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ORIGINAL Relate - Source of True Life

Relate

Our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.

(1 John 1:3-4)

Since you are here, it means you have found salvation through Jesus Christ and have started your faith journey. Praise God! You are here because you want to proceed further. If that is what you desire, please know – that is what God wants as well. God wants a personal relationship with you. As you read further, you will discover how that can happen.

The Nature of God to Whom We Relate

To relate to God, it is important to know God’s nature (who God is). The nature of God is revealed throughout the Bible, but no words make it clearer than the ones Jesus said, “God is spirit . . .” (John 4:24). That truth may strike you as eerie or other-worldly, but it needs to be understood in the context of the universe in which we live and about which we do not understand everything.

Those who study the universe know that there is an energy force that cannot be seen and represents as much as 70% of the mass of the universe – but they do not know what it is. That energy force, in our belief, is the very Spirit of God – existing, holding all things together and guiding the future. We cannot see the Spirit of God, but, we believe by faith, that God’s Spirit exists. Further, we need to understand that God is multi-dimensional. God is known not just as a Spirit, but in two other important ways.

Because of the sinfulness of humanity that shattered humanity’s relationship with God (explained on earlier pages of this website), God came to this earth in human form. That became possible when God’s Spirit settled upon a virgin in the town of Nazareth by the name of Mary. God’s Spirit conceived a human baby within her (Luke 1:26-38). That baby was Jesus who, in God’s plan, was sent to rescue us from sin and restore the relationship with God that had been broken
(John 3:16-17). This miraculous occurrence was a miracle that only God could engineer and revealed the other facets of God’s existence – Father and Son.

The Spirit of God fathered Jesus within Mary’s womb. God was the Father; Jesus addressed Him that way (John 10:30 and Luke 23:34 are only two of many instances). And Jesus was the Son, the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:13-16). He died for our sins, was laid in a tomb, was resurrected from the dead, ascended into the heavenly realm (Acts 1:6-11) and spiritually exists there, even as we do in Him (Ephesians 1:4-7).

The nature of God in three forms – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is known as the Trinity of God, a concept that baffles many. Hopefully, what we just shared will remove some of the mystery. It is important to understand that God is known in these ways, because we relate to God through all of them. So, we can call God . . .

Father – our spiritual parent who gave us life, through Jesus, to become children of God,
Jesus – Immanuel (God with us), born of the Spirit of God, Savior and Lord,
Spirit – Creator and guiding force of the universe to whom we connect.

Because Jesus called God Father and we can too, some of the references to God on this website are declared in the masculine, Him. Understand, however, that God is neither male nor female. God is Spirit (John 4:24).

Just as God is multi-dimensional, humans are too. God has three forms and so do you. You were created in the very image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). You are a physical body (flesh and blood), a soul (feelings and emotions) and a spirit (the very essence of your being that, as we will see, was meant to connect to and relate with God). In sin, your spirit is lifeless (spiritually dead) until it is regenerated through your acceptance of God’s salvation plan in Jesus. When you are born again by believing that God exists, that Jesus died on a Cross for your sins and was resurrected from the dead, and by declaring that Jesus is Lord, you become alive in spirit (Ephesians 2:1-7).

All of us will physically die at some point, an unavoidable reality. But your spirit (made alive in Jesus Christ) will never die (John 11:25-26). When physical death occurs, you continue in the presence of God, in spirit, in the heavenly realm forever (Luke 23:42-43). Your relationship with God begins immediately when you surrender your life to Jesus and will never end. That connection with God has begun if you have made Jesus Savior and Lord and will continue to get stronger as you draw closer to the One who has given you life. Let’s explore this relationship in more depth.

The Type of Relationship

You have become a child of God through your commitment to Jesus Christ. Here are some important facts about the type of relationship you have embraced:

It is personal, rather than knowledge-based

Before you entered this relationship, you probably only knew about God. You knew of Him. Your understanding was based on some belief of His likely existence. Now you should know God – that He exists, that His presence is real, and you can relate personally. The Spirit of God is everywhere; it fills the universe (Jeremiah 23:23-24). God does not just exist somewhere far away, but exists right where you are, filling your being and surrounding you every moment. The great God of the universe is personally connected to you. Embrace Him.

It is intimate rather than distant

God knows you intimately (Psalm 139:1-4). God is all-knowing. God knows everything about you – your thoughts, actions, and movements, even before they occur. Do not let that frighten you. Open your life to Him more completely.

It is freely given rather than coerced

God does not force Himself on anyone.  His presence and existence in your life is freely given (I Corinthians 2:12). He will allow Himself to be found and enjoyed by anyone who reaches out to Him. Though there is no coercion, God does expect you to respond to His initiative and follow after Him (Matthew 4:18-20).  Respond to His gracious openness to you.

