“Father, I desire these whom you have given me, to be with Me where I am…………”JOHN 17:24
It is our Father’s desire that we may be close to Him, but often we struggle to be close to Jesus because we desire to,but do not know how.
Below,am sharing a few key points which can help us get closer to Jesus.
Some are things the Holy Spirit personally taught me,but others are things I learnt from men and women of God which I have practiced and have proved beneficial in my walk with God. Stay tuned!!!!
I have decided to put holiness as the first point because, if you are not holy in the first place, you cannot be close to God.
The bible tells us in Isaiah 59:1-2,”behold the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save;neither His ear heavy that it cannot hear:
But your iniquities have separated you and your God,and your sins have hid His face from you,that He will not hear you.”
We can clearly see that tolerating sin in our lives results in God hiding His face from us,therefore we cannot be close to Him.
Also,the bible tells us in Hebrews 12:14,that without holiness, no man will see God.
And Amos 3:3 that two cannot walk together unless they agree.So you cannot walk with God unless you agree with Him!
And God tells us over and over in His word that He is HOLY.1Peter 1:15 says “be ye holy,for I am Holy.”
God is HOLY.That is the truth.When we read the bible we come across so many passages that say God’s name is holy.For example Luke 1:49,”For the Mighty One has done great things for me.Holy is His name”
Previously,when I came across such passages,I used to think this refers to the name of God being HOLY,like in the way the ark of the covenant was holy,or like an object dedicated to God is holy,in other words,as if God’s name has got holiness,until oneday in 2015,the Holy Spirit told me that’s literal.
One of God’s names is literally that; HOLY.
He has many names,Elohim,Adonai,Yaweh,Holy!
That tells us a lot about His nature.God hates sin,and if you keep holding on to sin He cannot be close to you,He will be at a distance.
If you desire to be close to Him you must get rid of all sin in your life.
2.READ HIS WORD
This is really important because for you to get close to God,you need to know His voice so that when he speaks to you,you will know He is the one.
Often satan attacks children of GOD by making them disregard the importance of reading the bible everyday.
You can’t just pray daily and yet just read the bible rarely,they go hand in hand.You must read the word of God on a daily basis,and not only read it,but meditate on it till it becomes real to you and begins to influence your everyday descisions.
Joshua 1:8”This book of the law shall not depart from thy mouth,but thou shall meditate on it day and night,so that thou may be careful to do according to all that is written in it……….”
Read other passages talking about the same; psalm 143:5,psalm 1:2,1 Timothy 4:15 etc
Reading the bible will help us recognize God’s voice when He speaks.On a lighter note,don’t expect God to speak to you in King James language……God speaks to us depending on the language we use,and the vocabulary we understand and regularly use,He is so good.
But reading the bible will help you identify the voice of God because it’s never contrary to His word.
And reading the bible will help you to have faith,which is necessary when you are walking with God.
Romans 10:17 tells us that we can’t have faith unless we hear the word of God.
Just like in human relationships,for your bond with an earthly friend to blossom, you need to trust them,if you don’t trust them you cannot be close.
Even in your relationship with God, trusting Him is very important for you to walk close to Him, and you cannot trust Him if you do not have faith,and you cannot have that faith if you do not know what His word says.
In an earthly relationship,the more time we spend with someone,the closer we get to them.
This principle applies in our relationship with God.
The more time you are spending with God,the more you will know Him,the more you will love Him,and the closer you will be to Him.
His voice will become clearer to you, and your bond will be stronger.
That’s just how it works,as you spend more and more time with God,you will love Him more,and your power to overcome sin will increase.
You will find that you do not want to sin because you love Him and you know sin will hurt Him!
Yes,sin hurts God’s heart.No wonder if tolerated it hides His face from us.
But as you are spending more time in fellowship with God,your desire to sin drastically reduces,thereby bringing you even closer to Him.
Fellowship is simply the time we spend with God.
We spend time with God in church and other prayer gatherings,and that’s important,but what am talking about here is you privately locking yourself away in your prayer closet and having time where its just you and God.
Then you just pour out your heart to Him.
With God,you can be completely honest.You do not have to pretend.You don’t have to act strong when you are not,If you are tempted to sin,tell Him.
He already knows everything but He really delights in us opening up to Him.
If someone has hurt you,instead of gossiping or slandering them tell Jesus about it.Talk to Him as a friend.Just tell Him everything that happened,how its making you feel,your fears,disappointments,everything.
