First, let me explain what I mean by being closer to God. Think of it this way. The closer a person is to God, the less room there is for things and people and situations, etc. to come between that person and his relationship with God. Our being close to God suggests an intimate relationship with Him, and the Bible is filled with promises of the peace and blessings that God bestows upon those who love Him this way.
This is an important discussion topic because sometimes I hear people say something like, "I know I need to get closer to God." Oftentimes, they say that after they have made a big mess of their life, and others can see the mess. Also, it is not unusual for a new convert to Christianity to ask the question, "How can I get closer to God?"
I submit to you that our relationship with God is not happenstance. We have much to do with the quality of that relationship. Yes, I am saying that there are things we can do to be closer to God. For instance, the Bible says, "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you" (James 4:8a). According to this verse, we must draw near to God to initiate the process. God, in turn, reciprocates.
Are you one who desires to be closer to God? I certainly am. And get this, I am very pleased with, even amazed by, my current relationship with God. But there is always room for us to get even closer to God, and that is a present passion of mine.
To be sure, our just coming to church faithfully won't get us there. In other words, a person who has been faithfully attending church for fifteen years is not necessarily closer to God than someone who has been attending for only one year!
As a case in point, consider this verse: "Though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!" (Hebrews 5:11, NIV). This verse suggests that these believers who should now be able to teach others had not progressed spiritually but had actually regressed over time.
So the question is, how do we progress from being a babe in Christ to becoming a mature Christian? The answer lies in the next verse: "Solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil" (verse 12).
Note the phrase "who by constant use have trained themselves." I believe this is the key. You see, it's good that we attend a Bible-believing church and we study the Bible, pray to God, and attend worship faithfully. But our quest to be closer to God requires more. We must train ourselves by constantly using what we learn. The more passionately we do this, the more intimate our relationship with God will become.
Copyright 2011 by Frank King. All rights reserved.
Frank King is a former church pastor. He is currently an evangelist and an author. Frank holds a Master of Theology degree. Through the grace of God, Frank has been blessed to cross cultural lines in his preaching. Website: http://www.efrankking.com
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