That’s so…God!

“Yup that’s totally Him”.

Have you ever heard someone say that?  “That’s totally something they would say”  or “that sounds like them to do that” or “Man that doesn’t sound like Him/her at all.”  What does it assume? The person who says this about someone assumes some level of knowledge about this person; that they know this person well enough; that they have seen them in enough settings to know if this person would say something or do something specific. It assumes a level of knowledge. I’ve said this before but I truly believe we can get to a place where we can say that about God. As a matter of fact, I not only believe we can get to that place – but it would be great if we did; that we need to.
Why do I believe this is important? The more we know God’s leading in our lives – the more we can follow Him. The more we know God’s presence in our lives, the better able we can discern His voice; His teaching; His instruction; His feelings about us; and His leading. This can lead to powerful living as we move walking “In Step” with God’s Spirit.
And how do we get this discernment? Relationship with God over a long enough period of time. We need to build a relationship with Him and over time we will learn to more easily discern His movement in our lives. On Sunday we talked about how as Christians we are entered into a relationship with God and a relationship with His Church; and that we need to take this seriously; that because we can have a relationship with God – let’s go for it!!
So how do we do this?  How do we have a relationship with God? Well how do we have a relationship with anybody? On Sunday I gave you several ideas for how to deepen your relationship with God and they were very similar to how you would deepen your relationship with someone else:
1) Spend time with them
That could be done in a variety of ways. I think of all the ways i’ve spent time with my wife or my best guy friend Dan. We’ve worked together; laughed together; played together; had moments of emotional vulnerability. With my wife there have been wonderful moments of intimacy where i’ve felt deeply safe just being held and holding her. But in all of these things – spending time with someone is crucial in getting to know them. This is true with God as well. Do we spend time with Him?  It doesn’t always have to involve a Bible or have to be in a church. I’ve had wonderful times with God hiking in the mountains – and doing ministry with others. The reality is; we need to spend time with God. How often do you spend time with God? Do you have certain places where it seems a greater joy- or more powerful to you to spend time with God?
2) Get to know them
We need to get to know our friends. For us men; this can be challenging. We can be very recreational with each other – go fishing; watch football and yet never really get to the real stuff with each other. But if you want to have deep friends; this is an important movement; you’ve got to get to know the person. The same is true for God. How do we get to know Him?  Reading His Word; prayer; worship; relationship with others in His church and watching what He is doing in their lives. I want to get to a point where i’ve gotten to know God deeply, and intimately; to know His leading because I’ve seen and learned how He leads from my times of getting to know Him. How well would you say you know God? If God were moving in your life; would you know it? How would you know?
3) Talk with them
I would say this hint at deepening with God could be fit into the previous two categories – but I felt it was so essential to mention on its own.  My wife and I make it a very regular practice to have conversation time where we are talking about our day – our feelings and thoughts. We work hard to make this a daily occurrence. This needs to be true for us with God. We talk to Him – listen to Him – share our feelings and concerns. We have a daily conversation with a God who is there. How often do we talk to God? Is He someone we come to as a last ditch; last resort; or is He where we turn to first?
4) Avoid things that would hurt them or your relationship with them
This is where sin is so destructive. It builds a wall of rebellion between us and God and can deeply mess things up. I might choose to wage war against sin in my life not because it dooms me – No Jesus has saved me; I choose to wage war against sin because it hurts my relationship with God and in the end; He is better than all the sugar sweet sin this world has to offer; that ultimately leads to nothing but illness. Are there any behaviors that are hurting your relationship with God? Dietrich Bonhoeffer said this about impurity and lust: “If the eye is full of impurity – how can one see God.”  Man isn’t that profound? If we fill our heart; our minds and our eyes with impure things; is it any wonder we cannot see or experience God? Are there any behaviors or thought patterns that keep us from Him?
These are 4 hints for deepening in your relationship with God.  My hope is that while these questions asked in each category are a bit difficult and may lead us to feel guilty – that you would read them in light of God’s amazing forgiveness and grace to you. I’m convinced God wants more for us than we are wanting for ourselves. We are happy to settle – and yet He wants more because He loves us and wants to give us much more. May we be willing to keep walking with Him and to grow in our relationship…
Be blessed this week my friends,
Ryan