Sharon Harris is wife, mother, English teacher, amateur photographer, and gardener.

What does it mean to have a “relationship” with God? How is this possible?

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Answer:  To have a relationship with Jesus or God is the same as “walking with God”, which means having daily communication with the Creator of the universe and living in agreement with Him.  It sounds like this would be impossible for a human being to talk with God, but it’s true! The Bible tells us that Adam and Eve were the first people God made, and, surprisingly, He created them to have fellowship with them. (Genesis 2-3) He still desires to talk with us today!

The Bible tells us much about the friendships God sought out with men and women. There are many examples in Genesis, the first book of the Bible. An intriguing account centered on Enoch, who was the great grandfather of Noah (who built the ark). Enoch’s son Methuselah lived longer than any man has ever lived on the earth, 969 years.  Enoch’s life was recorded as highly significant.  We aren’t told much about this man, besides these genealogical facts, except that he lived “a faithful life” for God and was taken into heaven without ever experiencing a physical death!

“When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah.  After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters.  Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.” Genesis 5:21-24

Noah was another man who God counted as faithful, in Genesis, chapter 6:

“Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth. Now, the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence.God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. So, God said to Noah, ‘I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. So, make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out…’” 

During the conversations Noah had with God, he received highly specific instructions on exactly how to construct, waterproof, and stock the ark with needed supplies before the coming flood.  Noah was counted as successful and a hero, and his name is known to just about everyone on the earth, even today, because of the ark he built, the flood He survived, and the human race that began all over again when he and his family emerged from the huge ark after more than a year.  His success was due to the fact that he listened to God and obeyed all that God told him.

“Noah did everything just as God commanded him.” Genesis 6:22

The prophet Elijah was the only other person who was taken up into heaven by God without experiencing physical death, according to the Biblical record. He faithfully served as God led him, but he had times when he thought he had failed due to fear and discouragement. Even when Elijah wanted to give up while trying to stand boldly against evil government leadership, God patiently and lovingly counseled him, cared for his needs, and protected him. The relationship they had is detailed in the Bible in the 1st book of Kings, chapters 17-18.

Many of us know the history of Moses’ life. What a long friendship he had with God! Despite all the ups and downs, the record shows Moses served God well:

“After the death of Moses, the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua, son of Nun, Moses’s aide: ‘Moses, my servant, is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them, to the Israelites…No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”  From the book of Joshua, chapter 1

Each book of the Bible tells how God communicated with and led ordinary people – men, women, and children, from all ethnic and economic levels of society.  Some listened to Him and obeyed, and others didn’t, went way off track, and suffered.  

Aren’t these truths the same as in our lives today? 

Most of us are certainly as ordinary as the people who God loved long ago.  Like them, sometimes, we obey, and other times, not.  When we don’t, we fail in multiple ways – to move forward in our goals we strive to achieve and to grow to understand God better. As we talk and walk with God, in step with Him and His direction, we grow spiritually and experience the peace that we have always longed for, the “peace that passes all our understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”.   (Philippians 4:7)

 Image result for key emojiHere’s the important key – Jesus!

You will hear many people talk about the importance of having a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Jesus is God’s Son, one of the Trinity of God – God, Son, and Holy Spirit. If you believe and accept that Jesus died for your sins on a cross to make you right with God, then God accepts you – for forever! Having a relationship with one is the same as connecting with all 3 parts or “persons of God”.

“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father [God] except through me.”  Jesus in John 14:6

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name [but Jesus] under heaven given to mankind by which we must have been saved.”  Acts 4:12

This step of acknowledging Jesus as God’s own son is VITAL because God doesn’t accept anyone who rejects Jesus, the one He sent into our world to save us. Since Jesus came to earth to live and die for mankind, this has been the ONLY way that God adopts us into His eternal family who will be together eternally in heaven. Before Jesus arrived on earth, the Bible’s Old Testament writers record that God counted people as right with him, or “righteous”, because of their acts of faith, their love for others and God, and their trusting relationship with Him.

“And the scripture was fulfilled that says, ’Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as being righteous.’ And he was called a friend of God.” James 2:23 and Genesis 15:6

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”  Micah 6:8

So, what is OUR part in this relationship God desires to have with us?

Think about this:  When we walk or talk with a friend, we share concerns and news.  We listen to and focus on each other. God wants exactly this kind of friendship with us! Even though we can’t physically see him, we can read the accounts of His directions to others and learn what pleases Him.  We talk or pray to Him, telling him our thoughts (even though He already knows!) and listen to discern what He reveals as new guidance He has for us. At times, He brings answers to us through others, such as Christian friends, Biblical studies, and pastors. In these ways, we can learn more about this friend who is the most important of our lives!

Since God made men and women so that He could have a relationship with them, we feel a void or an emptiness when we don’t choose to speak to Him or hear Him and watch for His guidance. We can even begin to feel nervous, anxious, and afraid. We forget, temporarily, who has promised to “never leave us nor forsake us” as God told Joshua.  After a while, something just doesn’t feel balanced; there’s no real peace or joy in our lives. Because God created us to connect with Him, it’s natural that we would sense that something is missing when we don’t keep up our end of the continuing conversation. 

Some people say they don’t pray to God because they don’t know how.  Is that how you feel?

Praying simply means talking with God. There is no right and wrong way.  No magic words, only God’s power to know your true thoughts and heart desires.  Begin like this:

God, I confess to you that I need you. I have done many things wrong and hurt others I really care about, and I long for you to forgive me. I am very sorry.  I understand from the Bible that all I have to do is ask you to help me, and so I ask now. I want to totally turn away from the problems of the past and begin anew.  I read that you wipe my filthy page of sins clean and don’t remember them anymore.  Thank you!  And thank you for sending Jesus into the world to be punished and die for my sins. I am glad to hear you raised Him from the dead, and He is alive in heaven now, like I will be in the future!  I believe and accept this gift of eternal life you have given me, and I want you to guide me for the rest of my time on earth. I want to make you proud of me and see how sincere I am in wanting a better life, an eternal life in heaven with you when I die. Thank you so much!

❤️ In closing, read God’s loving promises to you:

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”  2 Corinthians 5:17

“For I will forgive their wrongdoing, and I will never again remember their sins.” Hebrews 8:12

“As high as the heavens are above the earth, this is how great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our sins from us.”  Psalm 103:11-12

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