Becky: I was thinking about my relationship with God, and realized that I've used "knowing" God as an excuse for neglecting prayer/Bible reading lately. I think, "Oh, I know God, and I know that He's with me, so therefore, I know how to act within His will, or I know what he would say in this situation to me." But, as I considered it, I realized that I don't treat my other relationships like that at all. . . like with Mark, it would be SUPER lame if we just got to a point of comfort with each other and how we felt about each other that we never talked or wrote to each other. I came to the conclusion that Love is necessary. . . I know, I know - sounds basic. But really, it's love that prompts me to still want to hear Mark's voice, even when I already know what he's going to say. So, I guess my question is. . . I KNOW God - how do I develop a real, alive LOVE for Him? I mean, I guess I know I love him. . . but that doesn't seem to be enough. It doesn't really create a relationship. . . . any help? I feel like I should know the answer for this, but I can't think of it.
Dad: Man, you make it all sound so gushy with all this love stuff. Just read your Bible every day like a good little Christian and don't ask so many questions.
Okay, I got that out of my system...
You probably do know the answer to your question because you answered it in your question, pretty much. Remember what it's all about? No, not the fear of the Lord any more. That was just the beginning of wisdom. Now it's all about a relationship with God. How do you develop a growing relationship? Time, as you alluded to with your reference to Mark.
The question now comes in, how do we spend time with God? Answer: all time is with God, or rather God is always spending time with us. He's with us when we're sleeping. He knows when we're awake. He knows when we've been bad or good, so... Whether we stop our day and read some of what He wrote to us, or talk directly to Him, or listen to what He may tell us, or act in godly ways because He is right there all the time, it is all part of our growing in our relationship with Him. The more conscious of it we are, the more able we are to grow closer to Him.
The problem comes in that we don't often perceive God's closeness because we are distracted by our senses. All our other relationships, except with satan are developed through our senses and emotions, so it is humanly more difficult to develop a relationship with God. God's Word is our objective tool that builds the spiritual sense that helps us remember He is there all the other times when we're not reading and meditating on His Word.
The other helpful tool we have is fellowship with other Christians. Luther said that the fellowship of the saints should almost be another sacrament, because God is with us physically in each other. When we reach out and help each other along, we are the Body of Christ there both physically and spiritually. That's why it is so important to have a few close Christian friends, and even family can be a help in that regard.
The ultimate test of the depth of our relationship with God comes as we grow closer to Him. What we discover is that doing what is right becomes our greatest joy, not a demand to live up to some unreachable standard to try to please God and earn His love. Obedience with joy, especially when it's difficult shows to yourself and God that you truly love Him, as in, "If you love me, you will obey my commands..."