How to Deepen Your Personal Relationship with God
In a very real sense, God is constantly and forever waiting for each and every one of his believers to ask him how they can deepen their personal relationship with him. God has a lot of answers---which figures, what with him having all of them and everything---but for that particular question, he really has an answer. And if you sincerely and deeply ask God what you should do in order to enrich your relationship with him, what you are certain to in one way or another "hear" him communicating back to you is that you would do very well indeed to begin incorporating into your daily life the following four things:
1. Listening to God
2. Reflecting upon God
3. Being humble before God
4. Trusting God
God has a lot of things to say to all of us, but he puts doing those four things into the hearts and minds of anyone who is sincerely seeking to know him better.
Let's go over them real quick. One thing to make clear before we do, though, is that in order to effectively do one or any of these four things you hardly have to be an expert worshipper, or anything like that. You don't have to be a monk, nun, priest, or in any way holier than you are right now in order to get Maximum Results from undertaking these four simple, natural, Eminently Human steps. Just start doing them---and trust that God will take care of the rest.
See? Then you'd already be doing step number four!
All right, let's look real quickly at our four steps.
James 4:8 Come near to God and he will come near to you.
John 10:27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
Reflect upon God. This is just about the easiest thing in the world to do. God is everywhere manifested: in all nature; in all people; in all the shapes, forms, colors, textures. God exists in every moment of your perceived experience. Or just look into your own soul: There's the holy presence of God! Reflect upon Him. Use the fact of the divine, immediate reality of God to lift you into the kind of grand, passive contemplation that is, after all, one of the sweetest glimpses of the next life afforded any of us in this.
John 1:1-5 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
Be humble before God. Think and feel, sometimes, about who and what you are---about who and what any human is---in comparison to who and what God is. Sit with that understanding for a while. Appreciate it. Let it grow within you. Let it overwhelm you. Let it drop you to your knees.
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Luke 14:11 For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
Trust in God. In those three simple words lie the key to best, richest, most rewarding life possible. It's hard to elaborate on so perfect a phrase. Trust in God. Do it. Every once in a while---especially if you know that it's been a while---stop whatever you're doing, and hold in your mind and heart the fact that the entirely of everything you ever worry about is in the hands of God, and that everything about you and your world that he does, he does so that ultimately you will know the peace of his abiding presence. It has never been any different, and it never will be any different: God loves you, and you can trust him. Stop, sometimes, to relax into that amazing truth, and to rejoice around it.
During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."
"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."
"Come," he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. "But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"