A Recipe for a Personal Relationship With GodApr 23, 2021
How to Have a Relationship With God
Your personal relationship with God is the most important relationship you will ever have. I believed in God my entire life but I didn’t understand how to have a relationship with him or why it was so important for the longest time.
But after surrendering my life to Jesus and finding God for myself, I understand that building a relationship with God is essential to loving God and to experiencing God’s best in all areas of my life.
In this blog post, we will discuss why it’s important and how to develop your own personal relationship with God, specifically:
- How loving God is the foundation and how to love God more
- How to find God and how to develop a relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ
- How to have a relationship with God and how to build this relationship
- What a covenant relationship with God means
- How to communicate with God & how God speaks to us
- What can prevent you from knowing or experiencing God in your life
Why A Personal Relationship with God is Important
God created each one of us to have a personal relationship with him. We were created in his image, for a purpose to fulfill the specific plans he has for each one of us.
But in order to fulfill the plans he has for us, we need to rely on God. We need to know who he is, who we are as his children, and how to accomplish what he has called us to do through the power of the Holy Spirit.
For most of my life, I felt like something was missing. I was trying to figure out my purpose in life, trying to figure out what made me happy, but I always felt this void in my life.
And God showed me that the void in my life was him. He was the missing piece. I was trying to find myself, but I should have been focused on finding God.
I was created by God to love and serve him, to be in a relationship with him, but I was trying to do life without him.
And the Bible tells us that God lives inside of us through the Holy Spirit that is given to us when we surrender our life to Jesus.
“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” - Romans 5:5-6
The love of God is poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. God completes us and he equips us to do what he has called us to do through his love and power that lives inside of us.
This is why we cannot live this life without God. This is why people spend their whole life trying to find love and happiness, but never finding it. Only God can provide this love; he designed us that way.
Without God, we cannot do what we were created to do. We are living life incomplete when we try and do things without God.
And a relationship with God is essential experiencing God and accomplishing what he created us to do.
A Recipe for a Personal Relationship with God
Establishing a personal relationship with God or finding God doesn’t have to be complicated. Building a relationship with God is similar to how you develop other relationships in your life.
I want you to think of some of the closest relationships you have with others in your life. How did you build those relationships? How do you maintain those relationships over time? How do you show or express love in those relationships?
We are going to discuss the key components of a relationship with God and practical ways you can build your relationship in each area.
- Spending time together
God wants a relationship with you out of love. God isn’t about religion, he wants you to come to him and spend time with him out of love, not out of obligation.
But how do you love God? What if you want to love God but you just don’t feel it?
To understand how to love God, you need to first understand how he loves you.
The world tries to define what love is, but when we read the Bible, we see that God created love and shows us what love is through Jesus.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” - John 3:16
“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8
God is telling us that he loved us so much, that he sacrificed his only son, Jesus, to die on the cross for our sins, while we were still sinners.
God wanted to save us, even in our sin, and he did this by giving up his son for us. God wanted to reconcile us to him, he wanted us to be set free from the power of sin and he wanted to forgive us and make us new.
Loving God becomes more natural the more you read the Bible and understand what God has done for you.
And as you read God’s Word, the more you’ll understand how much God loves you and the easier it will be to become rooted in Christ.
And when you are rooted in Christ and in his love for you, you’ll start to desire and love God more.
As I was reflecting on what it means to have a personal relationship with God, I realized that God doesn’t actually use the term “relationship” in the Bible.
He doesn’t tell us to have a relationship with him, God tells us to love him.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.” – Matthew 22:37-38 NIV
God calls us to love him with all our heart, but how do we practically love God?
How do we show love for God?
We see in the Bible that we show love for God by obeying his commands.
"If you love Me, keep My commandments.” – John 14:15
"By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” – 1 John 5:2-3
God wants a relationship with you that is based on love. And we are called to obey God out of love for him, not out of fear of him or out of obligation to follow a bunch of rules.
It’s similar to how kids are supposed to obey their parents. Parents set rules for their children to protect them, and kids are called to obey out of love and respect for their parents.
We also see in John 15 that Jesus commands us to love others.
“This is my command: Love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.” - John 15:12-14 CSB
So we can show love for God by loving others.
As we talked about above, God showed his love for us by sacrificing Jesus to die on the cross for us. And it is through faith in Jesus that we are saved and reconciled to God.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come… All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17-19 NIV
We cannot have a relationship with God without acknowledging what Jesus did for us.
“Jesus answered, `I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me…. Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” John 14:6, 9
God wants us to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, meaning that we confess that we are sinners, that Jesus already died for us, and that we choose to follow Jesus and his ways.
“because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” – Romans 10:9-10 ESV
So how do you build a relationship with God? Where should you start?
A relationship with God starts with faith in Jesus Christ.
A relationship with God starts with acknowledging that you are a sinner and that Jesus died on the cross for your sins.
