How To Have A Real Relationship With God
I want the following article to be an encouragement to all who read it. It might be one of the most important articles that have come out of our ministry here at For the Love of the Family. It will contain some life changing material, I hope it will change the lives of many who have the opportunity to read it and pass it on to others. Our desire is to help people who truly need and want help in their lives and in their homes.
The question is how do I start to have a real relationship with God? First of all you need to make sure you really are a Christian. You can never have a relationship with God unless you have really been saved. Do you know a time in your life that you realized you were a sinner and repented (turned from your sinful self and your dependence upon yourself) to Jesus who alone is the only one who can save you? Did you sincerely ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins and ask Him to come into your life and be your Saviour? You are not a Christian because you are a church member, been baptized, are a good person, etc. The Bible tells us very plainly “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23.We need to repent of our sins and ask Jesus to come into our heart and save us. Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Are you a Christian? If not, you can become a Christian right now. Stop where you are and pray this prayer. “Lord, I know that I am a sinner and I ask you right now to forgive me of my sins. I turn from my sins and myself to you and ask you to forgive me of my sins and to come into my heart and be my Saviour. I receive you now. If you did that, you are now born again or born from above. That is the place to start first. Now you can start a new life in Christ to have a personal, intimate, and passionate relationship with Him. He loves you and died for you and wants you to have an abundant life in Him. If you did make a decision for Christ, please let us know so we can rejoice with you and send you some material that will help you.
My wife, Kim, and I do For the Love of the Family meetings at different churches throughout the year. We also have a book table where we provide a wealth of information for those needing help in their lives with their marriage, children, or other matters of the Christian life. We hear from hundreds of people around the world on a regular basis who need help in these areas. Our church, Hope Baptist Church, of which I am the pastor, has a counseling center that is open to people needing help. In our meetings for For the Love of the Family, it never fails that after a service; a parent of a wayward child comes up and shares with Kim or me the painful demise of their child. It is always the same story only a different person. The pain and the agony by these parents breaks my heart. What is the answer here? Why are so many young people growing up in an independent Baptist church and then leaving their parent’s home and living a disastrous life? I hear this story hundreds of times a year. Many times parents weep and ask Kim and me the answer.
Many times I have heard a statement like this, “Pastor, I just do not know what happened. Our son/daughter grew up in this church. They attended the Christian school (or they were home schooled). We had family devotions and we made sure they read their Bible. In fact, they memorized many Bible verses. I just do not understand; can you help me understand?”
The painful answer is yes, I can. The short answer is your child did not have a real relationship with God. Parents still do not understand when I give them that answer. There is a woeful lack of understanding today on the subject of what Proverbs 22:6 means. Proverbs 22:6, Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old (means when he departs the house), he will not depart from it.
Let me start by giving a bit of my personal testimony regarding this. I got saved at the age of 19, just a few days short of my 20th birthday, and neither one of my parents were saved. I did not come from a Christian home. After I got saved, I began to attend an independent-fundamental Baptist church. I was on fire for God in the sense that I wanted to do something (very important statement you will understand later in the article). I began to run a bus route, and saw several children make professions of faith. I heard my pastor say, “Read your Bible through in a year.” So, I made an effort to read my Bible. As a young Christian I started in Genesis. I realize the Bible says “all scripture is profitable.” However, some scriptures are more profitable than others. It was not the place for me as a young Christian to start reading and after a while I became spasmodic at it, but still made an effort. I tried to pray and turned in a long list every day to God. Did I get answers to prayer? Not really. After about a year, I was discouraged and defeated. Maybe there is something wrong with me. Maybe I am not saved, I thought. I knew I had repented of my sin and asked Jesus into my heart. But still doubts lingered and I talked with my pastor several times. He was virtually no help except to say “read your Bible.” In fact, he was given too many doubts and fears as well in his life. Many of the families in our church lived worldly lives. Oh, they dressed properly, but were ungodly in many ways they lived. The young people did not exhibit godly lives. They were interested in fun and activities but not a real relationship with God. After a time of defeat, I stayed home from work one day. I wanted to pray about what the answer was. Later in the afternoon, Kim sent me to the grocery store. I was desperate and virtually cried out to God to help me. In this particular store, there was a small display of Christian books that spun around in a rack. I stopped to look at it. As I was looking at it, I noticed a book called “How to Study the Bible”. God said, “There is your answer.” I bought the book and devoured it. It gave me thoughts I had not considered about my relationship to God’s Word.
