A Noodler said:
“…I want to follow Jesus, I want to do whats right, i try to do my devotions but I can never seem to connect with Jesus any more I feel like I’m just talking to my self. he just seems so far away…”
Wow, good question:
That’s an awesome request and a lot of people ask questions just like you!
The problem – in short – is our thinking.
How we think about God affects how we allow Him to work in our life. It also affects our emotions towards God.
Let me share a real life example…
Lunch at Nandos
This last Sunday I went out with a bunch of friends to my favourite restaurant – Nandos. It’s a chicken restaurant that makes the ‘tastiest-ever’ Peri-Peri chicken.
Nestled around the table were friends, -and a few people I didn’t know well.
One of the people I didn’t know well was a Hungarian girl.
I’ve got an interest in Hungarian and Eastern European culture, and I lured her into a fairly lengthy conversation about the Hungarian culture.
We proceeded the topic of whether Hungarian women were, as a general rule, – ‘independant’.
She said yes!
Okay, that statement may not be an entirely true and is probably a gross generalisation about Hungarian women, – but this young lady certainly was very! independent.
She made no overt apologies with her (almost rebellious) mindset towards the role of men.
When I questioned why Hungarian women were so independent, she referred to history when Eastern Europe was under communist rule – women went out to work as well as men.
Although there is nothing wrong with women working, – during the Godless communist period it seems that the idea that a husband should be the leader of his home and care for his wife was undermined.
I suggested to this girl that the biblical viewpoint is that a man should care for his wife as a servant-leader, a woman should allow herself to be cared for by her husband.
This young lady would probably call herself a Christian, yet she didn’t seem too affected by the fact that the bible might hold a different view to hers. She vicariously stood by her viewpoint.
How sad… here was an amazing young lady that was missing out on love and care from a man that God had intended for her.
When God created her, he planned a special man for her that could be a servant-leader and care for her ’till death do them part’.
Because of her rebellious mindset towards men that developed whilst growing up (because of communism or – most likely other reasons as well), – she could not grasp this Sacred plan of God…. – for her to experience a husband’s love and care.
She seemed to see something that God intended as love, – instead as control.
Our mindsets about those we love
In the same way as this precious young Hungarian had a warped mindset about men, – our wrong mindsets about God can stop us from experiencing all the love, care and goodness He has in store for us to experience through a love relationship with Him.
Just imagine if I (as a person) was crazily in love with a girl. I could do everything I know how to be close to her and love her.
Even if I were to sacrifice my very life for her, – her wrong mindsets about me could actually stop her from loving me and experiencing my love.
Some of her wrong mindsets may be formed by:
- What she thinks true love really is,
- how she views me,
- who she compares me with,
- which people she lets influence her thinking,
- what past events she lets influence her thinking about me,
- whether she wants to give up her self-will and independent life to commit to me
All of the above factors would affect how she loved me and how she, in turn, – felt my love.
If her mindset was not formed through Christ-like thinking, she would not be able to experience all the goodness and love I have to offer her!
Instead she may unknowingly be susceptible to ideas and people that would destroy any chance for a loving relationship with me.
Our mindsets about God
The God of the universe is crazily in love with you! He wants a sacred romance with you!
When a husband and wife have sex, they are closely intimate and become ‘one’. The bible says they ‘know’ each other. The bible uses that same word to describe the amazing, intimate relationship that a person can have with the God of the universe! WOW!
It’s an close-knit ‘knowing’ and becoming ‘one’ with God.
God is a lot more than a religious idea, or some bossy person in outer space!
Just like a man and woman get to know each other with deeper and deeper intimacy, God created us to know Him in a deeper way!
Unfortunately, just like the wrong mindsets we’ve listed above stop us from experiencing the love of a human soul mate, – they also stop us from truly ‘knowing’, ‘loving’ and ‘experiencing’ God.
That’s why we need to change our mindsets to give us the ‘ability’ to start knowing God!
Do we have the right mindset of God?
We need to have the right mindset of who really God is. He is a good God and has only great things in store for us. He wants to know us in an intimate way! He isn’t a distant God!
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (NLT)
Do we see Him as Someone to have a personal relationship with?
The truth is God wants an intimate personal relationship with us. If we think a relationship between a man and a woman can be close… wow… a relationship between a Christian and God can be infinitely closer!
We need to see God as a personal being, as our lover, as our best friend, and our father.
Don’t be afraid to talk to Him – just like you would talk to a best friend.
If you want to be close to Him, tell Him!
Just as you would embrace somebody special to you, – do it with God. Just like you would receive a gift from a loved one, – do it with God.