It starts with surrendering your life to Jesus, by choosing to follow Jesus as your Lord and Savior. It starts with repenting from your sins and believing that you have been forgiven by the blood of Jesus that was shed on the cross.
If you’ve never surrendered your life to Jesus, I encourage you to pray for Jesus to come into your life right now. You can come up with your own prayer, or pray the prayer below.
Jesus is the way to knowing God and surrendering your life to Jesus will be the best decision you’ve ever made.
God, I thank you for sending your son Jesus to die for my sins.
I confess that I am a sinner and I need a Savior. I believe that Jesus died on the cross for my sins and that I am forgiven.
Today, I surrender my life to Jesus Christ. I accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior and I choose to follow him with my whole heart. Jesus, I invite you to come into my life.
I thank you that I am filled with the Holy Spirit, and that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in me.
As a child of God, I declare that I am saved and that heaven is my home. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Now that you know how to establish a personal relationship with God through love and faith in Jesus Christ, it’s important to know how to communicate with God.
Communication is essential in any relationship. It’s essential to get to know each other and to maintain the relationship.
A personal relationship with God also requires communication. God wants us to talk to him and he wants to speak to us.
Unlike our other relationships, we can’t communicate with God through text or Instagram comments. But with God, we have the ability to talk to him at any time in any place.
So how do we communicate with God?
Prayer is one of the main ways we communicate with God. Through prayer, we talk to God and share our wants, needs, and desires.
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” – Mark 11:24 ESV
But prayer doesn’t always have to be this formal, super spiritual thing. God wants us to talk to him throughout the day as we invite him in to all areas of our life.
Picture talking to God as if you were talking to your best friend. God wants you to be able to tell him anything, and he cares about all the big and little things in your life.
How does God speak to us?
Communication is a two-way street and it’s also important to understand how God speaks back to us.
God can speak to us in many ways, but it’s important to understand that God primarily speaks to us through the Holy Spirit and through the Bible.
God primarily speaks to us through the Holy Spirit inside of us. A lot of people think that God speaks through external signs and wonders in our life or through an audible voice. God certainly can speak that way, but it is not the most common way he communicates with us.
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” – John 14:26
When you surrender your life to Jesus, you are filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit’s purpose is to reveal God’s truth to us, to guide us, to convict us. And the Holy Spirit is how God speaks to you personally.
It is difficult to know God without reading the Bible. If you are looking to have a better relationship with God, start reading his Word more.
God also speaks to us when we read the Bible, his Word. As read the Bible, the Holy Spirit will speak to you personally as you read a certain scripture or passage.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16
God’s Word is like reading the heart of God. The Bible is your life manual. It has all the answers. Trying to live life with God without reading the Bible is like trying to operate a large piece of equipment without reading the operating manual.
You are the large piece of equipment, and in order to figure out what you’re supposed to do and how to live, you need to study God’s Word.
And hearing others talk about the Bible and share what they learned from bible verses is not enough. You need to be reading the Bible for yourself. You need to learn how to hear God speak to you.
Don’t Forget to Listen
In any conversation, it’s important to listen.
As you spend time reading the Bible and pressing in to your Holy Spirit, with any conversation, it’s important to listen.
I am still working on sitting in silence with God. It’s easy for me to worship, to sing and pray to God, but it’s harder for me to sit and wait for God to speak to me.
As you spend time talking to God in prayer and reading the Word, make sure you set aside some time to listen.
Spending Time Together
God wants to spend time with you. Just like with any relationship, spending time together helps you get to know each other.
Since God is the most important relationship you’ll ever have, it’s so important to put God first and make God a priority in your schedule. I experienced the biggest growth in my spiritual growth when I started making time for God every day.
A lot of people refer to spending time with God as their “quiet time with God”, but my husband likes to call it his “God time” since he loves to worship and sing loudly in the mornings.
And you’ll probably hear a lot of people talk about their time with God in the mornings, but your time with God doesn’t have to be in the morning.
The important thing when it comes to spending time with God is finding something that works for you.
While I’ve found that having my time with God in the morning sets me up right for the day, if you work early in the morning or are not a morning person, find a different time throughout the day to set aside for God.
So what do you do during this time together? How do you get to know God?
Again, the key is finding something that works for you and defining how you are going to grow spiritually. But incorporating a mix of reading the Bible, prayer, and worship are great ways to spend time with God. You can also journal or go for a walk, or whatever else you do that makes you feel close to God.
If you’re looking to start a relationship with God, focus on getting to know God. Reading the Bible and also attending church will help you learn about God and who he is.
God is a person, not a religion, and the more you read the Bible, the more you’ll learn the character of God and what he’s like.
If you're not sure where to start, you can download a free Spiritual Goals Worksheet that will provide you with examples of how you can spend time with God and help you define your own spiritual goals.