It is based on love rather than judgement

Your relationship with God is based on love, not judgment. That is because God is love (1 John 4:15-16). God loves you with a love that will never end (Lamentations 3:22-24).

You are to return that love with strong commitment. Jesus said this, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). The judgment of God against sin in your life was removed by Jesus at the Cross of Calvary. All your sins were taken away and God remembers them no more (Hebrews 8:12). If you used to walk in fear of God and what He might do to you, you can now live in peace, assured that God’s love has overcome your fears and will continue to help you resist temptation and sin. Abide in God’s enduring love.

Friend rather than foe

Since God loves you and has personally connected with you, you are God’s friend, not His enemy. As a friend, God will walk with you as He does with all of His children. God’s presence is with you, as it was with Adam and Eve long ago (Genesis 3:8) and is available to you every minute of every day, forever! How awesome is that? Let God be your friend.

Reciprocal rather than one sided

God’s relationship with you is reciprocal; it is a two-way connection. God reached out to you and initiated the relationship through Jesus. You took the hand of God extended to you and connected in faith (Jeremiah 29:10-14). You will mutually interact in this relationship (James 4:8).  Freely engage in your mutual line of connection.

How We Relate

Having a better understanding of the type of relationship you have with the God, let’s look at the different ways you can relate.

Your Daily Routine

Any moment of the day is an opportunity to relate to God. Though other things will occupy long slices of your time throughout the day, God cherishes your acknowledgement of His presence, even when it’s only a few short moments. Start by greeting the Lord every morning when you awake, even before your feet hit the floor. Let your acknowledgment continue throughout the day at various points – in devotions, when you thank God for the food you eat and other blessings, when you take moments to not only acknowledge but worship Him. God wants to be part of your daily life.

Seeking the Kingdom First

Jesus said, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33). When we seek God’s Kingdom as a priority, we are seeking Him, for He is the Master of it all. Seeking the Kingdom first will result in a stronger relationship with God.

Reading the written Word, the Bible, that declares His will.

Because God’s Spirit lives within you, it will not be unusual for you to hear God speak through a verse or passage of scripture. Sometimes that verse or passage will seem highlighted on the page or speak directly to your heart. That is God present, relating and speaking to you!

Praying

Jesus prayed often; you should too (1 Thessalonians 5:17). When you speak with God in prayer, pause and give God time to share with you. God’s responses to your requests and outpourings are often heard if you take the time to listen.

Worshiping

God relates to His children in corporate worship and individual worship. Scripture calls us to worship the Lord, one of the key ways we relate to God (Psalm 100, 105). You may sense God speak to your heart when scripture is read, through the words of a sermon, through beautiful music or singing, or in other aspects of worship. Approach worship anticipating and wanting God to speak to you. Jesus said, “God is spirit, and they that worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). Heeding Jesus’ words, you will hear God more clearly if you worship in spirit, from deep within your inner spirit.

Conversing with God

If God is real to you and you are to relate to Him, talking with God at times other than prayer is okay. You do not have to refrain from speaking or be embarrassed by it if others are nearby. It becomes  a natural part of your relationship, as is conversation with your friends. Your speaking with God can be aloud or silent; God hears your words and knows your thoughts. What some struggle with is when they do not audibly hear what God is speaking to them. God speaks to you at one time or another through all of the ways identified here, plus more. The key is to listen.

Being Baptized in the Spirit

Acts 19:1-7 shares the story of believers who were not aware of this wonderful possibility. When you are baptized in water, some ministers will pray that you receive the anointing of God’s Spirit, but some do not. The baptism of the Holy Spirit does not save you. Praying the sinner’s prayer, confessing sin, and receiving Jesus as Savior does. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is an extension of your salvation experience in which you are filled to overflowing with God’s Spirit to empower you (Acts 1:8), teach you (John 14:25), guide you (Acts 16:13), give you spiritual gifts (I Corinthians 12:7-11) and much more. The baptism of the Holy Spirit will only make your relationship with God stronger. Pray for it; ask God to fill you to overflowing. For more information, please click here. We invite you to return to this page when you are ready.

Transforming Your Mind

When Paul wrote to the Christians at Rome, he shared this important scripture, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern 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” (Romans 12:2). We are bombarded by so much in our world today – news, commentary, and talk shows – just to name a few. Not everything that is conveyed through these on television, the Internet, social media, or other communication vehicles will feed our soul or help us relate to God. To the contrary, much of it is worldly, even evil, and conforms us to worldly thinking and actions. Paul shared that we need to have our minds transformed, so that we can understand the perfect will of God and, in the process, relate to Him as we should.

An interesting exercise is taking stock of what feeds your mind and your soul. Is it being filled predominantly with God-honoring material or less-than-God-honoring material? Transformation will not happen in our lives when we feed primarily on worldly fodder. To strengthen our relationship with God, remember this – “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things(Philippians 4:8).

