Guidelines To Grow A Deeper Relationship With God
On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.” John 7:37
In a Judean wilderness, David cried out, “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1). At the time, David was being hunted by Saul, who felt that he was a threat to his kingdom, and at times David became weary in body, wondering if he would ever find peace. No doubt he wondered if he would ever be able to go back home to Bethlehem and sleep without concern for his safety.
Yet David did not say that he longed for the comforts of home and a taste of his mother’s cooking. No, he cries out that his soul is thirsty for the Almighty in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Question: Do you have times in your life when you grow weary of the battle and your soul cries out to God? You long to know Him in a deeper and more intimate way, stripping away the layers of misunderstanding and perhaps fear which has kept you at a comfortable distance? David said that his body, his innermost being, longed for God–something intense and deeply personal.
Have you ever considered the possibility that it was God who placed that yearning, that deep longing in your heart so that He Himself could fill it? God not only created the thirst but knew that He was the only thing which could satisfy the deep longing within.
How does God satisfy that longing within your heart? Or what should we do to know Him more intimately and personally? Have you discovered when you are really thirsty, sugary products just don’t satisfy? You don’t want coke or syrupy juices which are half sugar. What you want is water—crystal clear, pure, and cool. Nothing satisfies like a refreshing drink of water on a hot day.
Guideline #1: If you want to satisfy the deep longing in your heart for God, get rid of the sugary substitutes—the claptrap of religion, the trappings of ceremony, and the tinsel of pseudo-spiritual experiences. Paul spoke of the washing of water by the Word. He was talking of the purity of the Word which lets you know and experience God as He is.
Guideline #2: To know God intimately, get off media and strive to insulate yourself from the noise that keeps you from hearing His voice. There’s a place in the Rocky Mountains which I will probably never see again, but it will never escape my memory. It’s almost at timberline where oxygen deprivation stunts the growth of trees, and above that altitude, about all you find is granite rocks and a few stunted shrubs. From a rocky outcrop which I dubbed “pulpit rock” there is a majestic view of stunning scenery. I’ll never forget several afternoons when I sat there with an open Bible and thought of God and His working in my life. We need those quiet times, those personal intimate times without telephones, little children’s voices, and the din and noise of traffic.
Guideline #3: To experience God in a real way, tell Him of the deep longing in your heart to know Him and to feel His might and power. In another Psalm David cried, “I reach out for you. I thirst for you as parched land thirsts for rain” (Psalm 143:6, Living Bible). Rather graphic, right? “On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink'” (John 7:37). Only God could say that.
Be sure that the thirst in your soul for God is there because He wants to satisfy that and nothing else will ever do.
Resource reading: Psalm 63.