I realized I needed to make a change in my life. However, let me say here that many Christians read their Bible daily, but do not have a real, intimate, personal, passionate, relationship with God.
I decided that I was going to have a time with God daily. Near the plant I was working was a park. I had an hour for lunch. Kim fixed me a sandwich daily and I went to the park for lunch. I parked my car under a tree and while I was eating my lunch, I listened on the radio to a Bible teacher, who helped me immensely. He helped me to understand some things I did not know. After about 10 to 15 minutes, I would turn off the radio and begin to pray. I would ask God to show me if there was any sin that stood between Him and me that day. God, the Holy Spirit would speak to my spirit and show me my sin. I would confess that sin and turn from it. Then I would ask God to speak to me and give His message to me that day. As I would read, God would minister to my heart. Many times the Holy Spirit would stop me in my reading and show me a truth and speak to my heart about that truth. Many times, I would weep over that truth and thank God for showing it to me. God’s Word came alive for me. I would ask God what he wanted for me and what He wanted me to pray about. The relationship between God and I became intimate, personal, and passionate. I began to grow by leaps and bounds. I devoured my Bible. I looked up the meaning of the words and God continued to minister to me. In that car, under that tree the God of the universe changed my life. It started me toward the development of an intimate, personal, and passionate relationship with the Saviour. I look back on that time and the Lord was gracious in so many ways to me. Virtually, the Holy Spirit of God taught me and I am forever grateful. It energized my Christian life which up to then in the first year had been miserable.
As I have studied down through the years, I now want to share some very important truths with you about that relationship that I have learned about having been saved 39 years. I have been preaching and teaching the Bible for more than 34 years.
I had tried to read the Bible before, but failed to get much from it. Many of God’s people seek to read their Bible daily. It is important to understand that the Bible is not an information book – it is a book for transformation. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…, Romans 12:2. There it is folks, that word transformation. God wants your life to be transformed. He wants it to be changed, and to develop a real relationship with Him.
Let me ask you, how many times have you read a chapter in your Bible and then got down to the end and did not know what you had read? Many people will make the effort to read their Bible through in a year. They do not get much out of that. They sit in church half paying attention and they get some information about God. Folks, this is a huge spiritual danger to your children. Many of God’s people are giving their children a considerable amount of information about God. However, there is no development of a real relationship with God. This is the greatest tragedy that any Christian home can have.
I have known Christians who have memorized many passages of scripture and lived like the devil. I can hear someone say they must not be saved then. I do not think that is the answer. I know the answer is the real relationship with God is not there.
Here is the child who grows up in a Christian school, the family has family devotions, they have their children read the Bible daily, and yet there is this disaster when the child leaves the home. What happened here?
Do you realize that prior to getting saved, the devil, the adversary of your soul, sought to stop you from getting saved? However, once you did get saved, the devil now wants to derail your relationship with God. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, II Peter 3:18. Growing means change. The word here for knowledge does not mean to have knowledge about God, but the knowledge is to be transforming. Dear friends, many people graduate (from Bible colleges, Christian schools, or home schools) with years of knowledge about God and live a wicked and vile life. Their knowledge is not transforming. The devil wants to stop you from having a real relationship with God and, folks, he is subtle and has done a marvelous job in derailing the lives of God’s people. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: I Peter 5:8. God is speaking to Christians here. Who does the devil devour? Those who do not have an intimate, personal, passionate relationship with the Saviour.
It is important to realize that man is three parts – body, soul, and spirit. Just because you got saved does not mean the devil is no longer interested in you. In fact, dear friend, the battle is on. So, are you going to win and have victory in that battle just because you read the Bible and do not get anything out of it? Do you pray and do it faithfully and never see answers to prayer? The relationship is not a real relationship! It is self-righteousness, living the Christian life in your own power.
