How close are you in your relationship with God? You are as close as you want to be; the more time you spend with God, not just asking for things but true fellowship, the more you will learn about Him and the closer you will get. Talk as a friend cause He is “a friend that sticks closer than a brother.”
In your relationship with your spouse or friends, did you become close to them by never talking to them or never spending time with them? No! Every relationship worth having is worth cultivating and that means you have to put a little effort into it. How close you are now is found in the attitude of your heart. (Proverbs 21:2) “All a man’s ways seem right to him, but the Lord weighs the heart.”
Can do a lot but the attitude behind them determines whether it is just a “work” or true devotion to God.
When you pray or praise God, when you do something for someone else, what are your motives behind it? Are they for an “I will do this and then God will do that” attitude? Are they for appearances and how others see you or are they out of pure devotion to God? It is said, “Where your treasure is there your heart will be also.” Is what you treasure most God and bringing glory to His name or is your treasure found in all that God can do for you?
Two people can pray the same prayer and one be acceptable before God and the other not; it is all in your attitude, for show or for Him? You have needs and God knows you need them and He wants you to come to Him, but not just for that alone. (Matthew 6:33) “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you as well.”
How do you feel when the only time a friend or a family member calls you is when they want something and then the rest of the year you are forgotten about? If it bothers you and since we are created in His image don’t you think it hurts God as well? Of course! God wants your love and devotion to be sincere. He wants you to have things and to have an abundant life, He just doesn’t want those things to have you. That puts you back into slavery, into bondage, the bondage that He died to give you freedom from. When you first give your heart to God you are born again with a brand new desire to serve and worship the Lord. (II Corinthians 5:17) “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” Many people do not realize that though you have now been born again with a heart that wants to love and serve God, you have years of the world that have scarred your heart and mind.
You can plant flowers in a garden, but planting them alone does not mean that the weeds in the garden will die. They have to be uprooted.
(Romans 12:2) “Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing, and perfect will.”
It takes time to heal and God does this in steps, little by little. (Deuteronomy 7:22) “The Lord your God will drive out those nations before you little by little.” Do you the parable of the blind man that Jesus healed by spitting on his eyes? At first, people looked like trees to him, but then Jesus put His hands on the man’s eyes again and he could see. This shows that with some things in your life, they are healed immediately but some are healed in stages. This happens a great deal with those who have been through tremendous suffering in their life before coming to Him.
Your spiritual growth is a process and the Lord promises that, (Genesis 8:22) “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” Just as there are stages in your life growing up the same is true in your spiritual growth. God is always at work in your life to bring you into the abundant life He promises. (John 10:10) “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Just because you cannot see the work God is performing in your life does not mean that He is not at work. There may be other people involved in some of the answers to your prayers who are not where they need to be yet. God showed me this in an example of a dinner party. You are having a dinner party and are making the main course. You have invited other people; one who will bring the vegetable, one who will bring the bread, one who will bring the pasta, and one who will bring the dessert. Separate they do not make a whole dinner; but together, what a feast! You cannot see the preparation of the rest of the courses, but you know they are being prepared. The same is true in the stages of your spiritual growth and healing; with each step, you learn more and realize just what the Lord was trying to teach you in that particular trial or trying to weed out of you. You cannot see God at work but you must trust that He is at work. He making other preparations and when the time is right He will put it all together. In the meantime, He is still transforming you with each trial He allows to come your way.
(Matthew 15:13) “Every plant that My heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots.” As a result, you grow closer and closer to God. This can only happen if you stay faithful to God during the growth process and do not grow impatient with Him and give up and go back to old ways.
So, how do you grow closer to God and grow in your knowledge of Him and His ways?
I. How do you grow closer:
You spend time with Him every day in:
(Amos 5:6) “Seek the Lord and live.”
1. Prayer: what prayer is, how—acknowledge (Lord’s prayer), “enter his courts with thanksgiving and his gates with praise.”—pray for his will, daily needs, forgiveness and protection and deliverance- and glory brought to His name through it all.
(I Thessalonians 5:16-24) “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil. May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it.”
(Luke 18:1) “Then Jesus told His disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.”
