD

It is normal for Christians to long for a closer relationship with God than they have. After all, we cannot see him, hear him, or touch him, so it is natural for earthlings to long for something more. Yet, until the day when we see him “face-to-face,” we must content ourselves with nurturing in other ways a relationship with an inaudible, invisible Person.

While I am not a mystic, I have had a few intense experiences with God that are deeply meaningful. The night I became convinced that I had truly become a Christian was one of them. My joy was unbounded! I remember running and jumping and pumping my fist in the air. And if I had my way, I would choose to have more of them. However, they have always been at God’s initiative, never my own. I’ve learned that I do not control them.

Therefore, if we are going to nurture our relationship with the inaudible, invisible Person who is at the center of the universe as well as the center of our lives, we must find other, usually less dramatic, ways of doing so. The question is, “how?”

Of course, the options of prayer, solitude, and spiritual retreats come to mind. But the option that is perhaps the most reliable on a day-to-day basis is to meet God in his Word.

There is a very close connection between God and his word. John 1:1 says: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” There’s more. In Revelation chapter 19 we see a vision of the majestic Jesus in His glory returning to earth on a white horse. And we read, “He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called the Word of God.”

Jesus is called the Word of God. That is striking to me. This has led theologians to talk about two “words:” the written word and the living word. So while we do not want to imply that there is any kind of inherent magic in the Word, we must accept that there is a Spirit-infused dynamic to the Scripture that causes it to rise above the level of mere human words. Hebrews 4:12 says, “The word of God is alive and powerful…”

Timothy Keller has written:

“God acts through his words, the word is alive and active, and therefore the way to have God dynamically active in our lives is through the Bible. To understand the Scripture is not simply to get information about God. If attended to with trust and faith, the Bible is the way to actually hear God speaking and also to meet God himself. God has so identified himself with his words that whatever someone does to God’s words, they do to God. God’s verbal actions are a kind of extension of Himself.” (Prayer, p. 54, emphasis added)

This vital truth can be wedded to a second vital truth in Romans 12:2 – “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

When we work this passage backward, we learn that we can be living proof of the fact that God’s will is good and acceptable and perfect, but in order to do so, we must be transformed. And, if we are to be transformed, our minds must be renewed.

Therefore, if we are consistently renewing our minds with the living and active word of God, we will automatically be consistently meeting with our inaudible and invisible Heavenly Father and thereby nurturing a deepening and increasingly meaningful relationship with Him.

How can you energize and maximize this process? By:

  • selecting special verses/passages that speak to you
  • memorizing them deeply, and
  • reviewing them daily for long periods of time… months and possibly even years.

Some tips for:

Nurturing a Closer Relationship With God Through His Word

  1. Memorize verses and passages that speak to you, personally. Don’t memorize something just because you saw it in a Bible Memory Program, or just because someone else thinks it’s a good verse. (However, if you’d like help with a place to start, I believe there are MegaVerses everyone should memorize.)
  2. Try reviewing a passage once a day for a month before even trying to memorize it. That way, you will be pretty familiar with it even before starting to memorize it. I review future memory verses regularly while I am actually memorizing others…  just to get familiar with them.
  3. Don’t worry about how long it takes you to memorize something. Just work at it consistently (that’s the key) until you own it, mentally.
  4. Don’t consider that you have it memorized until you can say it from beginning to end as fast as you can possibly speak .
  5. Understand that deeper spiritual insight may not come until long after you have it well-memorized. Concentrate on letting it go over and over in your mind first. It often takes time to process the truth before the new insights come.
  6. Don’t give up. Like dieting or exercising or learning to play an instrument, you will achieve your goal if you simply don’t give up.

Grow closer to God by being faithful to this process of growing closer to His word.

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