By Jingnian, the United States
God says: “To build a good relationship with God is a top priority for anyone believing in God; everyone should treat it as the most important task and as their major life event” (“How Is Your Relationship With God?”). We can see from God’s words that establishing a normal relationship with God in one’s faith in God is a truth of the utmost importance. If we wish to pursue God’s commendation and serve God’s will, only through having a normal relationship with God can these things be achieved. If we do not have a normal relationship with God, then we do not deserve to be called believers—that is why establishing a normal relationship with God is so important. So how are we to establish a normal relationship with God? Below is a simple fellowship of the four principles.
1.One must give one’s heart to God and allow God to take charge, pray and interact genuinely with God, and thus one will obtain the guidance of the work of the Holy Spirit.
The Bible says: “Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23). The Lord Jesus said: “But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship Him” (John 4:23). God sets great store by the heart of man. Though sometimes we may not say our prayers to God, or we get busy with our jobs, our hearts still draw close to God, God has a place in our hearts, and our hearts obey God in everything we do. In this way, we are able to obtain the guidance, leadership, enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit, and our relationship with God becomes ever more normalized. Therefore, the most important principle to establishing a normal relationship with God is to quiet our hearts before God.
We live nowadays in this world of infinite distractions, and our fast-paced lives mean that our hearts end up occupied with all manner of people, events and things, thereby giving us very little time to quiet ourselves before God, draw close to God and contemplate God. Because our hearts are often drawn away from God, and because we cannot give our hearts to God, much less obey God in our hearts, we are therefore incapable of obtaining the work of the Holy Spirit, we are without God’s guidance and leadership in our lives, we often end up overworked and exhausted in both body and mind as we busy ourselves with all the various people, events and things in our lives, and nothing we do turns out well. But we have all certainly experienced that, when we quiet our hearts before God, when we look to God and rely on God with our hearts, and we seek the truth in all things, we are then able to obtain God’s guidance and leadership, we become aware of what actions conform with God’s will, what actions cannot satisfy God and, through prayer, we become able to forsake our flesh and let go of the things which are at odds with God’s will. Moreover, when our relationship with God becomes normalized, we have God’s guidance in all things, we can have a more accurate perspective on problems, we can discover the shortcomings and deficiencies in our actions in a timely way, and we can find the right path and achieve twice the result with half the effort in the things we do. From this, we can see that, if we wish to establish a normal relationship with God, then giving our hearts to God is of the utmost importance. If we wish to achieve this, then we must consciously pray more to God and frequently contemplate God’s love and grace. That way, we will be moved by the Spirit of God without us even being aware of it, and we will then be able to live always in God’s presence.
2. One must read God’s words, fellowship about the truth, and practice the truth often, and one must fulfill one’s duty well in order to repay God’s love.
The Lord Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6). God’s words are the truth, they can show us the way, and they are the principles by which we act and conduct ourselves. By reading more of God’s words and understanding the truth, and by bringing God’s words into our lives so that we may experience and practice them, we come to live out the reality of God’s words, and our relationship with God becomes ever more normalized.
A lot of the time, we neglect to read God’s words because we are busy with our jobs, or with our families, or with our careers. We cannot quiet our hearts before God, much less put God’s words into practice. We grow farther and farther away from God, our spiritual lives gradually become barren, we fail to understand thoroughly many of the things we encounter in our lives, and we grope blindly around in the darkness, without direction or purpose. If we can read God’s words often and ponder God’s will and requirements within His words, then we will be able to practice correctly in accordance with His words, and our relationship with God will become normalized. As the Lord Jesus said: “Truly I say to you, Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). We discover in God’s words that God’s essence is faithful, that God loves honest people, that He requires us to be honest people, and that only honest people bear the likeness of a genuine human being and are able to attain God’s salvation and enter into His kingdom. Once we have understood this requirement God has of us, then when in our daily lives we wish to tell lies and engage in deception in order to protect our own interests, we are able to realize that this type of behavior and practice is hated by God. We are then able to consciously seek what we should do to be honest people and what to do to conform with God’s will. Once we have forsaken our flesh and have put God’s words into practice, our spirits feel incredibly at peace and at ease, free and liberated, and our relationship with God draws even closer.
But what we still need to comprehend is that, no matter what aspect of truth we may come to understand within God’s words, we must focus on putting it into practice in our lives. This is because the truth is not something that can be totally and perfectly understood just by reading God’s words, but rather we must experience and practice God’s words in our real lives. By doing this, our understanding of God’s words will grow ever deeper, and only then will we gain the truth from God’s words. Furthermore, when we come across any of God’s words we do not understand, we must seek out brothers and sisters who do understand the truth and fellowship with them, and through seeking, we will come to understand the truth and put it into practice. In short, only by reading God’s words more and frequently contemplating, fellowshiping and practicing God’s words will our understanding of the truth and our knowledge of God get better and better, and in this way our relationship with God will become normalized.