When you got saved, the Holy Spirit of God came to dwell in you. Up until that time your spirit was dead. But when you got saved your spirit was made alive. Now the Holy Spirit of God can speak to your spirit. Something to remember is God always deals with our spirit through the Holy Spirit through His Word. Romans 8:9-11, 13-14, 16 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken (revive again) your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: I John 4:13, Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
It is plain that the Spirit of God lives in us and bears witness with our spirit and God wants to control our body through His Spirit. Folks, the Spirit of God always works from the inside of us to the outside of us. The devil always works from the outside to the inside of us. Remember, I said we are three parts – body, soul, and spirit. The devil desires to control our soul. God always works through His Spirit to our spirit. If God controls our spirit then, he also controls our soul and body. The devil always desires to put outside pressure on us to try to control our soul and body. In essence, if the devil controls our soul (which is the seat of our mind, emotions, and will), he controls our body and that means he controls what we do. He cannot possess a Christian, but he certainly can and does oppress the Christian with outside pressure.
When the devil seeks to pressure your life from the outside, if you are not walking in the Spirit you will cave in to that temptation because the devil will continue to put pressure on in different forms. He does this in three ways. I John 2:15-17, Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
The devil operates with the three ways mentioned here:
- 1.The lust of the flesh – which is an overwhelming desire to do something. The devil preys on the Christian’s mind here.
- 2.The lust of the eyes – which is an overwhelming desire to have something. The devil preys on the Christian’s will here.
- 3. The pride of life-which is an overwhelming desire to be someone or something. The devil preys on the Christian’s emotions here.
The devil operated in the same way with his outside pressure on Adam and Eve. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve fell when they had pressure put on them from the outside by the devil. They caved in. Men and women have been caving in the same way ever since. So, just because you are saved does not mean you will not cave in. If you do not have a real relationship with God, you will cave in and the devil will control what you do.
Through our counseling ministry, I have spent quite a few hours with a former pastor who has had a horrible life because of his failure to have a real relationship with God. When I went through this process with him, he said, “I graduated from a Bible college and I had no idea. I have lived after the dictates of the flesh and the devil has controlled my life.” Unfortunately, by the time he got to us he had already lost his oldest child, but we have been able to help with his other children. No body in the family had a real relationship with God, nor did they know how to have one. The family has had great disaster. Folks, I have found this to be extremely common among God’s people. You see most of God’s people understand that they cannot work for their salvation. However, they think they can live the Christian life in their own power by their good works. By the way, that is living for the dictates of the flesh or self-righteousness. There are three ways Christians seek to live the Christian life, in unrighteousness, self-righteous, or righteousness. Unrighteousness means they are given over to the lust of the flesh, eyes and pride of life. Self-righteousness means they are seeking to live the Christian life in their own power. Do they go to church three times a week or more? Do they read their Bible daily? Do they pray from a long list about things they want to pray about? The answer is yes to all the above. However, they do not have a real relationship with the Saviour and it leads to destruction and much pain in their lives and in the lives of their children.
If the parents do not have a real relationship with the Lord, how can they teach the children to have a real relationship with the Lord? The answer is they cannot, and the disaster will be extremely painful for all involved. The devil will control and sift their lives and they will not have a clue about what happened. When people come through our counseling program, I hear phrases like, “Pastor, I am trying hard here.” Or, I have got to try harder.” What are they saying? “I am seeking to live the Christian life in my own power.” The devil is controlling their soul, therefore he controls their body (what they do). Mark 8:36-37, For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Remember I John 2:15, Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. The devil’s desire for each of us is to love the world. Did you notice in Mark 8:36-37, gain the whole world? You see that is what the devil wants to do in your life through outside pressure. To get you to seek the things of the world through the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life, he puts pressure on you to do so. If you do not have a real relationship with God, you will cave in and you will be led by the soul (mind, emotions, and will), which leads into sin and disaster every time.
As hundreds of people contact us about their children or marriage through For the Love of the Family, it is always the same process. The devil does not have to change his program. He has been pretty successful clear back to Adam and Eve as to the way he has operated.
He wants to derail your life and destroy it. He makes war on babies and he will make war on your babies.
Listen to me carefully, parent. You must have a real relationship with God and convey to your children how to have a real relationship with God. Exposure to information about God will not be the answer for your children; it will lead them to disaster. It will lead you to disaster as well. They will be destroyed by the destroyer through unrighteousness or their self-righteousness. You will be in great pain as they will. The sad part here is that Christians do not know how to turn their lives around. They end up in the hog pen and do not know how to get out. They do not fit in at church, they do not fit in in the world, and they are miserable. They are seeking pleasures from the world through the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. The devil continues to put outside pressure on, and the Holy Spirit continues to convict them of their sinfulness. What a miserable, wretched experience.
