Do you have a relationship with church or with God? This may seem like a foolish question – allow me to explain. For 26 years as a Certified Pastoral Counselor, many people will say to me, “I need to go to church more.” They continue to talk about church and say nothing about God. That’s when I ask these questions, “What about your relationship with God? How would you define having an intimate relationship with God?” The response is usually vague. They do not understand what I am talking about.
We know we should not forsake the assembling ourselves together as we see the coming of the Lord approaching. How we have church today is completely different than the New Testament church. They went from house to house and town to town spreading the gospel. The church was not contained within the four walls. The early church understood through Holy Ghost anointing that living for God entailed our surrender to Him 24 hours a day.
Paul told the people in Athens that he knew their ‘Unknown God’. He said, “In Him we live and move and have our being.” Acts 17 – Paul spoke daily in the public square about Jesus being God. The early church leaders were in the public daily sharing the good news of the gospel. Their new birth experience and calling to spread the gospel changed their entire lives.
We all have 168 hours a week. If we spent 8 hours in church and 60 hours a week sleeping, we would still have 100 hours every week to work, be with family, do whatever is necessary to live. Eight hours or less a week in church is not having an intimate relationship with God. An intimate relationship with God is allowing Him to sit on the throne of our heart and be Holy Ghost controlled in ALL of our conduct.
Mark 12 records Jesus quoting the commandment of the Old Testament, “Love God with all your whole heart, soul, mind and strength. Secondly, love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Our heart, soul, and mind overlap each other as the very essence of our being. It’s the center of our decision-making. It’s the part of me that will never die. My strength is the body in which I live. I must allow God to be in control of my thoughts, feelings, and actions at ALL times.
Paul tells us in I Cor. 6th & 10th chapters that our body does not belong to us. It belongs to God who paid the high price of His blood on the cross. We are to glorify God in our body and spirit. We are to do whatever we do – ALL – we do to the glory of God. This is having an intimate relationship with God. When we study His Word and hide it in our hearts, we will not sin against the Lord! Our daily life is a witness to the world whether we love God totally or He is only allowed in our lives on a part-time basis.
If we desire love, joy, and peace, we must be longsuffering, kind, good, faithful, gentle and have self-control. We must allow the Fruit of the Spirit to manifest itself in our lives. God does not force us to do anything. He desires to be an intimate part of everything that we do. How we treat other people is how we are treating God! All of us will answer to God for our thoughts, feelings, and actions.
We must spend time with God in His Word and through prayer. The only way you become friends with anyone is to spend time with them. We are called God’s friends. Do you spend time with Him? Is He welcome in all of our activities? I saw a poster recently that said, “Spiritual maturity isn’t measured by how high you jump in praise but how straight you walk in obedience.” This is God’s truth! We can go to church 8 hours a week and still not walk in obedience – that is a choice! After going to church and sleeping, I want to use my awake time – 100 hours a week to glorify God in all I do.
Allow God to be an intimate partner in your job. Allow God to participate in all your activities with family and friends. Study God’s instruction book, especially the epistles written to the Holy Ghost filled church telling us how we ought to behave ourselves. All of the above is true worship – yielding your entire self into God’s control. When we go to church, God does not demand running, jumping or shouting. God desires your true thanksgiving and worship to come from your heart not because someone tells you to move. It’s not about physical demonstration. Worship is surrendering our entire self to His will and His way in our lives. God promises when we pray/worship in our ‘closet’, He will reward us openly.
Let’s encourage one another in developing an intimate relationship with God that will be our strength in the good times and in the bad times. My most precious time with God is my personal prayer/His Word/devotion with Him praying in the Spirit – feeling His presence in an intimate surrounding of His Spirit, talking to God with understanding and journaling my thoughts to Him. Developing an intimate daily dialogue with God is living in a ‘God-conscious’ state of mind, allowing Him to completely control all I do and say for His glory!
I must have God in every hour of my life – not just in church. I must have Him in my thoughts, feelings and actions hour by hour! Chorus, “I need thee, Oh, I need thee. Every hour I need thee. Bless me now my Savior. I come to thee.”
Contact me to speak at your church or conference. I provide nationwide counseling by phone/Skype (636) 448-0121. Mins. Ref: Pastor Daniel Batchelor, Dupo, IL.
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