Expressing Gratitutde to God Frequently

Whatever you possess, whether in abundance or in poverty, and regardless of the life circumstances you are experiencing on any given day, good or bad, we are called to be thankful people. Paul said it this way, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). The gratitude we should all have needs to be expressed to God who makes all things possible and sees us through the storms and challenges that come. When we can be thankful to God through the ups and downs of life, we will be closer to God, our relationship strengthened.

Telling Others About God

Jesus commissioned every believer to be a witness for God and the Good News of His gift to the world (Acts 1:8). Jesus also said, “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven” (Matthew 10:32-33). Each time we share our faith with someone else, God is aware and pleased. Our relationship becomes closer.

Doing All for the Glory of God

If we want to be closer to God, we need to live for Him. We should do everything as if we were doing it for God. Many years ago when the apostle Paul was advising the Christians in Corinth, Greece, about faithful living, he said, “whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Relating to God in Every Life Circumstance

God relates to you during every event in your life, the good times and the difficult ones. God relates to you when you are making decisions, small or large. In these, God often reveals His will before you make them and confirms approval when done in His will. In all of life’s circumstances, God relates to you – in your study of the Bible, in prayer life, in worship, and in communication. When you are active in these, you will hear God and realize how strong your relationship with Him is.

All of these are part of a healthy relationship with God, whether you address God as Father (as Jesus did), as Jesus (in the heavenly places at the right hand of the Father) or as the Holy Spirit. Actively engage with God in all the ways documented here and your relationship with Him will grow beyond your expectations.

Other Facts About Your Relationship

God has desired a personal relationship with you even before you were born. Before you were conceived and saw the light of day on this earth, you were known by God in your mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5; Psalm 139:13-16). Since then, God has been waiting for you to connect.

God is Holy, without sin or, in any other way, defiled as humans (1 Samuel 2:2). Were it not for God’s love and grace, we could never connect and have a relationship with God. Because of God’s redemption plan through Jesus Christ, unworthy human beings are made worthy and have access to God now and forever (Ephesians 2:18). When God looks upon you, a redeemed believer, He sees the worthiness of Jesus Christ in you and welcomes you into His presence. This became abundantly clear the moment Jesus bowed His head in death on the Cross and the veil in the Temple, that kept people from the presence of God, was split apart (Matthew 27:51).

You can have a relationship with God despite these stark differences . . .

God is infinite; you are finite.
God is all knowing; you have limited understanding in comparison.
God is the Creator; you are His created being.
God is invisible; you are visible.
God is unchangeable; you change all the time.
God is perfect; obviously, you are not, none of us are.

Much of the dysfunction in human relationships is a result of our posturing and pretending and our attempts to protect ourselves from hurt and disappointment. There is no need to play these games with God, although we often still try. God is unchanging and always true to His character. He is utterly dependable.

God is always there for you, 24/7/365 – forever. God will never leave you nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6), even though you may ignore God’s presence for a short or long time.

You are free to be totally open and honest with God because He knows all about you anyway. God is completely attentive to and involved with you (Psalm 139:7-12). Your relationship with God must be grounded in forgiveness. God has forgiven you and expects you to forgive others. You cannot relate to God if you are out of relationship with others (Matthew 18:15-17 and 5:23-24). Begin the healing process with those with whom you have broken relationships and start making amends, believing that God heals all wounds.

Closing Thoughts

Some may say, ‘I struggle to relate to God and Jesus because I cannot see them.’ Jesus said, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (see the entire passage in John 14:8-11). When you read the gospels in the New Testament about the life and ministry of Jesus, your mind forms an image of Jesus that reflects holiness, love, compassion, peace, mercy, power, and the fruit of the Spirit. When you ‘see’ that image of Jesus, you are ‘seeing’ God. You are seeing them both because they are one. As you draw closer to God each day, that image will become clearer and your relationship with Him will grow.

Developing and growing a relationship with God is an ongoing process. God is always present and relating but we, sometimes, take breaks or drift away and stop relating. Whether you are relating and growing a stronger relationship with God is up to you. We encourage you to that end. But it takes time, for many a lifetime. Be patient.

Further Resources on Relating to God

Links to websites that offer more on relating to God

Books That Offer More On Relating to God

Conversations With God, Neale Donald Walsh

Experiencing the Presence of God, A. W. Tozer

Knowing God, J.I. Packer

Experiencing God, Henry and Richard Blackaby, Claude King

Discerning the Voice of God, Priscilla Shirer

ABCs of Christianity, Terdema Ussery

Crazy Love, Francis Chan

We hope that this page has been helpful and that you are aware of more ways to connect with God. CONTACT us if you want to share a testimony, ask a question, or make a comment about this site. If you leave our website at this time, we invite you to return when you can.

God bless you!