How to Have a Right Relationship with God
“Lord, I will follow You, but. . .” (Luke 9:61)
Lorraine Day, M.D
“Suppose God tells you to do something that is an enormous test of your common sense, totally going against it. What will you do? Will you hold back? Will you say, “Yes, I will obey God if what He asks of me doesn’t go against my common sense, but don’t ask me to take a step in the dark. . . In the spiritual realm, Jesus Christ demands that you risk everything you hold on to or believe through common sense, and leap by faith into what He says. Once you obey, you will find that what He says is as solidly consistent as common sense.
“By the test of common sense, Jesus Christ’s statements may seem mad, but when you test them by the trial of faith, your findings will fill your spirit with the awesome fact that they are the very words of God. Trust completely in God, and when He brings you to a new opportunity of adventure, offering it to you, see that you take it. We act like pagans in a crisis only one out of an entire crowd of Christians is daring enough to invest his faith in the character of God.” O. Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, May 30.
What is the purpose of life? We are not destined to happiness but to holiness. God has never promised us happiness in this life, even though we often have it. He has promised us trouble:
“In this world you will have tribulation. . .”
But with the tribulation, He has also promised us peace of mind during the trouble.
“My peace I leave with you. . .
And He has also promised to be with us through the trouble:
“I will never leave you or forsake you.” Heb 13:5
“Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yes, they may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold I have inscribed you upon the palms of My hands. . .” Isaiah 49:15,16
Cut the lines to the dock
When God impresses you to do something do it. Don’t hesitate - and don’t ask your friends or family what they think.
“If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” John 13:17
When you follow God’s will for your life, you will understand truth.
“If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine.” John 7:17
When you act on what you have learned, immediately you will know more. But if you refuse to act on the information God has given you, you will lose even the truth you have.
“Because they received not the love of the truth. . .for this cause God shall send them a strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.” 2 Thess 2:10,11
If you yourself do not cut the lines that tie you to the dock, God will have to use a storm to sever them, and to send you out to sea. If you refuse to follow God’s will for your life, you will like Jonah be given a more challenging test. God is determined to get you to Him, no matter how many trials it takes in your life.
It’s better to “hunker down” now and face the test God has given you, than it is to reject His will and face the next test, that will be even more difficult.
“God resists the proud, but gives grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. . . Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.” James 4:7,8,10
“The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” Ps 34:18
God has promised that “Everyone who asks receives. . .” (Luke 11:10) but most “Ask amiss, to consume it on their own lusts.” (James 4:3) You must ask in Jesus’ name.
“If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” John 14:14
If we ask in the “name” the character of Jesus Christ, if we ask for His will to be done in our life or in the life of someone else, and if we trust that He knows what is best for us and for the other person He will always “do it.”
But we must ask out of the depths of our total insufficiency and poverty, understanding that we are not able to run our life, understanding that we need Jesus Christ to run our life for us. In order to get to that point, we usually have to have a lot of trouble!
“In this world you shall have tribulation…” John 16:33
We must be crushed destroyed by trouble. This is the destruction that must occur before the Lord can make us into a “new creation” in Christ. We must be willing to give up our right to ourselves and give it over to God.
This is the destruction of the “wicked ness” in our life
“The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear My words.
“Then I went down to the potter’s house, and behold, he wrought a work on the potter’s wheel.
“And the vessel that he was making of clay was ruined in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.
“Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand. . .” Jeremiah 18:1-6
Like the potter and the vessel, God holds us in His hand. He sees the flaws in our life, so He crushes us with trials and tribulations, most of which we bring on ourselves from our bad decisions. But during those trials and tribulations, He continues to hold us in His loving hands, and through the difficulties in our life He forms us into a new vessel a New Creation in Christ.
He “destroys” the “old man of sin” in our life
“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” Romans 6:6
and puts His mind and spirit in us -
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” Phil 2:5
and writes His law His character in our mind and in our heart.
“I will put My laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts. . .” Hebrews 8:10
I cannot make myself right with God
“A pitiful, sickly, and self-centered kind of prayer and a determined effort and selfish desire to be right with God are never found in the New Testament. . . I cannot make myself right with God; I cannot make my life perfect. I have to surrender all my rights and demands, and cease from every self-effort. I must leave myself completely alone in His hands. Jesus is not beginning to save us He has already saved us completely. It is an accomplished fact.” Ibid. June 20
But now, through trials and tribulations, He is working into us what He has already done at the cross. Because of His death on the cross, He has the right to make everyone a “new creation” in Christ.
Ask in My name
But the only way we can ask “in His name” is for us to have the character of Jesus living within us which only comes through daily diligent Bible study and fervent prayer, until we know God better than we know any friend or family member. We must get to know Jesus better than we know our spouse, our parents, or our children.
“If any man come to Me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:26
God wants us to depend on His Word, NOT the advice of family and friends. We must learn to stand alone with God.
Obviously, the word “hate” in this passage must be defined by God. God’s wrath is far different from ours. God tells us, “I’m not like you.”