Just like here on earth,when you have a friend whom you usually open up to about your most personal issues,usually your relationship with that person deepens.It’s the same with Jesus.
You can tell Him all about it,and with Him,He does take the burden away,literary.
The bible tells us to cast our burdens on the Lord (Psalm 55:22).
One of the mistakes we make in our walk with God is that we try to pretend to Him because we want Him to see us as good,yet that’s not what He expects us to do,He already knows who we really are.
Luke 18:9-14 talks of two people,a Pharisee came to God and justified himself before God ,while the publican came,admitting his sin before God,and Jesus said the publican is the one who went away sanctified.
So with God,we don’t have to pretend or hide our feelings in any way,we must tell Jesus how everything really is and ask for His help.
There was a time I found myself in a situation where I felt someone acted in a way that was unfair to me because this person really hurt my feeling.
After the incident,I was feeling so angry with this person especially that the person did not even realize how what they did affected a huge aspect of my life and the person wasn’t remorseful,so all I felt towards the person was anger.
Deep down my heart,I knew that if I did not forgive the person,it would really negatively affect my relationship with God.
The bible says if we do not forgive others,neither will we be forgiven by God.Actually,the bible says that if we come to the alter and remember we had a difference with someone,and someone has something against us,we must leave the gift,and first reconcile with that person,then we can come and continue with our prayer and offer the gift to God.
So because of that,I decided to make peace by talking to the person despite all the hurt and resentment that I felt because of what they had done.In this situation,the person didn’t really care about how what they did affected me,and it just increased how hurt I felt,but still I decided to keep calm and not express my hurt for the sake of peace.
So,whenever my mind would be free,the only thoughts that would begin to come to me were memories of what this person did and how unremorseful they were,and even though I had said I forgive the person,I would find myself angry,and sometimes thoughts would come to me of wishes of someone doing something similar to them so that they learn a lesson and know just how bad what they did was.
But then again,I would catch myself, and realise that this meant that I hadn’t truly forgiven the person,and I would try to push those thoughts aside.
It began to affect my relationship with Jesus because when I want to pray,I would feel unworthy(this is a point I'll address in detail later), and I wouldn’t have a clear conscious because I felt I hadn’t truly forgiven.
Then oneday, I decided to talk to Jesus about it.
In my quiet time,I told God what had happened,how everything started,what had triggered the situation,what I had told the person,what the person had told me,how the whole situation affected me,how angry I was feeling with the person for what they did,how often I had this desire for revenge,how much of a struggle forgiving the person is,just everything.And I told Him I know He wants me to forgive,and that am unable to,and I need Him to take away all these feelings, and all the thoughts,and just help me to forgive and to even be truly happy whenever I see the person.
I didn’t hide anything,I was just completely honest,and when I was done with my prayer,I felt relieved but not completely.
Because I so much wanted to be able to forgive,I prayed about this about 3 more times the same day.
I kept going back to God and just pouring my heart,telling Him all my feelings.
By the time I was done with my 3rd prayer,I felt no grudge whatsoever,and I have no doubt this was a supernatural work.
So this is the importance of us being open when talking to God,because then,we will find help.
God needs our time.We are often so busy,even when we pray,mentally we already have a time frame in which we should be done!
Picture this; So let’s say you are a man; you really love your wife and you enjoy spending time with her.
Your wife is so busy with so many other things in her life,so when she has time for you,she is very specific.
She' ll be like,”today,I'll spend an hour talking to my husband”
So she'll come and sit with you,you will be so happy she's made time for you,and you begin to chat.
You are really enjoying the chat,but immediately an hour clocks,she’s like,”oh,its time up.I have so many other things to do.bye,see you tomorrow again for an hour.”
How would that make you feel?would you look forward to tomorrow again knowing you'll again get the same treatment?
It’s one of the reasons God doesn’t manifest Himself to us.We have these strict programs we have made such that there is no room for the Holy Spirit to lead!
We give God time saying,”manifest yourself to us in these 30 minutes.make sure you don’t exceed this time.”
And God will simply stay away.
He will not be ruled by us,He will stay away.
He is the King of Kings!The maker of all that exists!He is King and should be the One making programs for us,not us making programs for Him.
I know we have work,school etc and other things,ad God knows that and understands when our prayers are short for this purpose.
But it is absolutely important that each and every day,we have time which is just given to Him to do as He pleases,to keep us as long as He pleases.
