What You Must Know to Grow Closer to God

The answer to “How to get closer to God?” is much simpler than you might expect.

Hands raised in worship

Kyle WinklerBy Kyle Winkler
Author & Bible Teacher

I grew up in a good, religious household. Church was a weekly activity that Mom and Dad didn’t dare allow my brothers and me to miss. I can remember plopping myself on a hard, wooden pew at the back of the church and staring up at a life-sized statue of Jesus that hung on a cross at the opposite end of the room. That statue was symbolic of my relationship with the real Jesus—lifeless and distant. I thought surely He had greater cares than anything I was enduring.

My “A-ha” Moment

Thankfully my concept of Christ was radically changed in an “a-ha” moment—what I consider my salvation experience—at a more vibrant church, where I realized that Jesus is alive and personally interested in me. I came to understand that He is someone to draw close to and confide in. And because He is interested in my everyday life, I learned to depend upon Him for help in my struggles, and to change what needed to be changed. Suddenly, I was no longer at the back and Jesus at the front, but rather, He and I were together. It was the beginning of a deep relationship with God, unlike anything I had previously known.

The very purpose God sent Jesus to Earth was to remove what stands between us and Him.

Sadly, many Christians, regardless of denomination, experience this distance. Maybe what separates you from God is not rows of pews, but rather, guilt, regret or condemnation. Maybe it’s a feeling of unworthiness. Perhaps it’s the busyness of life. Whatever the reason, the very purpose God sent Jesus to Earth was to remove those things that stand between us and Him. God desires that we, like the first couple in the Garden, relate to Him, experience His friendship, and with it, His majesty and power.

 “How Do I Get Closer to God?”

A young lady wrote to me via Facebook: “How do I have the deep faith you speak of? How do I get closer to God?” I could almost hear the agony in her voice as she begged: “I just want to be happy and free.” This woman’s cry is not the only one. Rather, hers is the plea of most people that I come in contact with who crave the genuine joy and freedom that, whether they know it or not, is found in a close connection with the Creator. Thankfully, the answer to “How to get closer to God?” is much simpler than you might expect.

God Is Madly in Love with You

“God loves you” may seem like over-quoted Christian-ese. Yet there is nothing more profound than the revelation that the Creator of this vast universe absolutely cherishes you. God sent Jesus for you—because He so loves you(see John 3:16).

There is nothing more profound than the revelation that the Creator of this vast universe absolutely cherishes you.

In any relationship, whether with a friend or a spouse, the level of intimacy is a reflection of how much you perceive that he or she cares for you. The same can be said in relationship with God. When I misunderstood Jesus as someone ready to zap me dead for any mistake, I obviously held Him at a distance. Why get close to someone who is mad at you and may want to destroy you?

But God is not mad at you. Make no mistake: He despises your sin and ungodliness (see Romans 1:18), as a good parent that hates the sin but loves the sinner. He is madly interested in you. Let me convince you: You are created in God’s image (see Genesis 1:27). God does not despise His own image, does He? No, He loves it! Even when we miss the mark, the Bible declares that God still loves us: “But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

“How to get closer to God?” Know that God loves you. Remind yourself of this constantly. Speak aloud, “God loves me. God loves me. God—loves—me,” until it gets into your soul. I promise, you will naturally get closer to God when you take it to heart that He is madly, deeply in love with you.

Spending Time with God

People in love desire to spend lots of time with each other. They schedule days and evenings when they can go to dinner, watch a movie, or otherwise just enjoy each other’s company. In this atmosphere, intimacy is built, trust is gained, and secrets are shared. A relationship develops.

Love is spelled t-i-m-e. So if you love God, spend time with Him.

God is in love with you and desires to come close to you, but as in any relationship, you must reciprocate. “Love” is spelled t-i-m-e.So if you love God, spend time with Him. And I don’t just mean in church! A successful relationship cannot just be lived out publicly, but must include plenty of personal, one-on-one time. Take a seat on your couch, open your Bible, and think about the goodness and love of God. Often, I like to open up iTunes, play my favorite worship song, and sing my heart out to Him.

Just as there are various settings for a date, there are various ways and places to spend time with God. But you must be intentional about it. I promise, in these environments, it won’t take long until you discern His still, small voice. Soon you’ll be conversing with God while driving, brushing your teeth, eating lunch and throughout your everyday activities. That’s relationship!

It’s Up to You

“How to get closer to God?” It’s simple: Trust that He loves you. Take opportunities to personally experience His love. Only you control the throttle on the level of intimacy you have with God. As you draw near, so will He.

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