Radical Relationships: Having a vibrant relationship with God
This Sunday looks at the most important relationship of all and that’s your relationship to God. How do you become best friends with God? What kind of relationship does God really want with you? Your relationship with God has many aspects. God is your Father. He is your Creator. He is your maker. He’s your judge. He’s your master. He’s your Lord. He’s your Redeemer. He’s your Savior to name a few.
Something To Talk About:
God wants you for a friend. The Bible says in James 4:8, “Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you.” It’s just pretty simple. You draw close to God and he will draw close to you. To accomplish that consider the following steps:
- Make knowing God my number one priority: You’re never going to become a friend of God in your spare time. It needs to be a priority. Jesus said, Seek first the kingdom of God. Do it first. Because if at the end of the day you know God more and love him better, that day was a success. Paul says it like this: “Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8) When you decide to serve God with your whole heart and make Him first in your life, your soul will prosper and your joy and peace will increase.
- Slow down and be quiet: You make time for your friends, so if God is going to be your best friend you’ve got to connect with God. The Bible says in Psalm 46:10 says “Be still, and know that I am God…!” We can know Him by having an intimate relationship with Him. That does not come from knowing about Him, but rather getting to personally know Him by what He says in His Word, the Bible, recognizing the things He does in our lives, and by the way His Holy Spirit comes to guide and comfort us. You need to have a daily quiet time with God. Read God’s Word and listen and say,” God is there anything you want to say to me?” Find a quiet, secluded place and be as straightforward and honest as you can and you will learn to recognize the way God talks to us, the kinds of things He says, and the purpose He has for our lives.
- Decide whose friendship you want most: You don’t have time for everybody to be your friend. And if everybody else is going to be your friend you’re not going to have time for God in your life. You’ve got to decide who you want most to be your best friend. He wants us to talk to Him, come to Him during our times of trouble, and build a loving, long-lasting friendship. When you boil it down you realize that Jesus is the example of what a perfect friend should be. Once you see all the things that a friendship with Jesus offers, you will realize that He is the best friend that you could ever have.
- Maintain a constant conversation: Friendship with God is built by sharing all your life experiences with Him. Of course, it is important to establish the habit of a daily devotional time with God, but God wants more than an appointment in your schedule. He wants to be included in every activity, every conversation, every problem, and even every thought. You can carry on a continuous, open-ended conversation with God throughout your day, talking with him about whatever you are doing or thinking at that moment. The habit of “Never stop praying.” from 1 Thessalonians 5:17 means conversing with God while shopping, driving, working, or performing any other everyday task. A common misconception is that “spending time with God” means being alone with him. Of course, as Jesus modeled, you need time alone with God, but that is only a fraction of your waking hours. Everything you do can be “spending time with God.”
- Trust God in your pain: Trust God in your pain. Every friendship is built on trust and that’s true with God. You’ve got to trust Him. And you’ve got to trust Him when things don’t make sense, when things go sideways and when you’re going under for the last time. It is hard during times of pain but we need to remember that we lack the perspective to see how parts of our lives fit into God’s overall plan. Cancer, disabilities, accidents, and other losses and sorrows appear devastatingly pointless. However, just because we don’t see any point in suffering doesn’t prove there is no point. Scripture teaches us that in our sovereign God’s loving hands, no suffering we face is ever purposeless, no matter how it seems at the moment. Faith is believing that God always has a point in our pain.
- What jumped out at you from this sermon?
- What is one goal you have to strengthen in your relationship with God?
- Can we talk to God at any time and know that He hears us?
- Have you wished that you could “get away” and have time alone with God? How can you change your attitude and posture toward God today so that this day has the same effect as a spiritual retreat?
- As you go through your day, do you feel God’s presence more at one time than another? Why?
- What stands in the way of deepening your friendship with Jesus? Explain.
- The friendship we enjoy with Jesus is meant to be shared by loving others. What specific ways will you reach out to others in friendship this week?
- What is the ultimate, most powerful way to stay close to God?
- Is guilt robbing you of life right now? Is it an obstacle to your relationship with God? What can you do this week to deal with guilt? How can this group support you?
- Pain can be the fuel of passion in our relationship with God. What can we do when we are in pain or when things are not going well to trust in God better?
- 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says to “pray all the time!” What are stressful situations in your day when having an ongoing conversation with God might deepen your relationship with him?
- Is there a step you need to take based on today’s topic?
Take one thing home with you:
How do we take our relationship with God deeper in 2020 and in the next generation? For some Christians, a relationship with Jesus consists of praying to Him and going to church on Sunday. They allow Jesus to be a sacrifice for their sins, but the relationship with Him stops there. For others, Jesus is an example to follow, and they try their best to live as He did. But unless you connect to God daily, the relationship can become “distant.”
The Bible, however, speaks about an intimate and dynamic relationship with Jesus. He is, after all, the light of the world, not a “theological concept;” not someone who once lived on the earth and now is far away, but a person who is alive and can be very near. Your relationship with Him can be full of life – not something lifeless and stagnant – because He Himself is alive! “I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.” (Revelation 1:18)