If someone asked you who God is to you, what would be your response? Many Christian thought-leaders have said that a person’s answer to this question is the most meaningful thing of his or her Christian life.
That’s understandable, considering Jesus taught that the greatest commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). But how do we get to this place where God is sincerely our everything?
If you’ve ever felt discouraged by your lack of desire to spend time with God, know you are not alone. In fact, this dilemma is more common than some of us care to admit.
There are evil forces in the world constantly working to keep us from discovering God’s true character because our enemy knows that once we get a glimpse of who God really is, we can’t help but seek more of Him. That’s why it’s so important for us to know the truth about His nature.
While we all must discover this for ourselves, we also all need a little help along the way. In my personal search I have uncovered some amazing truths about God that have changed my perception of Him, and I believe four of these are particularly encouraging for those who are seeking to have a deeper relationship with God.
First, God is not a God of shame. He wants us to live in true freedom.
Too often, we resist facing God when we need Him most because we are overcome with feelings of guilt. However, condemnation comes from our enemy, not from God. Psalm 34:22 tells us, “The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, and none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.” The Apostle Paul underscored this in Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
God is always working for the good of those who love Him, even if they haven’t asked Him yet.
Some situations can leave people feeling so hopeless, they become too discouraged even to pray about them. But in those moments, one must remember God’s faithfulness to those who love Him. Jesus said in Matthew 6:8, “Your Father in Heaven knows exactly what you need before you ask Him.”
In that same passage, further down He pointed out, “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?” (Matthew 6:25-34).
This reminder has helped me to cling tighter to God in the midst of trouble, rather than shutting Him out — which brings us to another incredible aspect of God’s nature:
God created us to partner and participate in His plans.
1 Corinthians 3:9 tells us, “For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.” One of God’s sweetest gestures throughout human history has been His invitation for us to work with Him. Make no mistake —God’s power is unfathomable to us; He by no means needs us to fulfill His good purposes. But His love for us is so great that He offers us the opportunity to be part of His plans so that we may enjoy the fruits of this labor together.
Finally, one of the most encouraging facts of all: God values dependence, not independence. Jesus is the ultimate example of this.
Throughout Jesus’s life and ministry, we see example after example of Him pausing to spend time alone in prayer with God the Father. I find this to be one of the most fascinating aspects of Jesus’s life. Jesus is God, yet we see Him, in His full humanity, leaning on God the Father continuously for strength. If Jesus needed communion with the Father, how much more do we?
I find great comfort knowing that even Jesus needed help in this world. Human beings place strong emphasis on growing increasingly independent, drawing strength from within, but we must understand that God wants us to become increasingly dependent on Him and His strength.
Knowing this, we can all be motivated to spend more time with Him, and as we do, He will rearrange the desires of our hearts so that we seek Him above all else.