If you are ready to start reading the Bible more but don't know where to start, get more tips on how to read the Bible and download a 40-day summer devotional to help you start your day with God.
Being able to trust someone in a relationship is important. God wants you to trust him through faith, and he wants to be able to trust you that you’ll obey his ways and be faithful with what he has called you to do.
God is in control of the heavens and the Earth, and he wants us to have faith and trust that he is in control. When we try and make things happen on our own, we are essentially telling God that we don’t trust him.
God reminds us over and over again in the Bible that he is the one in control and that he is faithful. If you are having a hard time trusting God, keep reading the Bible. Read about God’s promises and all the miracles he’s performed for his people. He keeps his promises and he wants to do the same miracles in your life.
Covenant Relationship with God
Obeying God’s commands is another way we show that we trust God. Your relationship with God is a covenant relationship, meaning that God will keep his covenant to protect and provide for you if you keep the covenant to obey him and walk in his ways.
“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments." – Deuteronomy 7:9
When you think of a covenant relationship, think of a marriage between a husband and a wife. When they get married to each other, they make vows or a covenant to love each other and be there for each other. They make a covenant to be faithful to each other and to serve one another.
With God, he wants that same type of covenant relationship. He promises to be faithful to you and he wants you to be faithful to him.
“To the faithful you show yourself faithful,” Psalm 18:25 NIV
God wants 100% of your heart, not just 80% or even 99%. Would you think it’s okay to be faithful to a husband only 90% of the time, and then spend the other 10% with another man?
God wants us to be faithful to him 100% of the time by obeying and walking in his ways.
When we walk in his ways, we are telling God that we trust him. When we surrender our own desires and plans to follow God’s plans, we are telling God that we trust that he is in control and that we trust the plans he has for us.
While God wants us obey him and live out his Word, he knows we are human and make mistakes. He knows we aren't perfect. And he extends grace to us we confess our sins and ask for his forgiveness.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love that he had for us, made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace!” – Ephesians 2:4-5
God’s grace is a gift, it’s often undeserved but God extends us grace out of love.
He does not hold our past or our sins against us. When we turn to him with a true repentant heart, he is always there to extend grace toward us.
We will constantly need God’s grace throughout our lives as he transforms us to become more like Christ.
As we live out his Word in our lives, we are called to obey him out of love, not out of performance. And when we sin or make mistakes, we can rely on God to be there for us when we turn to him with open arms.
Everyone loves feeling appreciated in a relationship. Especially God. He loves when we express our thanks and praise to him. Singing songs of praise and worship and expressing thanks to God is a way we express our gratitude and love for God.
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” – Psalm 100:4 NIV
Expressing gratitude toward God also allows us to enter into his presence. I feel God’s presence the most around me when I’m worshipping him and singing praises.
We already talked about singing songs of worship and praise as a way to express gratitude, but we are called to worship God and worship no one but him.
We are called to worship God with our lives and to only worship him, not anyone or anything else in our lives.
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” – Romans 12:1
We are called to present ourselves as a living sacrifice to God. This means we can worship God with all that we do as we show our love and adoration for him.
Your relationship with God should be the most important relationship you have. God should be your top priority. He wants you to put him first above all areas of your life, even people.
It’s important to not put anything or anyone above God. When we put other things first, we are essentially making an idol out of those things.
What prevents you from knowing God? What can hinder you from developing a relationship with God?
The Bible tells us that nothing can separate us from God’s love, but there may be things in your life that are preventing you from experiencing God or from hearing his voice. If you want to have a better relationship with God, pray and see if God reveals any of the reasons below.
If you have any sin in your life that you haven’t surrendered to God, this may be preventing you from experiencing God.
God showed me that my drinking lifestyle had been holding me back from fully knowing God and experiencing the plans he had for me.
Disobeying God’s Commands in the Bible
We are called to obey God’s commands out of love and respect for God. If you are intentionally disobeying God’s Word, this may be why you don’t feel close to God.
The devil does not want you to be close to God. He will do anything he can to try and get you to follow the ways of the world instead of Jesus. He will put people, opportunities, and things in your life to tempt you away from God.
He will lie to you, trying to tell you that you aren’t worthy of God’s love or that God doesn’t have a plan for you.
When you feel like your thoughts are under attack, declare God’s Word and remind yourself who God is.
Putting Others Things or People Before God
The Devil tries to tempt you and lure you away from God in ways that are not always obvious. When you put other things or people first above God, you are essentially saying that they are more important than God which is not pleasing to God.
Ignoring the Holy Spirit
As discussed above, God created us to be filled with the Holy Spirit. When we ignore or avoid the Holy Spirit, we are ignoring God himself and how he wants to speak to us.
Do You Want to Grow Spiritually?
If you want to learn how you can take your relationship with God to the next level, download my free Spiritual Goals Worksheet to identify how you can grow closer to God in ten different areas.
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