Week 3 How to grow in relationship with Jesus

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It is such a joy to enter into a relationship with Jesus! When you first enter into a relationship with Jesus, there are often still questions, there is excitement, contentment and hope. Once someone experiences salvation and has accepted the work that Jesus did on their behalf, the journey of sanctification begins. Sanctification is the process of becoming holy.  To put it another way, sanctification is the process of becoming more like Jesus. Sanctification is a lifelong journey that is extremely rewarding and challenging at the same time. God desires to be a part of every area of our lives and the more time we spend with Him, the more we will resemble Him.

While we can’t see God, He promises that He is always with us. Joshua 1:9 tells us to “be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  In Zephaniah 3:17 we read, “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” We have the promise that God is always with us, so why do we struggle to spend the time with Him that we desperately need, and He deserves?  Well, here is the truth: The busyness of life keeps us from the relationship with God that we crave and for which we were designed. 

How do we grow in our relationship with God? It is going to take discipline on our part to invest in this relationship.  There is NO other relationship that is more important than our relationship with God, and it should be our first priority.  All of the other relationships that we have will be enhanced and strengthened by our relationship with our Heavenly Father. As in all good relationships, consistent communication is the key.  We have to set aside time daily for Bible study and prayer.  In certain stages of life this is a challenge to make happen, but in all stages of life, this is the most important and life-giving part of our day.   

I have such wonderful memories of experiencing the presence of God in a REAL way when I first became a Christian. I was a young woman in my early 30’s, and I was devouring God’s Word, spending a good amount of time in prayer, and I experienced guidance, peace, and joy like I have never known before.  However, as time went on, I allowed the busyness of my children’s activities and household demands to occupy much of my time. I also filled my time catching up on the latest social media or binging the next popular Netflix series. If I am to be perfectly honest, I let this world take over, and I was left with much less time for my relationship with God.  Did God leave me? Absolutely not. In fact, when I would take the time, albeit not nearly often enough, to have a substantial time of study and/or prayer, I would immediately feel the contentment and joy that I used to know. So why, when I know the life that is available to me, do I not do the work? I don’t have the answer to that question. I was just a hot mess.  I still am a hot mess and although I am in a much better season now, I still neglect my Father. This is what I know: God loves me even though I am a mess.  God forgives me for all the times that I choose almost everything else over Him.  He does not resent me. He does not get His feelings hurt. He does not punish me or ignore me.  Psalm 103:11-12 tells us, “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.” I may take 10 steps away from God, but when I turn back to Him, He is always RIGHT THERE!   Every day is a new day to make the decision to do the work of sanctification! Let’s use our resources, teachings, and Christian community opportunities to strengthen our relationship with our patient Father.  Living our best life is living in the joy, peace, and hope that an intimate relationship with Jesus provides. Let’s live our best life growing in relationship with Jesus.

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