Relationship with God
By Ivan Ho First written 31 Aug 2016
We are created in God‘s image with the innate desire to relate with Our Creator as well as with one another. When Jesus died on the cross for us, God’s primary purpose is to restore man‘s relationship with the heavenly Father.
What are the principles and factors that will help us relate to God the way God intends it? I believe there are key principles as well as practical steps we can take that will enhance our relationship with God.
If you do not yet have a relationship with God, you can take a forward step and make a start today!
1. Press the start button
Every journey has a starting point and a finishing point. If you never start to walk, hop on a bus or board a plane, you will never embark on a journey. The most important button on the computer is the start button. If you never press the start button, you can press every other button on the keyboard and nothing would work for you. The computer is working but it doesn‘t work for you until you press the start button.
In the same way, our relationship with God, and as a matter of fact, any friendship or marital relationship, has a starting point. A relationship does not begin just because you met somebody. Can you say you have a relationship with everyone you meet at work? A lot of people you meet you may only know them by their name or recognise them by face but you don‘t really have a relationship with them. A lot of so called ‘friends’ on any online social media are only contacts but you may not really have a relationship with them. That is fine because we are not meant to form relationships with everybody that we come into contact in life. A relationship only begins when you make a decision to befriend or build a relationship with another person who also decides to relate with you. A close relationship begins with a decision and commitment for both parties. Some relationships (such as your family members) you do not choose, but other relationships, including that between husband and wife, begins with a mutual decision. You and the other person decide to proceed with a relationship, or not.
Our relationship with God begins with Jesus
So where does our relationship with God begin? It all begins with God when He created you.
There is no question that God creates every person with the intention to relate with him or her. When God created Adam and Eve, God and man had a perfect face to face relationship. There was no barrier, no distrust, no hiding between God and man. However, that relationship was broken when man disobeyed God, when man rebelled against the authority of God over their lives. When sin entered into mankind, the perfect relationship with God was broken. God is holy and just and He punished the sinners even though God still loved Adam and Eve.
When sin entered into mankind, death came as a punishment, and the perfect relationship between God and man was broken. Despite our sins, God still loves us and made a provision to reconcile our relationship with Him. He took step to restore the relationship with man by sending His Son Jesus Christ who took on the form of a human person and came from heaven to earth about 2000 years ago.
God has a perfect plan to deal with our sins once and for all by sending Jesus to die on the cross for you and I. God, through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ, has done everything that is needed to restore our relationship with Him. God has made the first move through His Son Jesus!
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
John 3:16-17 NKJV
According to Strong‘s Concordance, the word ‘believe‘ (Greek ‘pisteuo‘) is defined as:
To have faith (in upon or with respect to a person or thing) that is credit; by implication to entrust (especially one´s spiritual well being to Christ): believe, commit (to trust) put in trust with.
In other words, to believe in Christ does not mean just having head knowledge of Jesus, but to have total faith in Him so much that you are willing to entrust your whole life to Jesus.
So according to John 3:16, whoever (that includes you and I ) believes (puts his faith and entrusts) in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. When you have the faith to entrust your life in the hands of Jesus, you enter into a new relationship with God. This is a personal decision only you alone can make.
Relationship with God begins with your decision
Relationship has a starting point which begins with a personal decision.
Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, the power of sin and death over mankind was completely broken once and for all! Now every person can have his or her relationship with God restored through Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only doorway to the heavenly Father. By accepting Jesus Christ into our life as our Lord and Saviour, all our sins have been forgiven, and all the curses due to our own sins as well as the sins of our forefathers have been broken! The moment you and I decide to follow Jesus and accept Him into our heart, we become born again in Christ and with that, our relationship with God has been reconciled. Sin has been completely removed and death has no longer any power over us! Instead of death and eternal separation from God in hell, eternal life with God is now our portion! A person becomes a born again child of God in God‘s kingdom by way of his or her decision to receive the Son of God Jesus!
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
John 1:12-13 NKJV
Any relationship is mutual involving two persons. Jesus has done all that is possible and necessary on His part for us to return to the Father. He has offered us a covenant relationship that will last for eternity, but each person must make a personal decision to accept that offer and begin their life journey with Jesus. Unless you decide to make a commitment to follow Jesus, you do not have a relationship with Him yet. What‘s more, if Jesus is not in your life, you remain in the kingdom of darkness and under the condemnation of sin.
Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
John 3:3 NKJV
“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
John 3:18 NKJV
Now is the time of salvation
From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” They immediately left their nets and followed Him.
Matthew 4:17-20 NKJV
So how long did it take Peter and his brother Andrew to respond to Jesus‘ invitation to follow Him? The bible tells us that they IMMEDIATELY left their nets and followed Him. Basically they left everything and made an instant “no turning back” decision to follow Jesus! How much did they know Jesus? They were not church goers with no access to the scriptures and at that time, the New Testament Bible wasn‘t even written. They might have heard others talk about Jesus or saw Him heal the sick and so on, but even with the little knowledge they had about Jesus, they did not hesitate to follow Him. In fact, Peter had an encounter with Jesus and one God encounter was enough to make the decision for Peter. He and his brother immediately left everything to pursue Jesus, not knowing where He would lead them.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, one of the definitions of the word “immediate” is as follows:
a : occurring, acting, or accomplished without loss or interval of time.
b : near to or related to the present : of or relating to the here and now.
Some people (including some who attend church) seem to be forever in a “casual dating” mode. They are not against Jesus but they are not totally committed to him either. They may ask questions about Him, read the bible, attend church even but deep inside, they are non committed to follow Jesus. They may attend church but for them, Jesus is just one of many options in life. They are still looking around, so to speak.
Others want to find out “everything” about God before they would consider whether or not to follow Him, but the more they know, the less they are prepared to make that decision. If you want to find out more about God, make the decision to follow Him now. God will reveal more of Himself to you as you grow in your relationship with Him.
If you want to find out what it is like on the other side of the river, you need to get on a boat or jump in the water and start swimming. It takes your step of faith to begin your life journey with Jesus.
You may not know a lot about Jesus but if you know in your heart that He is God the Son who died on the cross for you and was raised from the dead three days after, that He is the Lord of the universe, the Creator of heavens and earth, the only way through whom man may be saved from sin and death and be reconciled with the heavenly Father, you are in a position to commit your life to Jesus! When Jesus Christ reveals Himself to you and the truth of His word becomes a reality in your heart, you are ready to make the decision to receive Him into your life as your Lord and Saviour.
The Bible tells us that if you believe in your heart that Jesus has been raised from the dead and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, you will be saved, and you now begin to enter into an eternal relationship with God!
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Romans 10:8-10 NKJV
Relationship with God is not just about you “feeling His love” and “enjoying His presence” although that is wonderful. At some point, you must take the step of faith to commit your life to Jesus. As I said before, one needs to press the start button and make a decision to follow Jesus, and the time to make that all important life changing decision is NOW!
When Jesus reveals Himself to you and calls you to follow Him, you must, like the disciples of Jesus, make the immediate response to follow Him now! The longer you prolong that decision of faith, the longer you are prolonging your state of indecision and doubt. God has done His part but not until you make a willful decision to start the journey of faith with Jesus, you will have no part in God‘s kingdom. The longer you prolong your decision, the longer you leave doors open for the enemy to put doubts in your mind. You may be waiting for God but God is waiting for you. NOW is the day of your salvation!
We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
2 Corinthians 6:1-2 NKJV