2. Talk to Him: The Lord wants to talk to you! –Conversation is 2 way! Listen as well! “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
(Exodus 33:11) “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.”
(Psalm 27:8) “My heart has heard you say, ‘Come and talk with Me.’ And my heart responds, ‘Lord, I am coming.”
3. The Word:
(John 1:1 & 14) “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning……………………….The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
(John 6:35) “Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me will never go hungry, and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty.”
(Psalm 138:2) “I will bow down toward Your holy temple and will praise Your holy name for Your love and faithfulness, for You have exalted above all things Your name and Your Word.”
4. Obey/have a teachable spirit and allow Him to correct you:
(I Samuel 15:22-23) “To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.”
(John 14:21) “Whoever has My commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves Me. He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I too will love him and show Myself to him.”
(Proverbs 7:2-3) “Keep My commands and you will live; guard My teachings as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.”
(Hebrews 12:5-6) “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He purifies everyone he accepts as a son.”
(Proverbs 16:20) “Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.”
(Proverbs 6:23) “For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life.”
II. Different levels
1. Top of the mountain-Moses: This level is complete love, trust, and devotion to God. You seek God for who He is and to just be with Him and not for just what He can do for you. He is your God, but He is also your friend and your Father. Moses spoke to God face to face, He obeyed Him, trusted Him, and followed Him. When you are this close to God it will show and you will shine the glory of God.
(Exodus 19:20) “And the Lord called Moses to the top of the Mountain, and Moses went up.”
(Exodus 34:29) “When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord.”
2. Almost to the top-Joshua: This level is almost at the top; you are seeking God to be with Him, you love, trust, and obey Him, but there are still areas in your life for you to conquer and things to learn.
(Exodus 24:13) “Then Moses set out with Joshua his aide, and Moses went up on the mountain of God.”—They both went up to the top, but at the very top only Moses went and spoke face to face with God.
3. On the mountain but not at the top-Aaron, the elders: This level is for those who seek the Lord, study the Word, and go to and are involved in the Church activities and worship, but the worship is not where it needs to be yet. You are on the mountain of God but not at the top yet. You still have issues in your heart and you cannot keep the issues in your heart, the garbage of past hurts, and expect to have full, complete, sincere devotion to God.
(Exodus 24:14) “He said to the elders, ‘Wait here for us until we come back to you. Aaron and Hur are with you, and anyone involved in a dispute can go to them.”
4. Foot of the mountain: This level is for those who have just been saved. You are at the very beginning stage of your growth with still very much of the world and past hurts for God to clean up and to heal. You want to hear from God but are still weak in your faith; it has not been perfected yet and fear gets the best of you a lot when a severe trial comes your way. The Israelites, who were at this level, were afraid when they saw the glory of God on Moses. People who are lost or are not quite sure of their identity in Christ are just as afraid of someone they can see clearly shining the love and glory of God. They are afraid because it makes them aware of their own shortcomings.
There is never a reason for us to be afraid, for God loves us just as we are; all you have to do is come and surrender all and He will take care of the rest. (I John 3:1) “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God.” “He is the potter, we are the clay.” He will not give up on you and what God starts, He also finishes. (Philippians 1:6) “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
(Exodus 34:30) “When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him.”
As you let God work in you and transform you, He will drive all fear out of you. Trust yourself in the mighty hands of the Creator, Father, and Savior. As long as you stay faithful and do not give up you will grow spiritually and make it to the top of the mountain.
(I John 4:16-18) “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the Day of Judgment because in this world we are like Him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
III. A Choice to make
(Deuteronomy 30:19-20) "I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the LORD your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him.”
You are as close to God as you want to be. How close are you and what are you willing to endure for Him? He died for you, are you willing to trust Him to lead you, transform you, heal you, and bring you victory? His love is everlasting and you cannot escape it. Just trust, obey, and worship Him and He will lead you the rest of the way. You will make it to the top of the mountain if you do not give up.
(Galatians 6:9) “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
He will always be faithful, when people are not, even when you pull away and sin, as you do for your children, He will be there to take your hand again.