The relationship with God and Christians is no different than a relationship between a husband and a wife. The only difference is that a husband and wife can let selfishness get in the way.
God is always patient, always kind and always loving!
Do we see God as someone to be independent from? Do we see Him as a God who is an accessory to our lives… or are we truly wanting to be ONE with Him?
We need to become nothing in ourselves, submit to God and wholeheartedly pursue Him! Just like in an earthly relationship, – ‘casually dating’ God will not bring you the joy of the Sacred Romance God intended. It takes our all!
“If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” Jeremiah 29:13 (NLV)
Do we want Him alongside us, but still feel the need live our own single life without His influence dampening on our rights?
We need to remember:
To experience the wonderful love relationship, we need to let go of our independent life… That single season of our life is over where we did things our way. It’s time to adapt our wants and make them God’s wants.
Are we willing to throw everything in our life ‘to the wind’ and pursue a romance with God?” Unless we are, we shouldn’t be surprised if we don’t experience the true romantic experience with God in our life!
“My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 (NLV)
“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.” John 12:24 (NLV)
Of course that does not mean dying physically – but it means dying to our self-will and doing things our own way. When we do that and at the same time sell-out for God… – WOW… what a future!
Do we make our emotions dependant on those people and events around us, or on God?
“…You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Luke 10:27
If we are courting another person, but have an emotional dependence on a friend or a bad habit, – our relationship with our Princess/Prince will suffer.
It’s the same with God!
Unless we give God ‘our all’ emotionally to Him – fully relying on Him, – we cannot experience the bliss of being His ‘soul mate’. We would be trying to share our emotions with God and other things.
We need to truly make a decision to give all our emotions to God. No other person deserves to be God in our life – and if we make our emotions dependant of another person, we are diminishing the closeness that is only reserved for God.
It is so easy for all of us to let our emotions be invested away from God, because of how we thought in the past. Maybe how we were brought up affected our thinking. Maybe we had a bad experience that put us off Godly stuff.
That is why the bible says we need to be ‘transformed’ by the renewing of our mind!
We used to think as the world commonly does – but we are called to a new way of thinking!
We only have a certain amount of emotion to invest. We can choose to invest it into other people, bad habits, or hobbies, – or in a passionate romance with our lover God!
A half-hearted relationship with a human sucks… and will fall apart. Its the same with knowing God.
Our experience with God is determined by our need and thirst for Him.
Who forms our mindsets of God? Who tells us what we should think of God?
An earthly relationship can break apart if one soul mate focuses on lies or listens to wrong advice given to them by friends or family.
In the same way, what we choose to open our ears and eyes to, – WILL affect how we perceive God’s love and relate to Him.
What kind of friends are we hanging out with?
- Are they dead religious buddies who claim to know God, but don’t emit any power of God from their lives?
- Are they people who don’t believe in our heavenly romance?
- Are they people who may be jealous of the time we spend with God?
- Or are they buddies that inspire us to know God more, – and put faith in our sacred romance with God, instead of fear and doubt?
I HIGHLY recommend: Get involved in a great youth group that walks in the power of God!
It will encourage you to know God more. It will also be a place where you can meet others that want to experience God… and people who ARE experiencing God.
What kind of influences do we open our hearts and minds to?
Whatever we allow into our ears and eyes dramatically influences us!
That’s what we focus on… – and what we focus on will (without a doubt) grow in our life.
If we spend every evening watching ‘Heroes’, that’s what will grow in our life. If we instead watch the God channel, that’s what we will focus on… – and that’s what will grow in our life.
What are we reading?
When I was pursuing a girl, I read everything I could find about her on the net… I even googled her name!
Novels are great entertainment, but wow! when we start to really get to know God through the bible, we can truly get to know what kind of God He is.
It’s not about reading pages and pages!… it about personalising the one or two verses you do read!
What music are we listening to?
Are we listening to Hillsong worship music, – or the latest sexy teen music idol?… One will help us build a closer relationship with God. The other will cloud our mind with lust!
If I want to build an intimate relationship with my wife when I get married, it won’t help me to watch sexy scenes on R rated movies.
Its the same with God. We have the choice to focus on two diversely different themes in life:
Stuff that draws us closer to God…or stuff that draws us away from God.
Do we choose to spend to spend every second with Him, or is spending time with Him something we need to fulfill as part of our Christian duty.
It is easy to get into the boring religious rigmarole of life… reading our bible and spending time with God because we need to.
It’s the religious thing to do!
It’s the same as having to spend time with a girlfriend/boyfriend out of duty. If we felt it was a duty to spend time with a human we love, the relationship would soon become stale.