This depends on your schedule;if your day is so busy,make time at night,do anything to make time where you will be willing for the Holy Spirit to just lead,without you having a mental time frame of the prayer.
Prior to my first encounter with Jesus Christ,I remember that’s what I started doing.
When am praying,I would be completely surrendered, not caring how long my prayer would be,because I would actually be enjoying His presence
I would tell God,”Let me lose myself in you and lose count of time….let me just be lost in your presence.”
Sometimes I’d be so lost,I would think I only prayed an hour and yet 3 hours had already past!
I’d just follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.If He led me to begin worshipping and yet I had planned to do warfare,id just switch and do it,and keep doing it till He led me to do something else.i wouldn’t even see how time moved.
The bible says those led by the Spirit are like the wind,no one can tell where the wind ll blow to next.
The Holy Spirit is full of beautiful surprises,you can’t predict Him,just follow His lead.
When you begin to follow His lead,your prayer time is going to become something you look forward to because you are actually fellowshipping with your Father!
When I started letting the Holy Spirit lead me like this,my prayer time became something I really looked forward to.
Instead of being too busy to pray,I became too busy to do anything else but praying.
It reached a point where if am doing anything else,I would feel like am wasting time,like am missing out on being with Jesus.
I’d feel like just hurrying to finish doing that thing so I could go and be with Jesus in prayer.
Oneday I went out with my sister, and my brothers to buy some stuff,when I began feeling like am missing just being alone with Jesus.
At first, I just thought, ”I need to go and pray as soon as I reach.”
But as we walked home,the feeling just kept getting stronger I told my siblings,”you guys let’s hurry,I need to go and pray”
It felt like a magnet,drawing you to Jesus and you just can’t resist it!
The moment we got home,my siblings got in the house,but I couldn’t even get in,I felt like each moment was time being wasted,I had to be with Him!
I just literally run to the back of the house,fell down on my knees,lifted my hands to the Lord and said,”Lord I need you,I really miss you!” and I just enjoyed fellowship with Him till it got dark and I had to go in.
So,if you let the Holy Spirit lead you,your prayer life will change,and instead of it being a burden,it will become a delight.
5.LINGER ON AFTER PRAYER
I have learnt the importance of being still and waiting on God.
Because prayer is communion with God,it’s a two way channel;meaning you talk to God,but He also wants to talk to you.
Mostly,we do all the talking,then immediately we are done,we standup and leave.
But it’s important that after we are done,we linger and hear what our Father also has to say to us.
Imagine your dad is sitting on a chair,you walk up to Him,and tell Him all your problems,and you ask Him for some form of help, then immediately you present your requests to him, even before he responds to you,you stand up and leave.
No doubt your dad would be shocked like,”then why did you tell me if you don’t want to hear my response?”
Because we are usually too busy,this is what we do to God.
We come and tell Him so many things,but we are too busy,we can’t linger on after we are done talking to listen to what He has to say.
Sometimes,as we are praying,God will speak to us,but there should be specific time during prayer were we are just still,waiting to hear our Father’s response.That’s communion;its two way.
It’s not just us talking,but its also Him responding to us.
It’s not a monologue,but a dialogue.You speak,God speaks,you speak,God speaks.
Sometimes we are too busy that the only time we can hear God speak to us is in dreams because if He speaks to us while we are awake we are too busy to hear Him!
I have practiced this,and it helps in fellowship with God.
Sometimes,it’s during this quiet time that I will see a vision,sometimes God will talk to me about either what I was praying about,or just something else in my life,other times,He won’t say anything,but we must still wait,we must give Him chance to respond.
Don’t be discouraged if God doesn’t speak to you the first time you wait on Him,Keep waiting on Him and He will start talking to you.
6 BE CONSISTENT IN YOUR WALK WITH HIM
Don’t pursue God today,and two weeks later you stop,then resume 5 months later,and quit again a week later.
If you do that,you will not find Him.
You need to be consistent in your walk with Him.Have a consistent prayer life,have a consistent fasting life,be consistent in reading the bible and seeking God.
It’s not a religious duty,it’s a lifestyle we embrace as children of God.
Seeking God and walking with God is part of the lifestyle expected of you as a child of God.
If it is done as a religious duty,it will be very hectic for you and you will soon give up.
That is why you need the Holy Spirit to help you walk with God so that it becomes the natural thing to you,it will be part of you, and instead of being a burden,it will be something you can’t let go of.
