As a child of God, you are saved and set free to live fully, deeply, madly! But how do you grow a healthy relationship with Jesus when you’re distracted by life, work, relationships, family, health issues, money problems, traffic jams, spilled milk? And what exactly is a spiritually healthy relationship with God?
When I wrote 3 Ways to See Jesus in Your Relationships – Exodus 10 I realized I haven’t been including Jesus in many of my “She Blossoms Through the Bible” blog posts. Sadly, I’ve also been neglecting the Holy Spirit — which is odd because I love the Holy Spirit (who I call Ruach or sometimes even Roo-Roo).
I haven’t been focusing on growing a healthy spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit partly because I’ve been writing articles inspired by Genesis and Exodus. We don’t see much of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament (unless, of course, we pay attention). But my neglect is also due to the fact that I myself don’t know exactly how to grow into a healthy spiritual relationship with Jesus. How do I write about stuff I know naught of?
Even though I don’t have all the answers about growing spiritually healthy with Jesus, I have been slowly moving from believing in God to having a relationship with Jesus. And what I’ve been learning can help you, too, grow into a healthier spiritual relationship with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.
3 Ways to Grow a Healthy Spiritual Relationship With Jesus
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 ended that series with How to Live Like You Really Are Forgiven and Free – Genesis 50. Enter Exodus!
1. Choose your adornments (clothes, accessories, even your countenance) with care
Exodus 28 contains 43 verses that describe the intricate, holy, elaborate and excellent details of Aaron’s priestly garments. “Tell all the skilled workers to whom I have given wisdom in such matters that they are to make garments for Aaron, for his consecration, so he may serve me as priest,” says the Lord to Moses in Exodus 28:2-5. “These are the garments they are to make: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a woven tunic, a turban and a sash. They are to make these sacred garments for your brother Aaron and his sons, so they may serve me as priests. Have them use gold, and blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and fine linen.” God gave a spirit of wisdom to the skilled artisans who created beautiful garments that represented God’s glory, honor, beauty, holiness and depth. The symbolism and meaning of each precious stone, piece of cloth, tinkling bell and seamless garment was inspired by God. While the priest’s robes and adornments did not guarantee a healthy spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ, they set the stage for glory, honor and praise.
What do your clothes say about you? I shop at thrift stores; I only buy clothes and accessories that are “me.” They’re bright, colorful, often embroidered, creative and unique. And inexpensive! I’ve never cared about clothes, and I don’t like spending money on labels or brand names. It wasn’t until I read Exodus 28 that I realized the lengths the priests had to go to in Old Testament times — and their priestly garments were just the beginning! They had to be holy, set apart, and sanctified because God is holy, set apart, and sanctified. And so is Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Part of growing a healthy spiritual relationship with Jesus is being aware of the clothes you choose, what you spend your money on, and where your self-image comes from.
2. Create a daily rhythm of that supports growth, health, and spirituality
Have you explore the depth, meaning, and symbolism of Aaron and his sons’ priestly garments in Exodus 28? Use a commentary to learn what the tinkling gold bells between the blue, purple and scarlet pomegranates on the hems of the priests’ robes meant. Discover for yourself why “whenever he enters the sanctuary, Aaron is to carry the names of Israel’s sons over his heart on the breast piece for decisions, as a continual reminder before the Lord” (Exodus 28:29). Learn why the priestly robe was made entirely of blue yarn, how important finely spun linen was, and what types of precious gemstones should be placed on each of the four rows of the breastpiece. God’s instructions for the priestly garments were purposeful and meaningful, and they were to be used in a daily, monthly, and yearly rhythm.
How is your daily rhythm helping you grow a healthy spiritual relationship with Jesus? You can’t force yourself to feel love, holiness, or even the Holy Spirit. You can’t make God show up in specific ways or answer specific prayers the way you want (though you can learn how to talk to God when you can’t pray). You can’t wear the right clothes, go to the right places, or even be the right Christian to grow spiritually healthy. But you can create a daily rhythm that sets the stage or creates conditions to help you grow into a more spiritually healthy relationship with Jesus Christ. You can learn who God is by reading the Old Testament and discovering His plans and love for His children. You can invite the Holy Spirit to help you grow, learn, and explore a healthy relationship with Jesus.
3. Learn the secret of dealing with distractions
God spent a lot of time teaching Moses and the Israelites how to live. It wasn’t just the 10 Commandments in Exodus and Deuteronomy that were meant to set the Israelites apart and help them grow into spiritually healthy God-loving people. God inserted Himself into their daily life by ordaining regular sacrifices, priestly prayers, cleansing and purifying rituals, community laws, social customs, legal practices — and even the priestly garments in Exodus 28. God seemed to want to be part of every single moment of their lives, and Aaron’s priestly robes were part of a bigger picture and more spiritually meaningful message. God wanted a relationship with the Israelites, and He was trying different ways to reach them. It didn’t work, though. The skilled artisans and craftsmen in Exodus 28 may have done an amazing job making beautiful priestly garments that symbolized God’s covenantal relationship…but the Israelites were distracted by other things.
How do you deal with distractions that stall or even deaden your relationship with Jesus? Getting distracted during prayer, Bible reading, church, or even singing in worship is normal. Your mind wanders, you worry about your relationship or family, your nose or knee itches, someone coughs, your bunion or ulcerative colitis flares. Distractions will never go away; there will always be something that wants to stop you from learning how to grow a healthy spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ. Sometimes those distractions are just part of daily life; other times they’re the deceiver deliberately trying to shift your focus.
Here’s a tip for dealing with distractions: simply note it and let it pass by. Sometimes I literally make a note of it by writing it down (eg, write a She Blossom Through the Bible blog post about how to deal with distractions when you’re trying to grow a spiritually healthy relationship with Jesus). “A distraction isn’t a distraction if you don’t pay attention to it,” writes Thomas Merton in New Seeds of Contemplation.
Don’t let distractions stop you from growing a healthy spiritual relationship with Jesus. The joy, peace, love, compassion, wisdom, strength, courage and power that He pours into your life is amazing! You don’t have to work for Jesus, but you do have to create rhythms with God and invite the Holy Spirit into your day.
With His love,
P.S. If you don’t know how to be a Christian, read 3 Simple Ways to Follow Jesus.