Obedience and Growing in the Lord
I John 3
24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.
Having a relationship with God is completely dependent on us. God is always there with his hand extended waiting for us reach back. The way we reach God is through reading the bible and prayer. People will some times say that God feels so far away. I know I have felt this way also. This is because I was neglecting the relationship. It takes time to grow a relationship with God. You can't just read a page of the Bible once a week and be expecting miraculous things to occur in your life. God requires some effort on our behalf. We have to become obedient to him. This means suspending our own desires and living for the will of God. The Christian life is a lot like reading the Bible, it is a perpetual revelation. The more you read the bible the more about God is revealed to you. To the point where it feels like you know him, like a friend. Likewise, the more you obey God, the more about your life he reveals to you.
When I first read the Old Testament, God seemed like a brutal overlord. I have heard lost people refer to him as the the punisher. He can be the punisher if you disobey him. The punishment can be life destroying. He does not want to have to punish anyone. The same as a father who loves his children, not wanting to have to punish them when they misbehave. This is an unfortunate side of growing, it can at times be painful. When we as believer stray away from God, he has to correct us to get us on the right path. Once we begin to obey God, he can start to move in our lives and the relationship begins to grow. As you walk with the Lord you can start to feel his presence in your life. At times he may feel distant, he has his reasons for that. Just keep living in obedience.
You may have issues in your life that you really wish weren't there and you want God to fix this situation. In order to do this, you must be incessant in prayer, and reading your bible. God will reveal things to you about what is causing this situation. There may be some serious sin goin on that God does not like. You must be obedient and work on getting rid of these sins. Luckily God can help you.
Philippians 4:13 - I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
John 15:7 - If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Romans 8:28 - And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Psalms 46:1 - God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Sin is the biggest barrier between us and God. God doesn't tolerate sin. He hates it. If we come to him with our sins and ask for his help, he will be more than happy to help. God is thrilled when we want to change our life and be more Godly. He will help us through our struggles, all we have to do is obey him. Everyday should start with prayer and at least some bible reading. Throughout the day we should also take time to pray. This does not mean kneeling down and praying. It can just be a silent prayer while driving or doing house work or anything. Some extra bible reading never hurts either. It is also a good idea to praise God no matter what. Try to make a habit of this, God appreciates it. It can be hard to praise God when your life is a nightmare, try to do it anyways. This is contradictory to human nature, but a lot of the time it is not God's fault we are in such a mess. Every time you eat you should bless the the meal. I always say grace before every meal. Some times I forget when I eat out, but the Holy Spirit always reminds me.
The more we focus on God and put him at the center of our life the more we grow in our relationship with him. God wants us to talk to him everyday. He wants to see our faith also. If there is a problem that you are going through, put your faith in God. He may not act instantly, but in time he will often deliver you out of a situation. God doesn't always do things the exact way we want him to, but he will see us through.
What does a relationship with God look like? Joy and peace that surpasses all understanding. Knowing that God has the power to see you through any situation. You have a rock to stand on. You will know that God loves you and wants to be your friend. You get to this point by your obedience to God, and letting him be the Lord of your life. This has nothing to do with salvation, that is a free gift to whomever believes that Christ shed his blood for our sins.
7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
I John 5
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
I Peter 1
14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: