No relationship in our lives is more important than the one we have with our creator and purpose-giver. But just like any other relationship, we still go through ups and downs. Some days we feel real close to God, knowing that He is right beside us every step of the way. Other days we feel as if God is distant, or like He doesn’t have much to do with the challenges of our daily lives.
But having a relationship with God will sustain us and enable us to live a fulfilling life even during the down days. So, how can we go about deepening our relationship with God? Here are a few quick ideas:
1. Get to know who God is—Read the Bible
We know this one already, don’t we? Since the Bible is how God reveals Himself to us, there’s no better way to get to know Him! Just as the prophet Isaiah reminds us, “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever” (Isaiah 40:8).
If you’re in a Bible-reading slump (or even if you’re not), try switching up your routine. Instead of a short passage a day, sit down and read through longer sections of a book to get the big picture. Or, if you’re used to large chunks, take your time with a handful of verses. Borrow commentaries, use reference books, or change up your study time! And don’t forget to share any new insights or connections you made with others, and ask them what they’ve been learning!
2. Spend time with God—Pray
Like any other relationship, it is important that we spend time talking with and listening to God.
But sometimes, we don’t really know what to talk about. Do you tell God what you’re grateful for? Do you confess your sins to Him? Do you pray for a need? Do you ever take time to just tell God how awesome He is?
When we’re not sure how to pray in our current season of life, we can always try praying through the psalms. The psalms cover the entire range of human experience and emotion, and provide a blueprint for drawing near to God whatever circumstances we are in. Like the Psalmist, we can cry out to God, confident that He hears our prayers and will respond in love (Psalm 17:6-7).
3. Live out your love for God—Obey
Before His death, Jesus told His disciples, “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me” (John 14:21).
That’s about as straightforward as it gets. If we love God, we obey Him. The Bible has laid out principles for interacting with our parents (Ephesians 6:1-2), and people we disagree with (Romans 14:1-21) . . . It reminds us to pursue what is good (Philippians 4:8-9), and to be humble and compassionate (Colossians 3:12).
Though obedience is sometimes temporarily inconvenient or uncomfortable, we know that it is ultimately for the best. These are commands that God has given us out of love, to protect us, and draw us to him.
4. Live out God’s love for others—Serve
But it doesn’t need to be complicated. We can offer a cup of hot cocoa. Or be generous with our time and money. We can find a position to serve in church. And at the very least, we can pray—especially for those we struggle to get along with.
We can learn to love others well through caring for people around us. Let us try, and try again, even if we don’t always feel like it. And through this, we will grow close to God’s heart by trying to live out His priorities.
5. Enjoy the gifts He’s given us—Live with Gratitude
Finally, let us simply enjoy God and the many gifts He has given us. Do you see blue skies when you look up? Our loving God put it there. Do you feel the warmth of the sun or the cool of the wind? They are our Father’s gifts. Do you have fingers and toes? What a reason for gratitude!
And of all the gifts we have, what greater gift than God Himself! He has sacrificed so much, simply for a relationship with us. What could be more wonderful than that? Let us respond with joy.