When we talk about becoming closer to God, naturally we are not talking about it in the sense of vicinity because there is nowhere we can escape or hide from Him (Psalms 139:7-14). This also means though that He can be very accessible.
It’s a Relationship
So obviously we are talking in terms of a relationship. This is a relationship that God wants and desires and initiates. God loved us before we loved Him (1 John 4:19). In fact, He loved us so much that He gave His Son to be literally sacrificed for us (1 John 4:10). This atoning act paves the way for a close and eternal relationship in the God family – He is our Father and we are His children (1 John 3:1-3).
As with any Father-Child relationship the parent has a duty and expectation that the child is raised in the right way (Proverbs 22:6). God treats us as His spiritual children and He expects us to listen to Him since He knows best (1 Corinthians 6:16-18). Being pure and clean refers to us not sinning – which means that we are not to break His law (1 John 3:4).
What Does God Want From Us
Many look at the law of God as bad, but it is just the opposite (Romans 7:12). The law is simply a means of regulating behavior. We do not look at STOP signs as being bad – it is a rule of the road that keeps us from harm’s way and gives others the opportunity to safely navigate the highways and by-ways with us. The law is good for us and others.
God gave us His law for the benefit and betterment of all mankind (Psalm 119:1-2). But what happens when someone breaks the law?
Isaiah 59:1 Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear.
Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you So that He will not hear.
If we go contrary to anything that God wants us to do, we are in effect telling Him that we do not want a relationship with Him. The laws are an extension of the character and nature of God (1 John 2:3-4). To go against His law is going against Him. How can we have a relationship with someone that we consistently tell them that we do not like them or what they represent? We cannot have one much less a close one!
Which Direction Are We Going to Go
Therefore, once we are called (John 6:44), our nearness to God depends on our movements, are WE moving closer to Him or further away. He is very willing to help us through the gifts that He gives to us – but we have to be willing to accept and use these gifts. If we draw near to God, He will move closer to us (James 4:8).
How do we do this in a practical way?
We cannot merely read, but we must sit down and actively learn the word of God. Then when we have gone through it all – re-study to build on the foundation that you have previously laid. Through this, you will grow in a deeper understanding of who God is and what He wants from us.
2 Timothy 3:14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them,
2 Timothy 3:15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
2 Timothy 3:17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
For a little more help in this regard, please see: 7 Keys to Studying and Understanding the Bible
2. Live by the Word of God (Matthew 4:4)
This means that we put into action what we learn. We show that we love, honor and respect God if we live according to His commands (2 John 1:6) and we follow the example that Christ set on Earth (1 John 2:6). By doing this we reflect Christ in us and show that we are thinking like Him and the Father (Philippians 2:5). The more that we do this, the better we come to know them (1 John 2:3) and understand why God has asked us to do what He has commanded (Acts 5:32; 1 Corinthians 2:9-11).
3. Think on the Word of God
Spend some time pondering what you have learned. Stop the TV, Internet, Music, etc and contemplate the virtues of God’s way (Philippians 4:8; Psalms 143:5; 145:5) and our part in it. Focus on the right choices (Deuteronomy 30:19; Luke 16:13; Mark 4:18-19).
4. Talk to God – Any Time
God wants to hear from us (have you ever thought of it in that way?) like parents want to hear from their children. God views our prayers as a fragrant aroma of incense wafting up to Him (Revelation 5:8).
If you do not want to have a conversation with Him how can we expect to “hear” from Him? But if we do talk to Him we can know that He hears us and answers us in line with His plan (1 John 5:14-15).
We may not completely understand this last mechanism for helping us draw nearer to God (Joel 2:12), but we are assured in His word that God honors it (Matthew 6:17-18). When we forsake the physical we in effect say that we want the spiritual and God turns His ear toward us more acutely (Ezra 8:21-23).
In all of these ways we are not trying to make God do our will, but we are seeking to understand and act better according to His will.
Remember: God wants to have a relationship with YOU!