Relationship with God
By Ivan Ho 7 Sept 2016
Our relationship with God is the most important relationship in life, not only in this life but throughout eternity. Our relationship with God begins when Jesus comes to us through His Word and reveals Himself to us in a personal way. When the Word of God comes, some may reject Him but for those who receive Jesus, they become born again and enter into a new relationship with God. However, our relationship with God does not stay at the point of our salvation, but needs to continue to grow stronger and stronger each day. There are attitudes and principles we can apply in our daily life that will help us strengthen our relationship with Him.
3. Pursue God Himself
And as He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” They immediately left their nets and followed Him.
Mark 1:16-18 NKJV
When Jesus came calling Simon Peter and his brother Andrew, He did not say: “Come with me and let‘s hang out together”. Rather, Jesus said: “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” There is a divine purpose behind the call. Moreover, in order to fulfill our God given purpose, we need to know who is the leader and who is the follower in the relationship.
Many religious leaders or gurus may ask his followers to follow a set of rules or some religious teachings. Only Jesus, as our Lord and Saviour, demands us to follow Him as a person. Jesus says: “Follow Me!”, rather than “Follow my teachings”.
In other words, the very first thing that Jesus told His disciples was: “Follow Me wherever I will lead you….”. Right there, the disciples had to decide: “Should I continue with what I am doing, or drop my own agenda in order to follow Jesus?”. It set the tone for their new life journey with Jesus and defined who would be the master and follower in the relationship.
Follow the written Word as well as the inner voice of God
I‘d suppose some people may visit my blog and learn to follow the principles I share and I am really grateful if my words impact some people‘s life that way. But that does not necessarily mean I have relationships with the readers of my blog. In the same way, if a person reads the Bible and follows the teachings of Jesus, he may get to know the heart and mind of God, but he may not yet develop a relationship with the Word of God, ie Jesus Himself.
Relationship with Jesus only happens when the Word of God indwells the individual, when God, through the Holy Spirit, resides in the born again believer. Jesus now takes over his life, and the Holy Spirit dwells in the body of the believer. The person no longer just follows the written words of Jesus but the Holy Spirit now also becomes his teacher and potentially leads him to all truth. When the person begins to follow the teachings and guidance of the Holy Spirit, he truly becomes a follower of Christ. That is essential to a life time of relationship with God.
However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
John 16:13 NKJV
But if the person rejects the inner voice of the Holy Spirit and follows only his or her fleshly desires and instincts, or follow the voice of familiar spirits, that person is carnal and grieves the Holy Spirit within. He becomes an unstable person, tossed to and fro by all kinds of teachings. Any person approaches him, including demons, that person responds. He speaks to everyone and anyone who approaches him. That person is not led by the Holy Spirit and unless he repents and allows God to be his only source of input, he is in danger of being led astray by ungodly influences over his life, even to the point of loosing his relationship with God.
Instead of following the spirit of the world, it is vital we follow the written word as well as the inner voice of the Holy Spirit, so that we will follow God‘s will for our life.
It is not possible for me to write these things if the Holy Spirit has not been speaking and teaching me.
For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
1Co 2:11-12 NKJV
God‘s command is not an option
In an earthly kingdom, when the king gives a command, the subjects must follow, or they will be punished, even being executed. The same is true in the kingdom of God. When God speaks, it is not a suggestion but a command that we must follow. If things in our life, including our plans, possessions and relationships get in the way of us following God, we have to lay them down in order to pursue our destiny in Christ.
When the Holy Spirit says “Go there or do that”, He‘s not offering you a suggestion. When God reveals certain things to you, through a dream for example, He‘s not saying things to give you just another perspective so you would weigh over various options. His word is not an option and we need to take heed what He says and be careful to obey it.
Deny self and follow Him
Unless one is prepared to follow Jesus as his only Lord and Saviour, he cannot be a disciple of Jesus. If a person rebels against the word of Jesus over his life, he no longer regards Jesus as his Lord. Many people only want to follow Jesus as their saviour, for the blessings and benefits He offers but they don‘t want to follow Him as their Lord. If what Jesus tells them to do fits in with their schedule or agenda, they may choose to follow Him. Otherwise, they would choose to pursue their own plans. When Jesus called Peter, John, Andrew and the other disciples, it really messed up their schedules and personal agenda. They had to drop what they were doing, leave behind everything including their home, work and close relationships in order to pursue Jesus.
By contrast, the rich young ruler, who followed the scriptures all his life, sadly wasn‘t willing to part ways with his possessions in order to follow Jesus. (Luke 9:18-27)
Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ ” And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.” So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich.
Luke 18:18-23 NKJV
If one makes the decision to receive Jesus into his or her life, he becomes born again which enables him to see the kingdom of God. That is the starting point but sadly, many people only stay at that point. In order to inherit the kingdom, we need to lay down our life and follow God.
If we are to follow Jesus, it takes faith and sacrifice on our part. We need to lay down our own plans in order to pursue His purpose for our life. In other words, His agenda overrides our own agenda. His words overrides our preferences, ideas and most of all, self . Unless one is prepared to do that, he cannot be a disciple of Jesus. (Luke 9:23-24)
Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.”
Luke 9:23-24 NKJV
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Galatians 2:20 NKJV