Many times when the Christians are seeking to live a life of self-righteousness, they eventually tire of keeping up the grueling self-work with very little joy. They have no answers and so they spiral down and quit. The destroyer is destroying their lives. So who is the devil looking to destroy? It is the one who does not have a real relationship with the Lord.
Galatians 5 explains this in detail. Galatians 5:16, This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. The answer is the Holy Spirit who indwells us wants us to be Spirit controlled. Our walk is our daily life. The promise is if we walk in the Spirit, we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
So, the answer is to have a real relationship with God by walking in the Spirit.
I want you to notice in Galatians 5:19-21 that a person who is not walking in the Spirit will be involved in the lust of the flesh, Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness (unbridled lust), Idolatry, witchcraft (same word we get our word drugs from), hatred, variance (person who quarrels with everyone and everything), emulations (an attitude of deep rage, jealousy and envy), wrath, strife, seditions (division and dissension), heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings (orgies, carousing), and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Folks, if a person can continually and habitually do these things and is never convicted about them by the Holy Spirit, he or she is lost. However, there are people who are saved who do such things and are miserable as they are convicted by the Holy Spirit. The end result is the person is deceived. Galatians 6:7-8, Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsover a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. So, if I do not have a real relationship with God through the Spirit of God, I will have a disaster even though I go to church, read my Bible daily, pray, and memorize the Bible. The person who does these things without a real relationship with God is mocking God (means they treat God with contempt). Unfortunately, a number of people in church fall into this category. They sow to the flesh because of a lack of a relationship with God.
Notice Galatians 5:25, If we live in the Spirit (we are saved), let us also walk in the Spirit. Folks, we have to have a real relationship with the Spirit of God to control our walk. Otherwise the devil will control our soul and he will control our walk. God speaks to our spirit from the inside of us. The devil seeks to control our soul by putting outside pressure on us.
Our relationship with God is a matter of worship. The Holy Spirit of God speaking to our spirit. One of the great joys of my life is to daily have God speak to me through His Word. John 4:24, God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. My daily time with God is worship.
Now, let’s talk about how to have that real relationship with God. When I met Kim, who is now my wife, I decided I wanted to have a relationship with her. I wanted to be around her. I wanted to talk to her and listen to her. Communication is the most important thing about building a relationship. A relationship is not a one way street. It is a two way street of talk and listen, listen and talk. God speaks to my spirit through His Spirit through His Word. To have communication with God I must first deal with my sin. So, to have a real relationship with God I must do several things:
1. I have to deal with my sin daily. Remember – talk and listen, listen and talk. I learned at the park in the car several years ago to ask God if there was any sin that stood between me and Him that day. Lord, show it to me. He will. When He does, I need to confess the sin and turn from it, I John 1; 9. I am now free to communicate with God. You know, I found out how gracious and loving God is as He dealt with me through His Word in dealing with my sins. Sometimes it almost literally hurt to see how ugly my life was. The joy of sins forgiven and the degree to which God now opened His Word to me I thought was incredible.
2. We developed a program here at For the Love of the Family several years ago called “How to Have a Daily Time With God”. The premise is to have a notebook called a “Daily Spiritual Diary”. Each day I use a page of the notebook, and write down 1. God’s Message to Me Today. 2. A Promise from God. 3. A Command to Keep. 4. A Timeless Principle (a principle that is good for all time in both Old and New Testament). 5. My Application. 6. Additional Comments. I recommend you have a spiral bound notebook for your “Daily Spiritual Diary”. Folks, the notebook does not lie as I put the date of each day right at the top. It is a record of my faithfulness in my relationship with the Saviour.
3. Each day I ask God to give me His message for me today. In essence, I want to hear from God for real. “Lord, show me what you have today for me from your Word. Please make it real to my life.” Folks, God does not bless Bible readers; He blesses Bible meditators, Psalm 1:1-6. Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish. As I am reading down through my Bible, when the Holy Spirit shows me a truth I stop! I read the verse over several times. I break down the verse. If I do not know what some words mean in the verse, I look them up. Listen carefully, the reason I stopped is because I have asked the Holy Spirit to give me His message for me today. God speaks to my heart (meditator) about this passage. Meditating is thinking about the passage. Psalm 119:11, Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. This verse is not about memorizing the Bible for knowledge purposes – it is about putting it in your heart (meditator). I am stopped to listen to God. It is time to stop (not talk), and listen and learn from the Master Teacher. I then write it down in my own words. I then proceed and the Holy Spirit stops me again for a promise, command, etc. I dissect the verse that the Holy Spirit has stopped me on. Psalm 19:14, Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer. I have a page in my “Daily Spiritual Diary” where I write special thoughts from God and meditate on them. I want to have a real relationship with the God of the universe and I want Him to speak to me. I then write down under “My Application” what all this means to me and how I can apply it to my life. I write it down in my own words, sometimes as a prayer.