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts (higher) than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9
Come to Me
One of the hardest things a Christian must do is “Come to Jesus.” It is much easier to work for God, to do service for God, than it is to “Come to Jesus” giving up our right to ourselves and allowing Him to purify us and make us like Him. If you really want your life to change, you must “Come to Jesus.”
You must be willing to lay everything at His feet allowing Him to mold you into the person He wants you to be, allowing Him to work “through” you rather than deciding what you are going to do for Him.
And I will give you rest
The world is in chaos. People, at least those who are aware, are frightened about the economy, the loss of jobs, the massive increase in home foreclosures, the fate of healthcare in America, the future for their children, the “war on terror” everyone would like to have the rest and peace that only God can give.
But how is that obtained?
“For we which have believed do enter into rest. . .Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief. . . For he that is entered into His rest, he also has ceased from his own works.” Heb 4:3,6,10
In order to enter into God’s rest, we must cease from our own works. We must let Jesus run our life, making all our decisions for us. I have to surrender all my rights and demands, and cease from every self-effort. I must leave myself completely alone in His hands.
In order for that to happen, we must have Jesus living in us, we must have His disposition and His character in our mind and in our heart.
That only comes from 1) daily Bible study, 2) daily prayer, 3) acting on God’s word when we understand it, incorporating His will in to our life, and 4) developing the habits that are in accord with the life Jesus has put in us.
Work out your own salvation
We must work out the salvation God has “worked into” us. He will give us the power, commitment, and strength to do His will but we must develop the habits in regard to our health, in regard to our finances, in regard to our relationship with others.
God will not give us good habits. We must develop them ourselves.
“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Phil 2:12
Keep your eyes on Jesus
When the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water, coming toward their boat in the storm, the wind was boisterous and the waves were high, but Peter didn’t see them at first. “He didn’t consider them at all; he simply recognized his Lord, stepped out in recognition of Him, and ‘walked on the water.’ Then he began to take those things around him into account, and instantly, down he went.
“We step right out with recognition of God in some things, then self-consideration enters our lives and down we go. If you are truly recognizing your Lord, you have no business being concerned about how and where He engineers your circumstances. The things surrounding you are real, but when you look at them you are immediately overwhelmed, and even unable to recognize Jesus. Then comes His rebuke, ‘ . . . why did you doubt?’ (Matt 14:31)
“Let your actual circumstances be what they may, but keep recognizing Jesus, maintaining complete reliance upon Him.” Ibid. June 18
Once you take your eyes off Jesus you become afraid.
And the Lord restored Job
Job lost all his children, all his wealth, and his health. He was miserable, sitting in the garbage dump scraping his boils with a piece of broken pottery. His friends came to see him but instead of comforting him, they berated him, accusing him of secret sin.
But when it was finally over, Job understood why he had to go through this terrible ordeal. He said,
“I had heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eyes have seen thee.” Job 42:5
Before all Job’s troubles, he was a righteous man who was upright in everything he did. He knew “about” God but Job did not know the Lord up close and personal. He had not “seen” Him. After his terrible ordeal, when his family, his wealth and his health were all gone, Job had nowhere to turn but to the Lord. And through it all, Job’s eyes were opened to “knowing God” to understanding God’s ways.
When he prayed for his friends
God does not want us to focus on our own righteousness. He doesn’t want us to keep track of the changes in our life. We will be aware of them, but we are not to dwell on them. Our focus must be on others.
“The Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends.” Job 42:10
God knows what we need before we ask. Rather than continuing to ask God to heal us, or save us, or help us financially, we must concentrate on praying for others as Job did. We must get our mind off of ourselves and focus on others.
God often allows us to see the problems others have, but not to criticize them. Our job is to pray for them, that they will know the Lord and enter into His peace and rest.
“As a saint of God, my attitude toward sorrow and difficulty should not be to ask that they be prevented, but to ask that God protect me so that I may remain what He created me to be, in spite of all my fires of sorrow. . . Sorrow removes a great deal of a person’s shallowness, but it does not always make that person better. You cannot find yourself through success, because you lose your head over pride. And you cannot receive yourself through the monotony of your daily life, because you give in to complaining. The only way to find yourself is in the fire of sorrow.” Ibid. June 25
Never try to deliver yourself from trouble. God is using it to change your life to make you one with Him. When God has taught you the lessons He has in mind, He will deliver you.
“I am with you to deliver you,” says the Lord.” (Jeremiah 1:8) “I will give you your life as a prize.” (Jer 39:18)
God gives us the wonderful promise of rest and peace in Psalm 23 (literal translation).
The Lord is my shepherd. I shall lack nothing.
He maketh me to lie down in pastures of tender green grass. He leadeth me beside the waters of rest.
He restoreth my soul (my life). He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake (for the sake of His character because of who He is).
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no calamity: for you are with me; thy rod (to defend me) and thy staff (to lean on), they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me (as your guest) in the presence of my enemies (who cannot hurt me because of your protection). You anoint my head with oil (as was done for a favored guest); my cup runneth over (You have given me more than I can receive).
Surely your goodness and your lovingkindness shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.