In the natural world proximity to the life source is crucial; it is only as the branch remains in contact with the vine that fruit is produced (Jn 15:5). In spiritual matters we determine the degree of intimacy we experience with the Lord; if we are not as close as we were, guess who moved!
Forgiveness of those who have wronged us is vital to our relationship with God (Mt 6:12,14,15). The subtleness of sin often separates us from the holiness of God. Our Saviour and ‘good shepherd’ desires to lead us, for both His sake and ours and even though the Holy Spirit is within each believer He will not override our desires to go our rebellious independent way if we so choose (Ps 23:1-6; Rom 1:18-21,24,26,28; 1 Cor 6:19).While developing a closer relationship with God is an admirable goal, in this life we will never be as close to God as we ought to be or desire to be, because of the lingering sin in our lives creates a barrier (Isa 59:2). Thus, we should daily review our lives and confess our sin to Him, with the accompanying action of turning from it (1 Jn 1:9). Reading the Bible (His guidebook for us) and putting into practice it’s teachings is a sure way to grow in our relationship as is communicating with Him in prayer – remembering this is much more than asking for things, it is
also directed at giving Him glory and requesting His will be done (Mt 6:9-13). We will grow closer to God as we corporately meet regularly with like-minded believers in the church setting and where there is accountability.
We need to keep a close watch on what we allow into our minds as this has a major impact on how we live out our faith – which must be characterised by obedience to what He has told us (Jn 14:15,23). The Bible says as we submit ourselves as ‘living sacrifices’ to God through obedience, resist the devil (and his sinful ways), and draw near to Him, He will draw near to us (Rom 12:1; Jas 4:7,8). Although our salvation is not earned through our obedience, it is the way we show our love and gratitude toward God.
He desires a loving, interactive relationship with us not cold compliance. By living with sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and our own conscience we will develop an awareness of His presence in our daily life as we respond humbly and obediently.
How close am I to Christ?
It is good to have quality friendships with unbelievers, yet the primary focus of such a relationship should be to win them to Christ by sharing the Gospel with them and demonstrating God’s saving power in our own lives. However, any kind of intimate relationship with an unbeliever can quickly turn into a hindrance in our Christian walk as the Bible explains (Prov 12:26; 1 Cor 15:33; 2 Cor 6:14).
We should never attempt to see how close we can get to sin without slipping.