Do you have a personal relationship? With God, that is. I was approached last week about how to strengthen our personal relationship with God, and it got me to thinking. (Uh-oh.)
First, what is a personal relationship? I think this may be different for everyone, because it is – personal. I know the Bible tells us about God's unfailing love for us, that He will always be there for us, and we are called to praise Him and Him alone.
I know in the Psalms, David sets a great example of his personal relationship with God. The very first chapter tells us blessed is the one who's “delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” Reading this has me feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit. I think that is part of the personal relationship; to feel His presence.
But the question was how to strengthen the relationship.
I know, for me, I strengthen my relationship by praising Him. There is a song by Matt Redman that says “Praise You in the morning. Praise You in the evening. Praise You when I'm young, and when I'm old. Praise You when I'm laughing. Praise You when I'm grieving. Praise You every Season of the soul.” To seek, and see, God in everything around you – to delight in Him -- and to praise Him no matter what. That is a strong relationship.
Meditating on the Word strengthens my relationship. To meditate you must be still; clear the distractions, and give full attention to Him. As you are reading the Word, allow God to speak to you by noticing a short phrase, or word. Be still, and allow Him to speak to your heart. It may not come in words. It may come in a feeling of presence, peace, warmth, joy, comfort.
Strengthen relationship through personal prayer time. Focus solely on seeking God. Thanking Him, praying for His intercession, asking for His provisions, giving Him glory for all he has done and will do. The Bible instructs us how to pray in Matthew 6: 9 – 13; also known as The Lord's Prayer.
Trust reflects a personal relationship. “Your will be done” (Matt 6:10). To trust that God answers prayers, not always in the way we want them to be answered, but in His way that He sees to be best for us. Remember, Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Seek Him and He will speak to you. That is a personal relationship.
Linda Yearout is a licensed clinical marriage and family therapist at Hope's Place.