By Zhang Hong
It is very important for every brother and sister in the Lord to maintain a normal relationship with God. Because this is related to whether we believers in God can gain the work of the Holy Spirit, act in harmony with God’s will and obtain God’s approval. Then how should we maintain a normal relationship with God? Through fellowshiping with brothers and sisters and practicing in our daily life, I have summarized three ways:
Firstly, give our hearts to God and accept Him to be our Lord; 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. No matter how busy we are, we must come before God to pray to Him. In our prayers, we should speak the words in our hearts to Him, for 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 the difficulties in our hearts to Him, which is just like how we would have a heart-to-heart talk to others, with no deception or crafty intentions. Only in this way will God hear our prayers. If we often pray to God like this, we can obtain the work of the Holy Spirit and our relationship with God will become more and more normal.
In addition, we can also pray to God 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, “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. At the time, if we can speak our real situation to God, are willing to accept His observation, and change our wrong intentions, then we can receive the enlightenment and illumination of God. When we sincerely pray to God and repent, we will feel peaceful and secure.
Secondly, have a proper spiritual life every day and always contemplate God’s word to understand His will.
If we lose a proper spiritual life, we will suffer from spiritual darkness, unable to sense God’s presence. So, having a proper spiritual life is an important means of maintaining a normal relationship with God. Besides having normal meetings and fellowship, 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 obtain the work of the Holy Spirit and can understand God’s will more 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 of God, 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, and then we will gain the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit, understanding that God likes honest persons and that only if we become honest can we receive God’s salvation and enter the kingdom of heaven. If we wish to be honest, we should give our hearts to God, speak honestly and do honest things. When expending and laboring for God, we should not make deals with God but should put our hearts and efforts into doing the work that God entrusts to us, and we should not disguise malice or avoid responsibility, nor do we deceive God or people. … Comparing ourselves to God’s requirements of honest persons, 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 God and are willing to devote ourselves to work for God, but when tribulation and persecution happen to us, we will be passive and weak, lose faith in God, and even stop advancing. We say in word that we love God 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 God 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, knowing what corruptions we still have now and we struggle to pursue to change them.
If we often quiet ourselves before God in this way and contemplate God’s word, then we can gradually understand His will, our conduct can be more in accordance with His requirements, and we will naturally keep a more 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 God, we often face temptations both great and small from Satan. It is just as some Christians have said, “The Christian life is a life of experience in spiritual warfare.” 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, and 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 God 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 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…. 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 obey firstly and pray to God and seek His will. In this way, we will stand the testimony easily for God. It is just like Job. When his property was stolen, 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: Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah” (Job 1:21). In the midst of trials, Job forsook his flesh, stood firm in his testimony, and shamed Satan, which is approved by God. It can be seen that when some matters inconsistent with our notions come upon us, we should quiet ourselves before God and pray to God more, seeking His will and principles of practice, so that we can stand testimony to satisfy God in trials. When we practice in this way, our relationship with God will naturally be closer and closer.
Brothers and sisters, have you learned the above three principles 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 aspects to recover a normal relationship with God?