3. One must have the right motive in all things, accept God’s scrutiny, not make plans for oneself, and obey God’s arrangements.
If we want to establish a normal relationship with God, then it is also very important to have the right motive in all things. Though there may be many who believe in God, there are very few who can act on God’s will in all things. Many people’s faith in God comes with their own personal motives and aims, and very little of what they do can be brought before God to receive His scrutiny. Take dedication and service, for example. True dedication and service should be built upon the desire to repay God’s love, without any personal motive or aim. Spontaneous dedication may include giving one’s money, one’s time, or giving one’s whole self. But what is undeniable is that, when we make dedications and we expend ourselves, it always involves numerous personal motives and impure intents. Take me, for example. When I saw God’s words saying, “Bring you all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in My house, and prove Me now herewith, said Jehovah of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10), I then actively dedicated a tithe of all my earnings. I believed that everything I was earning was given to me by God anyway, and so I should give some back to God and that this was something I should give as a created being. But my own personal motive was kept hidden within the deepest recesses of my heart. I believed that, now that I had made this dedication, then God would certainly commend me, and I would be bound to receive even more rewards from God; that was the only reason I made such an active dedication. Let’s take another example from the words spoken by Paul the apostle: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: From now on there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day” (2 Timothy 4: 7–8). I greatly approved of these words when I read them, and so I went out preaching the gospel in all weathers, from dawn till dusk, and I established churches and supported the weak brothers and sisters, hoping to use these deeds as capital to buy myself glory and a crown to wear. I trust that there are more than just one or two of us who harbor such ideas. But what we have never considered is that, by making dedications, rushing about and expending ourselves in this way, we are not performing the duty of a created being, but rather we are making deals with God, and we are doing these things to get even greater blessings from God in return. In that case, no matter how much we may dedicate, or how much we may rush about or how much we may suffer, what is the point in any of it? God scrutinizes the innermost heart of man, so how can we be commended by God by trying to deceive God and by using Him in this way? And how can we establish a normal relationship with God when we do things like this? The Lord Jesus said: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment”. “If you continue in My word, then are you My disciples indeed” (John 8:31). God requires that we follow His way, and He clearly requires that we dedicate ourselves and expend ourselves for Him without any personal motive or impure intent, and without making deals with Him or expecting anything in return. We should expend ourselves for God purely to repay God’s love and out of our love for God, and we should give our all to satisfy God and serve God—this is the way we should follow as created beings, and it is the standard by which it is decided whether or not our faith is commended by God and acceptable to God. Therefore, in order to establish a normal relationship with God, we must examine our aims in dedicating ourselves, suffering and expending ourselves for God, and immediately eliminate all the various impurities and improper motives which exist within our faith in God.
4. One must seek the truth in all things, seek to love God and practice loving God in one’s heart, and allow God to rule in all things.
Our lives are filled with uncertainties every day, and we have no idea when we might come across something at odds with our own ideas. If we have no place for God in our hearts and we do not seek the truth, then all we can do is use our brains to analyze and study the things that happen, and we then become mired in the rights and wrongs of things. We are unable to submit to God’s sovereignty and arrangements, we even blame and misunderstand God, and we fall into a darkness of great suffering. Recently, a church friend of mine lost the vote to be Senior Executive in her company, which made her feel like she had lost a lot of face. In terms of qualification and business acumen, she was the best in the company. So why was she not chosen? She took what happened to heart and was unable to quiet her heart before God. A good friend then said to her, “You have to trust in God’s sovereignty with this matter. God’s good will is behind everything that happens to you. You must seek the truth in God’s words, and you must understand what God’s good will is for you now that you have lost the vote, and what lessons you need to learn.” Thanks to the reminder given by her good friend, she went before God to reflect on herself. After praying and seeking many times, and through reading God’s words, she finally saw that God’s good intentions were behind her losing the vote to be Senior Executive. After she had made some achievements in the company, she had become filled with wild ambitions and desires, and had wished to rise higher in the company and have better prospects. In order to realize her plans, for a long time she had kept herself busy only with work, and had neither prayed, nor read God’s words, nor attended church meetings regularly. Her heart had grown farther and farther from God, she had been living in sin without feeling much self-reproach and had even been wantonly sinful. God saw that she was living in pursuit of fame and gain and was unable to free herself, and so He used her losing the vote to remind her and to urge her to come before God in her suffering to reflect on herself, to halt her degenerate ways, to return once more before God, and to conduct herself and act in a down-to-earth manner. My church friend finally saw that what had appeared to be a bad thing actually turned out to be a good thing, and that God’s good intentions had been behind it all! Therefore, seeking the truth in all things, submitting to God’s guidance and practicing in accordance with God’s will are also practices that are crucial to establishing a normal relationship with God.
Above are the four principles of establishing a normal relationship with God, and by practicing in accordance with these principles, we will surely be able to establish and maintain a normal relationship with God. Thanks be to the enlightenment and guidance of God! May we all establish normal relationships with God, and may our every action meet with God’s acceptance. Amen!