next steps to diving deeper into relationship with God
1) be real with God
The best kind of relationships are the ones where we can be completely real with the other person involved. This isn't any different with God. You entered this relationship with Him by leveling with Him, admitting that you can't do life on your own, and receiving what Jesus did for you. In order to truly see His love transform your life in a real way, this mindset of humility and transparency before God needs to continue into our every day lives with Him. In other words, God doesn't want a phony version of us.He knows us better than we know ourselves, and His desire is that we come to Him as we are so he can help us transform into the best version of ourselves.
Jesus said we are to shine like lights in the world. That means we stand out when God is moving in our lives, and in the lives of those around us. His light shines best through our transparency. Be real, and let God's light (His loving influence and transformative power) shape you and shine through you.
2) talk to Him
We know... talking to God might seem a little strange at first. Is He listening? Does He care? The answer to both of those questions is ABSOLUTELY. Remember Jesus desired relationship with you so much that He died on a cross for you! A crucial aspect of this relationship is communication. Get to know Him better by talking to Him throughout your day, asking Him what He wants to show you daily.Ask Him to show you opportunities to experience and express His love in your life.
3) listen to Him
You might be wondering by now... "If I'm supposed to talk to God, am I really supposed to expect that He speak back?" Good question. Short answer: yes. That said, God speaks to us in many ways. An audible response from God isn't impossible, but our observation is that it is more common for God to speak to us in some other ways:
Often God will speak to us in what scripture calls "a still small voice". This is the voice of the Holy Spirit. Who is Holy Spirit? When you received Jesus as your Lord, God moved into your very being. This personal presence of God is who we call the Holy Spirit. Sound crazy? That's because it is. God does amazing and mind-blowing things, and desired such an intimate relationship with you that He came to reside in you.
Jesus comforted His disciples before He left the earth saying that He would send Holy Spirit to enter into their lives and be their Helper. He does the same thing in us today when we receive Jesus as Lord. An easy way to think about Holy Spirit is the person of God who helps us in our everyday lives. So when God speaks to us, it is the voice of the Holy Spirit. What does He sound like? Holy Spirit often speaks to us in a quiet, peaceful way that we often perceive as thoughts that originate from deep within us.These are not your ordinary "I really want a cheeseburger right now" thoughts. Nor are they thoughts that put pressure, confusion, or condemnation on us. They are peace-filled thoughts and instructions that set us free by leading us into a confident awareness of who Jesus is and what He desires to do in our lives. As we yield to these instructions from Him, we are transformed from the inside out in Christ-likeness. Thoughts that originate from Holy Spirit always point us in the direction of Jesus, and will never contradict the truths found in scripture that Jesus showed us about God. If Jesus wouldn't do it, Holy Spirit won't tell you to.
Reading the Bible is a powerful way to get to know God. The Bible is an amazing compilation of real-life stories and letters from God to us (called scripture) that He utilizes to show us who He is. The Bible is not God, but since it is from God, it is without error. Although men physically wrote scripture, they did so genuinely inspired by God. Scripture is God-breathed words written by the hand of man. That is not to say that God stamps His approval on everything that everyone does in scripture. As you read, you will see some people do some really ungodly things. These things are recorded to to show us that God works with us even as we screw up. We see real stories of real people and what it looks like to be led by God, or what it looks like when we reject His guidance.
The Bible is split into two major sections, The Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament represents what God's interaction with humanity looked like before Jesus came to save mankind, and the New Testament represents what God's interaction with humanity looks like now that Jesus came to bring us back into relationship with God. That said, a good place for you to start reading in the Bible would be the New Testament, since we are living in the days of restored fellowship with God thanks to Jesus.
