It is very important for brothers and sisters believing in the Lord to maintain a normal relationship with God. Because this is related to whether we can gain the work of the Holy Spirit, act in harmony with the Lord’s will and obtain the approval of the Lord. Then how should we maintain a normal relationship with God? A few days ago, I got some gains and ways to this question through communication on a gospel website, and I would like to share them with you:
Firstly, give our hearts to God and allow Him to take over in all things; pray to God with a sincere heart and have a true communion with Him.
If we want to establish a normal relationship with God, we should first start from praying to God. In most of the time, we don’t have a true communion with God in prayer, nor do we seek God’s will or speak the words in our hearts to Him. We are simply content to abide by outward practices and rituals. Every day, we say morning and evening prayers and give thanks after meals, but we just go through the motions. Sometimes, we spend an hour or two hours in prayer, reciting some Bible verses and uttering lots of words of praise or nice-sounding words in order to obtain the satisfaction of God, or asking God to bestow various blessings on us and so on. Our prayers are not spoken sincerely and we are not having a true communion with God. The Lord Jesus said, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). God requires of us to pray to Him with a sincere heart, speak the true thoughts and difficulties in our hearts to Him, which is just like how we would have a heart-to-heart talk with others. In both cases, there is no deception or crafty intentions. Only in this way will God hear our prayers. Therefore, we should often pray to God like this, so that we can obtain the work of the Holy Spirit and our relationship with God will become more and more normal.
When we speak the words in our hearts to God, we can also pray to Him in connection with corrupt dispositions we have revealed. Such prayer will be more accepted by God. For example, when we succeed in hosting a meeting or solving some problems and difficulties of brothers and sisters, by which we win acknowledgement and esteem from brothers and sisters, we will say in word, “Thank God. That’s because of God’s leading.” But in our hearts, we cannot help taking all the credit, and think that we have done it by our own abilities, so that we become self-congratulatory and steal God’s glory. At the time, if we can lay ourselves open to God and speak our real situation to Him, and we are willing to accept His observation, then we can receive the enlightenment and illumination of God and know the truth of our corruption. When we sincerely pray to God and repent, we will feel peaceful and secure. This is the first condition under which we can maintain a normal relationship with God.
Secondly, quiet our hearts before God every day and have a proper spiritual life; always contemplate God’s word to understand His will.
As believers in the Lord, if we lose a proper spiritual life, our situation will become abnormal and we will suffer from spiritual darkness, unable to sense God’s presence. So, quieting our hearts before God and having a proper spiritual life are important means of maintaining a normal relationship with God. Besides having normal meetings and fellowshiping with brothers and sisters, we should also often quiet our hearts before God and earnestly ponder God’s word, seeking the truth and meditating on God’s love. In this way, we can become closer to God and reflect on ourselves more, so that we can obtain the work of the Holy Spirit and understand God’s will as well as His requirements of us. For example, the Lord Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). When reading these words, we should quiet our hearts and contemplate, “What’s the meaning of the Lord Jesus requiring us to be honest persons? What should we do to put being honest into practice?” At the same time, we should pray to the Lord as well, then the Holy Spirit will work on us, making us understand that only if we become honest can we receive God’s salvation and enter the kingdom of heaven. God likes the people who are honest. An honest person can give his heart to God and lay himself open to God, speaking honestly and doing honest things; there is no doing business with God, no demand on payment in his expending and laboring for the Lord, and he can put his heart, his effort into doing the work that God entrusts to him, and he doesn’t disguise malice or avoid responsibility, nor does he deceive God or people. … Comparing our own behavior to that, we will search out the displays of our cheating God, then we can seek the principles of practice and enter into them when encountering things. Practicing in this way, we will find that when our personal interests are not at risk we can speak honestly, and that when it comes to matters that involve our own benefit, we will tell lies and use specious arguments and explanations; we make resolutions before the Lord and are willing to devote ourselves to work for God, but when tribulation and persecution happen to us, we will be passive and weak and stop advancing, unable to practice the Lord’s word and obey Him; we say in word that we love the Lord and let Him be the master and decision-maker, but in fact, we always have the final say in all things and there is totally no place for God in our hearts, and our expending and laboring for the Lord is just for receiving His blessings and entering the kingdom of heaven. … At that time, we can have some true knowledge of the truth of our corruption, seeing clearly the impurity in our working for the Lord.
If we often have a true communion with God in spirit or contemplate God’s word, gradually we can receive the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit and keep a normal relationship with God.
Thirdly, seek God’s will and forsake our flesh to attain obedience to God when something happens to us.
In our life of belief in the Lord, we will face temptations both great and small from Satan every day. It is just as some Christians have said, “The Christian life is a life of experience in spiritual warfare.” Then when facing those Satan’s temptations, especially some matters that we cannot see through, we should always come before God more to seek the truth or fellowship together with brothers and sisters to seek God’s will, then we can practice according to His requirements of us. Only then can we overcome the temptations of Satan and maintain a normal relationship with God. For example, we enthusiastically expend for the Lord and have suffered a lot for preaching the gospel, but when some things that are not in line with our notions, meeting with sickness or being arrested and imprisoned and so on, suddenly happen to us, we will feel painful and sad in our hearts, and we cannot help developing conceptions or misunderstandings about God. At this point, we need to quiet our hearts to seek God’s will, neither judging at will nor doing things blindly. God has said, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, said the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). God is an all-inclusive God. No matter what God does, there is His good purpose behind it, which is all beneficial to us. We should understand God’s will, obeying firstly and then praying to Him and seeking His will. Unknowingly, we will receive God’s enlightenment and illumination. Just like Job, when he lost his all property and calamity befell his children, and even his body was covered in boils, he didn’t show any resistance, but prostrated himself and prayed to God, quieting himself before God to seek God will. In the end, he said, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21). In the midst of trials, Job forsook his flesh and stood firm in his testimony, which glorifies God and shames Satan. It can be seen that when some matters inconsistent with our notions come upon us, we should quiet ourselves before God more and pray to God, seeking His will and principles of practice, so that we can practice the truth and stand testimony to satisfy God in the trial.
Brothers and sisters, have you learned the above three secrets of maintaining a normal relationship with God? When you feel distant from God and suffer from spiritual darkness, unable to sense God’s presence, why not practice according to the above three secrets to keep a normal relationship with God!
By Zhang Hong