For many of us, we’d say that pursuing a deeper relationship with God is our main priority. But when we look at the work and activities and life-things that fill our days and the thoughts that fill our minds, it’s clear that there’s a lot more room to seek Him with our whole hearts.
If the idea of knowing God more deeply tugs at your heart, keep reading, we’ve got some ideas for you!
Imagine an alive prayer life. Imagine the feeling of being used by Him to do meaningful work in your world. Imagine being able to feel security, clarity and even hope as you walk through a hard situation, because you understand that He’s in control, see how He’s working and know that He loves you! Imagine a relationship with God where you talk about Him, not like a concept, but as a person you know … because He is!
Here are some powerful ways to grow closer to God:
FIND OUT WHAT GOD LOVES & HATES
Have you ever had someone assume something about you that wasn’t true? It’s a weird feeling. It can even be upsetting. And when the person repeats the thing as if it were true, you feel like, “Man! Where are they getting this from? I wish they’d take the time to find out what I actually think! … What I’m actually like! It’s like they don’t even know me.”
Our God can feel the same way. He’s not an opinion-less force or an abstract concept!
The Bible tells us that there are things God loves and things He hates, people He draws close to and people He opposes, behaviors He abhors and behaviors that delight Him. The Bible is His way of opening His heart to us.
When you love someone, part of the joy of building your relationship with them is to find out what that person loves and hates. Be mindful of those things! And if you want to go even deeper, spend time understanding what’s wonderful about everything God loves and what’s horrible about the things He hates. (Hint: God loves “life” things and hates anything that brings “death.”)
So do your own study! Search the Scriptures and see what you can discover about what God loves. The awesome thing is that when you begin to understand His character, you begin to see the world through His eyes!
SPEND TIME WITH GOD ALONE IN NATURE
Sometimes the easiest place to hear God clearly is right in the middle of His creation. Get outside. Bring your Bible and your journal. Walk and pray. Sing to Him!
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” (Psalm 19:1-4)
“Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)
PRACTICE TRUE REPENTANCE
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:7-8)
And you’ve heard verses that say, “Repent! For the kingdom of heaven is near!” … Or maybe you’ve even heard someone holding a sign yell it on a street corner.
It’s important to understand what true repentance is, according to the Bible. Often the word “repent,” to a believer today has become synonymous with “feel bad about what you’ve done.”
But in the Bible, the word “repent” comes from a Hebrew word: teshuva. Teshuva means literally “to turn.” True repentance means turning away from sin and back to God by doing the right thing with a sincere heart.
What is sin? There’s only one definition of sin in the Bible: 1 John 3:4. Check it out!
And finally, once you know what to repent of, take the time, not only to ask God for forgiveness, but to make things right with anyone else involved as much as you can. You may need to:
- Replace stolen or broken things
- Make good on the promise you didn’t keep
- Rebuild trust through trustworthy behavior
- Repay what you may owe
- Offer a sincere apology
Ask God to show you how to make things right.
TURN ON A SCRIPTURE SOUNDTRACK
“… be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5: 18b-20)
An easy way to draw close to God is to create an atmosphere of worship in your home or car or wherever you are! Create a worship music playlist on Pandora or Spotify. Add in songs full of Scripture. Hearing His word, sung, is hearing his heart! You’ll be drawn closer to Him.
TURN YOUR INTERNAL MONOLOGUE INTO A PRAYER CONVERSATION
The last piece of advice comes from my mom – she said one day that in order to “pray without ceasing” (as we’re encouraged to in 1 Thessalonians 5), she turns her internal monologue into an ongoing conversation with God.
So let’s end with a little exercise. I’m going to give you a thought and you think about how you could turn it into a prayer:
- Wow! What a stunning sunset!
- Uggghhhh! I am not going to be able to get all of this done today – there’s just too much.
- This [FILL IN FAVORITE FOOD HERE] is AMAZING.
- I wonder how [FILL IN FRIEND’S NAME] is doing?
- I wonder what’s taking them so long.
Now it’s your turn.
We hope this article helped inspire you with practical ways to draw closer to God!