The first four books of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) are called "The Gospels". These books tell the story of Jesus' ministry here on the earth from the perspective of the four different authors. After the Gospels, you find the book of "Acts" which is the story of what life looked like in the early church immediately after Jesus left the earth and sent the Holy Spirit to reside in His people. The book of Acts is an inspiring narrative that shows us the magnitude of what God can do in us, His people, as we yield to Him. After that, you find what are called "The Epistles". These are various letters written to churches of the day filled with amazingly practical insight as to how God's love is experienced and expressed in our everyday lives. After the epistles, the Bible is summed up with "Revelation", a book written with amazing imagery and a vast amount of symbolism. This book is a powerful read, however we suggest starting with the Gospels and epistles as they are a little easier to understand.
We know that scripture reading can be intimidating. We highly recommend getting a bible in a modern language translation. We have a couple options you can pick up at the church for free. As you begin reading, remember that God is with you. Ask Him to make things real to you as you read. Don't freak out if you don't understand everything. Nobody does. Remember, we don't read scripture just to attain knowledge, but to deepen relationship with God.
Community is a crucial part of relationship with God. Being that He is all about relationships, it shouldn't surprise us that He calls us into relationship not only with Him, but with others. In the Bible, God puts an emphasis on the importance of believers regularly coming together and doing life with each other.We do this by gathering together on Sunday mornings, as well as by developing relationships that extend beyond Sunday mornings. There are multiple reasons given in the Bible as to why this is so important.
Coming together with other believers is an amazing opportunity to be encouraged and encourage others in our walks with God. Even as a Jesus follower, life will have difficult moments. It's amazing to have a group of people to love you and help point you to Jesus in the midst of these kinds of situations.
God also tells us in scripture that He loves and dwells in the praises of His people. When we come together to praise Him in song, message, and conversation, as well as utilize our God given gifts to minister to one another, He moves in mighty ways.
Lastly, scripture refers to believers as "The Body Of Christ", saying that each member is a part of His body, with Jesus being the head. Body parts do a terrible job functioning on their own. Imagine a pinky detached from a body. It is lifeless, and a little creepy. We aren't supposed to do life like a disconnected pinky. We are to live vibrant, God-filled lives, receiving instruction from the head (Jesus) linked up with other believers. That means you are important, and God wants to move in your life and in the lives around you as you dive into relationship with Him and other believers.
4) share it
When we enter into a relationship with God, we sometimes have the tendency to cubby off our “spiritual life” from our “regular life”. We can act one way in church and another way everywhere else. God’s desire is that rather than this kind of separation, the two merge in a beautifully and truly impactful way. That said, as you continue in your relationship with God, we’d encourage you to share what He’s doing in your life with other people. You can do this in a couple ways:
As we continue to live life led by Holy Spirit, we begin to see some amazing transformation in our everyday attitudes and actions. The Bible refers to some of these tangible attributes as the “fruit of the Spirit”. It lists love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control as things that will flow both in the lives of believers and their interactions. As people witness these changes in you, they witness the power of God in action.
It’s a beautiful thing to be completely loved and forgiven by God, even though we don’t deserve it. It is unconditional. He loves everyone, all the time. Jesus forgave the very people that nailed Him to the cross. It is God’s desire that as His children, we yield to Him extending this same kind of grace to all people. When we love the unlovable and forgive the unforgivable, people are blown away. When we live like this, people are tangibly confronted with the love of God through our actions.We know this can sound impossible and that’s because without God, it is. We’d encourage you to remember He is always with you, and to ask Him to help show you how to express His radical love in your everyday life.
Don’t worry, we aren’t telling you to engage in high-pressure, pushy conversations. Nor does it mean that you have to become a Bible-scholar who knows everything there is to know about God (none of us do). It just means being real with people about what God is doing in your life, as well as His love for them. Think of it this way: If we meet a new friend who is genuinely changing our life, we tend to tell our other friends about that person. If that new friend really wanted to meet our other friends we would probably introduce them. It’s no different in our relationship with God. Just be real, and share what you’ve been given by a God who genuinely cares about you and lives of those around you.
we hope this is helpful!
We look forward to getting to know you better and seeing God move in your life! If you have any additional questions, feel free to reach out via email here.