We must consistently seek God and we will find Him.
My personal experience is that although we can pray at anytime,its always good to have specific prayer time,e.g I can say everyday 5pm is my prayer time,or 9PM is my prayer time etc.
It when you always try to keep your prayer time,added to the other times you randomly pray,you will find that your prayer life improves.
7.INVOLVE HIM IN EVERYTHING
Walking with God is a very practical thing.i shouldn’t pack Jesus in a closet till 3PM which is my prayertime and then say,”Oh,Jesus,its now 3PM,you can come out of the closet and lets have fellowship now.
Then once my prayer time is over,I pack Him away till my next prayer time.
No.Walking with God is literal.
I should go with Him everywhere I go,I should involve Him in everything am doing.
I should give Him unlimited access to every area of my life.
It really helps to be aware of His presence with us because even when you want to sin,if you are constantly aware of Jesus there with you,you will think twice.
He is always with us,and we shouldn’t choose what to involve Him in.
I tell Jesus about everything,even the things that seem insignificant.
And then I realized when I began to do this,He talks to me about everything,even things that seem insignificant.
Oneday i was on my way to work,and then I thought of checking the time.i hadn’t checked what time it was from the time I left home,so now I was just like 2 minutes away from my workplace.
I reached in to get the phone in my handbag so that I could check the time,immediately I reached my hand into the handbag,before I got the phone ,I clearly heard the Lord’s voice and He told me,”it’s 07:25 am”
I was like,”what?!!God is telling me the time?!!”
I got my phone out and there it was,”07:25 am!”
And I just got really excited.
So the bible says draw near to God,and He will draw near to you(James 4:8).
If we begin to talk to Him about everything, He begins to talk to us about everything!
And if God begins to talk to you about things that don’t really matter,how much more will He talk to about the things that matter in your life?”
I had learnt about telling God everything everyday,telling Him all about my day at the end of each day.
And what I have noticed is that its like coming before a mirror,because there you can see who you really are.
Sometimes we take things for granted and we don’t even notice or realize how we really behaved in a certain situation till we come before God,who is a great light that leaves nothing hidden.
There was a time I was telling God about about my day,so after I had prayed my prayer of thanks giving and requests,I just relaxed and began to tell Him all about how my day was,the conversations I was involved in,what other people told me,what I did,what I didn’t manage to do etc.
And I told Him even about the insignificant things that happened during the day.So I told Him about a particular thing which I had done that day,and it didn’t seem wrong to me in any way and when telling Him I thought it was just one of the “by the way” things.
I said,”Father,today,I had changed my DP on my whatsapp, and I had put such and such a status,I was about to move on to tell Him about something else,when He interrupted me and asked,”why did you put that status?”
I was caught in my tracks because His question made me to search within my self to find the real motive which had been hidden even to me ,before His question.
He didn’t ask me in an angry way,or condemning way.Instead,He sounded like a Father talking to His daughter whom He really adores!That’s what caught my attention when I heard His voice!
He was so gentle,and so patient, and asked like a friend who is just having conversation and wants clarity about something you just told them!
But His question made me think, and I realized the real motive hidden so deep inside, such that without being still I wouldn’t even have realized.
The way He was talking to Me with so much patience and love,I knew He didn’t ask me in order to condemn me,but rather that He had asked because He wanted to correct me.
Revelations 3:19”Those I love, I rebuke and discipline………”
And I said,”Father,I realize now that my real motive was this and that,and am sorry,I need you to change me.Please help me.And I will remove it as soon as am done praying.”
So imagine if I hadn’t told Him about a status I had put,as insignificant as that was,I would never have even been able to know I was wrong in any way.
Sometimes you can do the right thing but if your motive isn’t pure,it becomes wrong, and it is our motives God will judge.
Am giving an example of the benefits of telling God about your whole day,He corrects you about ways you may have sinned even without noticing,thereby you get perfected.
8.BE LIKE A LITTLE CHILD
“Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted ,and become like little children,ye shall not enter the Kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3
There are so many attributes we can learn from children in our walk with God, after all He is our Father, and we are His children.
A child completely trusts the parent.If the mom or dad tell them something,they will believe it as gospel truth.
And children are easily corrected.If you tell a child,”no,this is not how you do this, you are supposed to do it this way”
A child will follow that and from that day onwards,you will find that child doing it the way you taught them.
That’s not the case with an adult.An adult will argue and say,”no, you are wrong, it’s done this way, and this is how I’ve been doing it all these years!”