4. Now we come to the prayer time. Remember a relationship is about talk and listen, listen and talk. As I come to prayer, I ask God to speak to my spirit today about what He wants me to pray about. “Lord what do you want me to pray about today?” This is very important. Remember I John 2:15-17 where the devil is seeking to control my life through outside pressure through the lust of the flesh (an overwhelming desire to do), lust of the eyes (an overwhelming desire to have), and the pride of life (an overwhelming desire to be). Listen carefully, after asking God what He wants me to pray about today, and praying about it as He speaks to me. I then ask God what He wants me to do today, what He wants me to have to day, and what He wants me to be today. Effectively, I have disarmed the devil’s approach by turning these three areas over to God. Folks, would it not be better to pray about what God wants you to do, have, and be? The people who come through our counseling program are always talking about what they want to do, what they want to have, and what they want to be. I know immediately they are being controlled by the devil’s influence on their soul and he is controlling their body and therefore controlling what they ultimately do.
5. There are three more things I want to ask God about. First of all – who does He want me to witness to today? Then I stop talking (be quiet) and listen to God. Remember a relationship is a two way street, talk and listen, listen and talk. After God tells me who to witness to today, I then ask him who He wants me to encourage today. When He brings up that person I pray for them and then maybe give them a call or write them a note. Thirdly, I ask God what I can praise Him for today. There are many passages of scripture that tell us to praise God. However, I want to know what He wants me to praise Him for. Why do I pray about whom to witness to today, encourage today, and to praise God for? Because I am focusing on others and not myself. When most Christians pray they have a list and they go down it and it is, “Lord give me this and I want that or let me be this.” It is a self-righteous way to pray and it is not accomplishing anything. It is the focus of the devil to get the Christian to love the world. I John 2:15, If any man love the world the love of the Father is not in Him. Does that mean he is lost? No, it means he does not have a real relationship with God. His love is somewhere else – toward the world. When you develop a real relationship with the Saviour, it will be a love relationship. Think about it, the God of the universe is speaking to me and I am listening to Him. I am talking to Him and He is listening to me. What will really effectively increase your faith will happen when you ask God what to pray about, and He tells you and you pray about it and it is answered. When was the last time you had a real answer to prayer? Are you self-righteously praying?
I used to play professional baseball as a pitcher. When I would stand on the mound I would look at the catcher and ignore the hitter. When I threw a 92 mile an hour fast ball by the hitter, I was focused on me and the catcher. In baseball terms it was called “he is in the zone.” Nothing else was focused on. I liken that to my relationship with God. It is personal (between me and God), intimate (it is a love relationship, very close to each other), and passionate (there is real desire there). Nothing motivates you more than to know that God will speak to you today and will hear you speak to Him. Talk and listen, listen and talk.
Without the intimate, personal, passionate relationship between God and me, I am doomed to disaster after disaster and failure in many parts of my life. It will always affect my wife and children. If I am living the Christian life in unrighteousness or self-righteousness (seeking to live the Christian life in my own power), I am doomed to a lot of pain and destruction in my life. The devil really does not care if I live the Christian life – either way it is fine with him.
6. You must learn the submission principle. James 4:7, Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. The devil every day, multiple times a day, will put outside pressure on your life. He does this many times with our lusts. Romans 6:12-19, Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield (submit) ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield (submit) yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield (submit) yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded (submitted) your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield (submit) your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
So, how do I submit? Every time a lust or outside pressure comes up, which I call the point of spiritual impact, “Lord, I want to turn this over to you. Forgive me for this thought or desire and I want to turn from it. I submit myself to you.” The essence of the submitted Christian life is to ask God questions. Remember James 4:7 says the devil is involved and the only way to walk in the Spirit is to have a submitted life with God. That is where our power comes from, being submitted moment by moment, at the point of spiritual impact. In the question asking with God, use the: who, what, when, where, how, and why method. Lord who do you want me to witness to today? Lord what do you want me to pray about today? Lord, what can I praise you for today? Questions are submission. Remember to stop, think, turn it over to God, and listen. Always ask God questions.
