Have you ever felt like you were unable to establish or maintain a close relationship with God? Maybe you’ve read verses in the Bible like James 4:8 (draw near to God, and He will draw near to you) and wondered how do you draw near to God. Maybe you feel that your prayers don’t get past the ceiling and God isn’t hearing your prayers. Maybe you spend time devotionally reading the Bible only to continue to feel lonely.
I once heard Jimmy Evans of Marriage Today make a statement that really connected some dots for me. Jimmy said something to the affect of “you can only grow as close to God as your view of Him will allow.” Now admittedly I didn’t fully understand the meaning of Jimmy’s statement at first. But further explanation had me saying to myself “that’s me”.
It could be that your feeling of loneliness and disconnection with God has nothing to do with Him not hearing your prayers. It could be that the lack of connectedness or closeness to God has nothing to do with a lack of effort on your part. Your view of God could be what prevents you from being able to draw near to God.
Let’s examine some common views of God that could prevent us from drawing near to Him.
God is mad at me
Some view God as the grumpy old Father sitting up in Heaven that is just generally angry will all us wicked sinners her on earth. It’s easy to see how a view of God such as this would prevent a person from drawing near to such a grumpy, angry God.
But the truth is God is a God of mercy and grace, He is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness (Psalm 86:15). God is again gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and great in faithful love in Psalm 145:8. Again in Psalm 103:8 we find that God is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and full of faithful love. Need another reference, see Exodus 34:6 (God in His own words) says He is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in faithful love and truth.
God will abandon me
The best earthly example we have that models the relationship we have with God is the relationship between an earthly father and child. The trouble with this earthly model is it fails at times. Unfortunately the statistics regarding fatherly abandonment are trending in a very negative direction. Understandably, some may fear that God will abandon them much like their earthly father did.
However, my favorite verses in the Bible (Romans 8:38,39) says that absolutely nothing can separate us from the love of God that is found in Christ Jesus our Lord. Additionally, Moses assured Joshua in Deuteronomy 31:6 that God would never leave or forsake us. That promise of God presence with us is repeated in Deuteronomy 31:8, Joshua 1:5, and Hebrews 13:6.
God is too busy
Our lives tend to be completely consumed with activities of life. Between activities of the career, the family, the church, and the extracurriculars, we barely have sufficient time to get the rest we need. And we are just looking out for ourselves and our little families. God has to look out for everyone, surely he is too busy for me. Right?
Well, actually Jesus makes it clear on multiple occasions that he stops to care for and minister to those in need. In Matthew 20:32, Jesus stops to speak with the two blind men. In Matthew 9:22, we Jesus stop and turn to assure the woman that touched in robe would be healed of her bleeding disorder. In almost every miracle of Jesus recorded in the Gospels, you will see Jesus stop what He was doing to tend to the needs of His children.
Until we view God as the loving and steadfast Father that He is, we will continue to struggle to draw near to Him. Consider the description of love found in 1 Corinthians 13 – love is patient, kind, rejoices in truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, and ultimately never ends. Now combine that understanding of love with John’s statements in 1 John 4:8, 16 that God is love. Now that is a view of God that will enable us to draw near to Him!
Question: Do you have other views of God that prevent you from having a close relationship with Him? Do you have favorite Bible verses that you meditate upon to correct your view of God? I’ll throw out a few other possible incorrect views of God, you share verses that can help correct these views. Share your comments and verses in the comment section below. You can leave a comment by clicking here.
God is tired of hearing my problems
God is too holy for me
God is ashamed of me
God didn’t hear my last prayer