Can you see the difference?
But God wants us to be like little children,to be teachable,and not set in our own ways.He wants us to trust whatever He tells us the way a child trusts the parents.
Look at how Abraham reacted when God told him to sacrifice Isaac,his beloved son.
He didn’t try to argue with God or try to talk Him out of the idea,he simply obeyed.
That’s being like a child.
How you react to God’s correction will result in Him telling you more,or Him not speaking about what you are doing wrong in your life because you don’t want to obey when He does!
If you are disobedient,His voice will keep getting smaller and smaller.
Even when you are still a distance from God,when you just look at Him,you can tell He is Holy.But the closer you get to Him,the more you realize just how holy He is!
As you come closer and closer to Him, even things that seem permissible to others must be gotten rid of if you must walk closer, and God will make it clear to you.
His holiness is just so evident as you come closer to Him,It’s not something that you can deny,it will require consecration.
So that is why it is important to be as teachable as a little child to walk close to God.
Children also don’t hold grudges, they will fight and two minutes later you will see them playing like the best of friends!
Unforgiveness hinders our walk with God. And if your memory of someone brings feelings of the wrong they did to you, you haven’t forgiven. You need to go on your knees and ask God to help you forgive.
Children do not have pride, and that’s what even makes them easily correctable.
God resists the proud, therefore we must get rid of all pride to walk closer to God.
A man of God was sharing about how God showed him that whenever you try to put yourself above someone else, that’s pride.
Whenever you want to put your opinion/view above someone else’s view its pride.
Whenever, you want to make yourself seem better than another person, that’s pride.
That really shocked me because we don’t usually think of pride like that but it’s the truth.
That’s why the bible says we must always think of others as better than us (Philippians 2:3), because that’s the only way we can be humble.
And if we want to get closer to God we must be humble because if we are proud, instead of God getting closer to us, He will resist us.
A child is so dependant on their parent,such that even when they are wrong,they will still run to their parents because they see them as their only source of protection.
When a child has done something wrong,and a stranger wants to reprimand them,they will run to their parents for protection.
They won’t think,”Oh,because I did something wrong let me just run away by myself and try to protect myself.Even when they know that their parent wont condone what they did,they will still run to their parent.
They would rather,their parent disciplines them than a stranger.That should be our attitude towards God.
Even when we know we have sinned, we shouldn’t run away from Him, we should run to Him because its better our Father disciplines us than a stranger.
David preferred to fall into the hands of God than of men (2Samuel 24:14).He preferred for God to directly discipline him than for God to deliver him into the hands of men. That’s child-like dependence.
Instead of staying away from God when we sin,let’s not allow guilt to separate us from the wonderful fellowship,let us come to Him that we may be washed!
It is better than staying away from our loving Father because of us sin,then ending up in hell.it is better to be disciplined by your father than a stranger.
9.GOD IS LOVE
God is love and when you begin to walk in love,even your walk with God gets closer.
Because you will not be envious of others,but you will want God to be glorified,even if He does that by using someone else instead of you,you will still rejoice.
You cannot walk close to God who is love and yet not love others.
As you come closer to Him,He will begin to change you to become selfless.
So that the flesh may be crucified and God can be glorified.
Which brings me to my final point.
10.YOU NEED TO DENY YOURSELF
This is something you cannot do without if you want to walk with God.Jesus made it clear that whoever wants to come after Him must deny himself.
Don’t be mistaken,walking with God isn’t leisure,it requires self denial.
It requires death of self.
Sometimes you don’t feel like praying,sometimes you don’t feel like fasting,sometimes you don’t feel like getting up in the middle of the night to pray,but you must deny yourself.
As long as the flesh is still alive,it will keep fighting your walk with God every single day.But you must deny it till it starves to death!
If you keep feeding your flesh it will keep getting stronger till it overpowers you.
You are no longer your own,therefore now you must do what your Heavenly Father requires,not what you want.
Unless you crucify your flesh,you cannot walk close to God.
IT IS THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
You have no power to walk God,you need the Holy Spirit to help you.
So call on God and ask Him to help you in all the ways that are still hindering your walk with Him.
Remember that walking with God isn’t theoretical,its practical, and it’s a lifestyle.
These are just some of the things that can help you get closer to God,which I myself am trying to practice in wanting a close walk with God.As you pursue Him,He will keep teaching you more ways of getting close to Him.