Committing to a deeper relationship is not a small undertaking. This commitment calls us to a place that is not comfortable or natural for us humans. Jesus tells us in the book of John chapter 14:
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple."
That is radical and not easy. Jesus is calling us into a deeper, satisfying, and rewarding relationship with Him, but it is never going to be an easy thing. We are called to daily deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow him. What does that mean? We talked about that Sunday in Ruth 3. Ruth had to make steps to prepare herself to go to Boaz to propose a relationship, then when the proposal was made she had to submit to him.
Like Ruth there are steps we need to take to move into a deeper relationship with God. We have to come to him having asked forgiveness for our sin, then we should separate ourselves form the sin that drags us down. Paul tells us this very plainly in Hebrews 12:1 that we should “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that entangles us.” He uses a pretty aggressive language there; throw off. When we confess our sin, Jesus forgives us freely, but we have to be proactive about separating ourselves from those things that will keep us from a deeper relationship with Him. We, then, should be obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit and completely submit EVERYTHING to God. This is where it becomes hard.
Do you honestly want a deeper and closer relationship with God? Think of a close relationship you have. For me it is with my wife, Penny. Our relationship hasn’t always been what it is and it still isn’t perfect, but it is very close. I can tell her anything and she can tell me anything. Do we always want to hear everything? No, but we receive it. Because we have worked individually on our walk with the Lord we have become closer to each other. When I am not with her I think about her and when I am, I feel content and happy. Does this describe your relationship with God? As believers, we should long for that kind of relationship with God. We should be willing to do whatever it takes to attain to that kind of relationship. But God needs to be more important than the things that are keeping us from a deeper relationship. God needs to be more important than our time, talent, and treasures.
What are the implications of a deep relationship with God? First of all, when we submit to him and trust him for the outcome of every circumstance it removes anxiety and worry from us. We, like Paul, learn to be content in whatever circumstance we find ourselves. We are able to give thanks in every circumstance. Then, we will no longer focus on ourselves and our problems. God will then open our eyes to see areas where we can serve other people. There is a great satisfaction and blessing involved in helping to meet the physical and spiritual needs of others. When we are walking in step with God we make sure our families are walking with us. We are better husbands and wives, better parents, better sons and daughters, better employees and employers, better friends, and better church members. The Holy Spirit will gives us a love for the church and we will not want to miss meeting together. Our churches would thrive because we will naturally be who we are intended to be. When we are in this deep relationship we will be disciples who make disciples.
Why wouldn’t we want all of this? The secret is being willing to be obedient in all things. God doesn’t want to kill your plans for your life. He wants your plans to be His plans, and His plans are perfect for you. The happiness and satisfaction you are chasing are found squarely in a deeper relationship with Him, the Giver of all things.