The sadness of the hour in which we live is that many Christians do not have a real relationship with God. Folks, do not think that I have said memorization of scripture is not good. It is, but by itself will create a self-righteous life. If you memorize it, meditate on it. How does God speak to you through the verses? Also, you have to read your Bible to meditate, but you have to stop to study and listen to the Spirit of God when He wants to show you what He wants for you from God’s Word. Do not just keep on going because you have three or four chapters you must read today. You have to stop and listen! A real relationship requires we spend quality time together. Kim is my best friend. She is someone I can talk to and listen to. She is the love of my life. My relationship with the Lord is to be like that as well.
We have a booklet on our web site www.fortheloveofthefamily.com called “How to Have A Daily Time With God”. It will show you step by step how to have an intimate, personal, passionate relationship with the Saviour. Remember, my baseball story. While I was pitching, the infielders behind me would chatter to try to distract the hitter and disrupt their concentration. I was in the zone, just me and the catcher. After the pitch, I would hear an infielder say, “Way to go, hum baby!” When you have a real intimate personal, passionate relationship with the Lord, you are in the zone and humming. When the devil comes along with his outside pressure, you are focused on the Spirit of God speaking to your spirit, and your soul is then controlled by the Spirit of God and so is your body, thus you are Spirit controlled and walking in the Spirit.
When there is outside pressure from the devil, instead of responding to people with anger, meanness, harshness, or other responses, you are responding with the fruits of the spirit, Galatians 5:22-22, “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.”
Once I learned what it was to have a real relationship with God, as a father, I knew I had to teach it to my children. I wanted them to really know the Lord. I discussed it with them about what all this meant. I wanted them to know how to have a real relationship with God. Without a real relationship with God their lives will be a disaster when they leave my house. Many times I would ask my daughters when they were growing up, “What is God speaking to you about?” Their answers were always revealing to me. I did not just hope it would happen. I wanted them to taste of the Lord and see that He was good! We spent time talking about our relationship with God. I would ask them what God was speaking to them to pray about. We talked about it and as they got older they would come with real excitement to tell me what God was speaking to them about or what God had taught them. We would have that excitement and joy together.
I believe the principle of Ephesians 6:4 is very important here. And, ye Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: How would a father provoke his children to wrath? Could it be because he did not teach them to have a real relationship with the Lord? So they learn in their lives, when the outside pressure comes from Satan, how to respond by being controlled by their soul and respond in the dictates of the flesh. One of those is “wrath”, Galatians 5:19-21. The rest of Ephesians 6:4 says, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. It means training with structure. I say again folks, how can a parent get the heart of their child and train them to have a relationship with the Lord if they are living a self-righteous (living the Christian life in their own power) or unrighteous life? It is not going to happen and the end result for the child’s life is the works of the flesh list of Galatians 5:19-21. (Read that list over and meditate on it. Are you or your children in that list?). The kind of life the self-righteous Christian lives is a real grind. It is over and over the same thing – keeping the rules, but not experiencing the power of a real relationship with God. The Christian who lives that way takes on the 19 characteristics (from II Timothy 3:1-5) of the apostate age in which we live. How does it end? “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof:” What a miserable life and a destructive life! It does not have to be that way. We can have victory through the power of the Spirit of God who indwells us and wants us to have a real relationship with Him.
If you do not know what to do and need help because you are caught in the sins of the flesh because of outside pressure from the devil, feel free to contact us. May God help you today to seek to have a real relationship with Him.
Dr. Terry L. Coomer is the Pastor of Hope Baptist Church, the Director of For the Love of the Family Ministries, and Hope Biblical Counseling Center. He has also served as the Publisher of the nation's fastest growing daily newspaper. Pastor Coomer holds Family Conferences in the local church. To have a meeting at your church or other needs he may be contacted at (501)983-4403, firstname.lastname@example.org. There are many helpful articles and material on our web site to help you change your life at www.fortheloveofthefamily.com. We serve the God of answers. If you need help finding those answers you may contact us at email@example.com. To be removed from our mailing list send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.