Is it little wonder that our relationship with God falls apart when we have that same idea?!
No, – life with God was intended as a sacred romance, powerful and fulfilling through the power of His Holy Spirit.
Serving God without the Holy Spirit is like marrying somebody who you don’t love. If we have never experienced the power of His Spirit in our lives, He is right there waiting for us, waiting to know us!
Read the first part of the book of Acts to find out about the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit will bring dynamic power and zest to your walk with God. He will be there to comfort, and strengthen you.
And when you don’t know whats right – He’ll lead you into Truth.
He is – in a very literal way, – ‘God on earth with us’. His power can fill our lives if we invite Him to.
Do we see God as a threat to our freedom, or the author of it?
We need to realise that life without God is slavery… Only true freedom can be experienced through Him!
“…It was for freedom that Christ set us free” Galatians 5:1
If we try to please God, – we never will be able to. It’s only by what Jesus did on the cross that we are made right with God!
“Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” Ephesians 2:9 (NLT)
How do we see ourselves in the relationship? Being controlled? Or being loved?
When we see God’s love as control, it will kill our relationship with Him.
Often in an earthly relationship, if we have been hurt in the past or want to do things our own way, – we see what is intended as love – instead as control.
We need to relise this romance is nothing about us – everything to do with Jesus and His ‘Grace’.
Just think, – say if Bill Gates were to give his enemy $10 billion with no strings attached. Jesus did so much more – to come down as God and die for us sinful rebellious people. It’s a free gift.
The word Grace means ‘undeserved favour’. We need to come to the end of ourselves and see what He intended as love. And we love Him selflessly because He gave it all for us.
God’s love isn’t control! Its a gift we can CHOOSE to receive or reject.
We accept it out of choice.
Know who you are:
I am Accepted by God – when I am in Christ:
- I died to self. Its gone! The old person is dead! I now am a totally new creation as I live by faith in Christ. (Gal 2:20; Cor 5:17)
- When I chose to receive Jesus, I became God’s child. (John 1:12)
- I am a friend of God and I learn to follow Him (John 15:15)
- I have been made right with God through accepting what Jesus did for us and I am at peace. (Romans 5:1)
- The price paid for me was enormous. I now belong to God and live to bring glory to Him. (1 Cor 6:19-20)
- God specially chose me! to be His child – wow! (Eph 1:3-8)
- I have been lifted up, given a fresh start and forgiven of my sins (Col 1:13-14)
- I am complete – full of supernatural life in as I stay in Him. (Col 2:9-10)
- Jesus has been tempted with all the things we have, and I can go to Him for mercy (Heb 4:14-16)
I am secure – when I am in Christ:
- I live in Christ and no accusations about me that say ‘I am unfit to be used by God’ are true. I can’t be separated from Gods love. (Rom 8:12, Rom 8:31-39)
- As I choose to grow in God’s purpose, I know that everything will work together for the good, because I love Him. (Rom 8:28)
- God has set me apart and empowered me by His Spirit. (2 Cor 1:21-22)
- My old life is dead and I am alive – hidden with Christ. (Col 3:1-4)
- I am confident that God who began the good work in me will continue, developing, perfecting and bringing it to full completion. (Phil 1:6)
- I am a citizen of heaven and that is my culture. (Phil 3:20)
- I was not given a spirit of fear. I was given a Spirit of love, power and a disciplined, sound mind. (2 Tim 1:7)
- I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me. (1 John 5:18)
- If I am without a father, God is my father. Psalm 68:5
I am significant – when I am in Christ:
- When I am connected to Jesus I can spread God’s abundant life. Apart from Him I can’t do anything. (John 15:5)
- Jesus chose me and set me with the task to bring life to those around me that lasts. (John 15:16)
- The God who created the universe lives in me! (1 Cor 3:16)
- We are Gods ambassadors to people around us to give them the opportunity to know God. (2 Cor 5:17-21)
- I am seated up with Jesus, far above any problem that can be named. (Eph 2:6, Eph 1:20-21)
- We have been created by God born anew in Christ. We now accomplish the honorable and good things that God had originally planned for us. (Eph 2:10)
- Because we have faith in God, we can approach our daddy father in freedom with confidence, without fear. Eph 3:12
- I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. (Phil 4:13)
Remember, it is only when we renew and transform our thinking about God that we can receive His love and truly know God.
We simply cannot do that in ourselves – that dead person that has been buried with Christ. But we can as new creations – through Christ who empowers us and lives through us.
Let your mind be transformed… seek God… Know Him personally… Give it all up for Him… Hang out in the right places with the right people… and you are in for an amazing ‘Sacred Romance’ with the creator of the universe!
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