How Close Are We to God?

[Article written by Matt Nevins. Originally published in his email newsletter “The Lamp.”]

When studying God’s inspired word, it is very encouraging to read of examples of people who were very close to God. The relationships that we maintain can either make us stronger, or could destroy us at the same token. Relationships are essential necessities in our lives. Christians understand that God must come first above all things (Mt. 6:33), and furthermore our relationship with God will determine our destination for eternity- heaven or hell (Rom. 6). Is the relationship we have with God as strong as it ought to be, or is God as a mere acquaintance? There is no other relationship more important than the one we have with God!

Looking at the Old Testament, there are several examples of men and women who maintained a close relationship with God. I would like to examine just a couple of examples of men who were noted as being very close to God. By looking at the examples found in the Scriptures, we can learn so much of how God expects his creation to live. Paul noted in Romans 15:4 that we can learn from the example given to us by the things written earlier in the Old Testament.

The first example to be considered in this study is the life of Enoch. We find in Genesis 5:21-24 that Enoch was not for God took him. Enoch was one of two men that were specifically noted to have walked with God (Gen. 5:22). The other man who walked with God was Noah, Enoch’s grandson (Gen. 6:9). Enoch did not taste death because he walked with God. This simply means that Enoch lived in harmony with God. For any man to be in harmony with God, man needs to be in subjection to the will of God. We find in Hebrews 11:5 Enoch had a witness, or a testimony, of how he was pleasing to God. Enoch had established this reputation by how he lived. This was not a one time event, but rather a lifetime commitment! We can walk with God like Enoch if we live to please God and maintain our faith (Heb. 11:5-6). We need to strive for that kind of relationship.

Abraham was close to God, in James 2:21-23 we read of Abraham being referred to as the friend of God. Abraham had the close relationship with God that we need to strive for today. Abraham was faithful to God throughout his life when he left Ur and was willing to sacrifice Isaac to God (Heb. 11:8-10; 17-19). God needs to be our closest friend, but in many cases people do not want to give God the time of day like we do for our other friends. Knowing how to develop this relationship like Enoch and Abraham will help us become closer to God.

Knowledge is necessary in order to have a good relationship. If I want to have a relationship with another person, I need to know what kind of person he/she is as well as some common interests that we may have. God has offered us His word in order for us to learn of Him. God already knows us perfectly and knows what is best for us. We need to make the decision if we want to be reconciled to God.

People need to realize that if we do not have the right relationship with God, we will be doomed for all of eternity. Hosea told the Israelites in Hosea 4:6 that God’s people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge. In order for people today to gain knowledge of God, it is going to take time in studying the Bible. It will requires intense study to be the workman that is not ashamed, who rightly divides the word of truth as described in 2 Timothy 2:15. For man to be complete, fully furnished for every good work, every man must know God’s inspired word (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Without God, we are nothing and have nothing!

Another paramount aspect of any relationship is communication. In our relationships with friends, we know that those who talk daily with each other are closer friends than people who only talk to each other once a month. If we go without talking to a friend for an extended amount of time, would the relationship survive? The answer is no. To have a strong and healthy relationship, communication must take place on both sides of the table.

The same is true in our relationship with God. If we go for long periods of time without praying to God, our spiritual lives will be very weak, making it easy to fall away from the truth. God has already told us what He wants in the relationship through the Scriptures. Now it is our turn to return the communication. Paul said to pray without ceasing in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. Prayer is the avenue that allows us to communicate with God. We are able to talk to other people face to face and discuss anything that may be on our minds. Are we able to tell God anything as well? Are we able to pray at any time and in any situation, or do we pray just out of habit as a meaningless ritual? Answering these questions will show the status of the relationship that you have with God.

Jesus prayed to God on several occasions. Right before Jesus was about to be arrested, Jesus was in prayer to God in the Garden of Gethsemane. Luke records for us the intensity that Jesus was praying and the agony He was feeling in Luke 22:44. Jesus was aware that His hour was rapidly approaching and did not desire to endure the suffering as a man. Yet He prayed knowing the will of God and said to let God’s will be done. Communication is vital in any relationship; remember to pray at any opportunity, whether it is in times of joy or of suffering.

The best relationships have individuals that are honest and faithful to the other. Fidelity is something that is not strived for in today’s society. This is evident when we look at figures like to crime rate across the country, divorce rates, and at businesses where cheating and dishonesty are the means in order to achieve a promotion. Fidelity is a jewel that has been thrown out the window by society. Society says to look out for #1 and do not concern yourself with others. However, the rules and philosophies of society will not save us on the Day of Judgment.

God has told us that He will always be faithful to us (1 Cor. 10:13). Will we be faithful to Him? We are told in order to be rewarded with heaven that we must keep busy and remain immovable in our convictions and desire to serve God (1 Cor. 15:58, Gal. 6:7-10, 2 Tim. 4:6-8, Heb. 11:6, Rev. 2:10). God considers faithfulness very seriously and we should too. This relationship that we have with God is not a game to play around with whenever it is convenient. Unfortunately this is exactly how some people view this relationship. We are either with God or against Him, we cannot straddle the fence!

The Bible is explicit when it discusses the lines that are drawn between good and evil, between righteousness and sin, between God and Satan. Paul said that those who would walk contrary to God have become enemies of the cross (Phil. 3:18-19). We are either a servant of God or of sin (Rom. 6:16, 20-23). Jesus said that we cannot serve both God and mammon (Mt. 6:24). God has drawn the lines, which side are you on? Remember that there is no middle ground with God and we are either with Him or against Him!

The Israelites in the Old Testament were guilty of trying to straddle the fence as well and were called adulteresses and harlots (Hos. 3:1, 4:15, Ams. 2:7-8, 5:25-27)! We are not able to be pleasing to God and serve our own desires at the same time. God will not allow it and will punish us for it on the Day of Judgment (Rom. 6:23). Like Amos said in chapter 3 and verse 7 and 8, “Surely the Lord does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to the prophets. A lion has roared! Who will not fear? The Lord has spoken! Who can but prophesy?” Amos had told the Israelites of the destruction that would befall them if they did not repent. Judgment is coming, “Prepare to meet your God!” (Ams. 4:12).

God needs to be the closest friend we have. He has shown us His love by extending grace through Jesus Christ (Jno. 3:16, Eph. 2:4-6) and by providing for our every physical need (Mt. 6:33, Jms. 1:17). God has been and will always be there for us. There is no one that is able to be as faithful as God. He has done all of these wonderful things for us so that we may desire to have the right relationship with Him. God desires to have a special people that will strive to be close to Him. Will we be the people who are close to God like Enoch, Noah, Abraham, David, and others, or will we only be a mere acquaintance? It is our choice to make for ourselves. No one can make the decision for us neither can we make the decision for another. Consider these things and see how close you are to God.

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