Whether you’re a new follower of Jesus or an “old-timer” who met the Lord long ago, you want to deepen your relationship with God. You want to feel Jesus’ presence, know God’s heart, and sense the Holy Spirit moving in your heart and soul. But how?
There’s a huge difference between believing in God and having a relationship with Jesus. If you know about God but don’t actually know who Jesus is, you’re missing out on a relationship that will change your life. Deepening your relationship with God will change how you see yourself, your life, and other people.
Your relationship with God changes everything. In From Believing in God to Having a Relationship With Jesus I describe how to start building a personal relationship with the Lord. In this article I share specific tips for deepening your relationship with God. I was inspired by the burning bush in Exodus 3 — just like Moses was.
Prayer is returning God’s gaze. The most important thing to remember about building a stronger relationship with Jesus is that He is already here. You may not always sense God’s presence, feel Jesus’ love, or hear the Holy Spirit’s voice. You might feel confused, afraid, doubtful and alone.
You might even be angry at God, or disappointed that He hasn’t answered your prayers the way you want. Maybe you feel abandoned and rejected, or too ashamed to spend much time with Jesus.
And yet, you want to deepen your relationship with God because you know He is life. Jesus is peace, love, hope, faith, joy, freedom and abundance — and He wants to share His blessings with you. Jesus wants you. You matter to Him more than you know.
How to Deepen Your Relationship With God
This blog post is part of my She Blossoms Through the Bible project; I’m writing an article for every chapter in every book of Scripture. I started with Genesis — beginning with The Reason You Were Created – Genesis 1 and ending with How to Live Like You Really Are Forgiven and Free – Genesis 50.
Enter Moses! These tips for strengthening your relationship with Jesus are inspired by the burning bush in Exodus 3.
1. Remember that it’s not about you
Moses didn’t know who God was in Exodus 3. One of the first things God said to Moses was, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (Exodus 3:6). God also says He is “I AM WHO I AM” in Exodus 3:14. The Lord gave Moses an assignment, the first thing Moses asked was, “Who am I that I should go to Pharoah and that I should bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11). And you know how God responded? Not by telling Moses who he (Moses) is, but by telling Moses who He — God — is. Exodus 3 is all about God…and so is the whole Bible. Deepening your relationship with God starts with forgetting yourself.
What do you want God to do for you? Jesus asked that very question in Mark 10:51: “What do you want Me to do for you?” There’s nothing wrong with asking Jesus to give and do things for you. God wants to fill your life with healthy relationships, beautiful experiences, deep loves, and meaningful times! He loves you and wants you to flourish and blossom into who He created you to be. But experiencing the good life shouldn’t be your focus. Ask Jesus to answer your prayers, but remember that your life isn’t about you. You are part of God’s story; He chose you for a reason. If you get to know Jesus for who He is and remember that it’s not about you, you’ll find yourself deepening your relationship with God without even trying.
2. Pay attention
I love how God appeared to Moses in a flame of fire within a bush (Exodus 3:2). God wanted to get Moses attention — not by slamming him to the ground, shouting from the Heavens, or guiding him up Jacob’s ladder. Moses noticed the burning bush; the Lord only revealed Himself when Moses went over to look. Moses didn’t have to ask questions or make assumptions. He didn’t even know God at that point! Moses was simply shepherding his flock of sheep in the middle of an ordinary day. But he was also paying attention and following his intuition.
How has God tried to get your attention in the past? Deepening your relationship with God involves curiosity, intuition, and awareness. You have to see through the distractions of this world, squint through the misty haze of ever-changing emotions, overlook the frustrations and sorrows of life. God won’t give everyone the same burning bush; He speaks to us in different ways at different times. Look at how Jesus operates — He rebuked some people and healed others. He wept with Mary and challenged Martha. If you want to strengthen your relationship with Jesus, you need to pay attention and be curious. What does this mean to you?
3. Take action
“When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called out to him from the bush, ‘Moses, Moses!’” (Exodus 3:4). Notice how God responded when Moses acted. I love how God does this throughout the Bible! God works in and through us; He created and called us to participate with Him from the very beginning. He requires us to be attentive and willing, to deepen our relationship with Him by following the still small voice of the Holy Spirit. Also, notice in Exodus 3:4 the difference between “the Lord saw” and “God called out.” Learning what this means will help you know God better, which will deepen your relationship with Him. Learning by reading commentaries and asking the Holy Spirit for insight and revelation is part of taking action.
How do you actively follow Jesus? Taking action — and deepening your relationship with God — doesn’t have to mean becoming a missionary in Africa or going to Bible college in America. Deepening your relationship with God means noticing those odd little phrases in Scripture and learning what they actually mean. Strengthening your relationship with Jesus means allowing God to say no to the desires of your heart. Building your relationship with the Holy Spirit means taking small steps of faith and watching for open and closed doors.
Above all, deepening your faith in Jesus involves a wholehearted willingness to keep rebuilding your relationship with God. You’ll wander away, perhaps in big scary ways. You’ll get lost, perhaps on short little bunny trails. But if you choose to keep looking up and meeting God’s gaze, He will bless and honor your efforts.
What do you think about my tips for deepening your relationship with God? Feel free to share a “burning bush” moment you’ve had with God, or perhaps an insight into Moses’ life or the book of Exodus. Your comments — big and little — are welcome below!
With His love,
P.S. Are you struggling to make a decision or find the right path in your life? Read an Easy Way to Stop Overthinking God’s Will for Your Life.