It is so important for us to focus on our relationship with God, no matter how young or old we are. Like any relationship, the level of intimacy you have with someone is dependent on the amount of time you spend with them and this is the same with God. He loves us and desires a personal and unique relationship with us all that goes beyond our church walls, its more than a Sunday attendance…
Jesus set an example for us in His own life, He understood the essence of spending time with the Father even in the midst of the demands of ministry (Matthew 26:36, Mark 1:35-37, Luke 5:16) so how much more do we need to spend time with God! John 15:1-5 highlights that we are powerless to produce fruit in our lives if we do not abide in Him (Hebrew word for abide is ‘yashab’- to dwell, to retire, to stay) therefore, it is important for us to prioritise God and involve Him in our daily decisions not just the spiritual aspects of our life but acknowledge Him in everything we do (Proverbs 3:6).
Last year, there was a period where I was ‘too busy’ to spend time with God due to my studies, work, responsibilities at home and even at church. I thought that because I was involved in church activity it made up for the time I didn’t spend with God privately (Psalm 91) but later on the Holy Spirit convicted me of this thought (I will speak about this more in another post: ‘Don’t put the work of God above the God of the work’). The less time I spent with God, I began to notice a negative change in my character, there was a difference in the way I would treat people, I was less sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit and I tried to do a lot of things in my own strength and it was not good at all. It came to the point where I became so upset because I noticed that I was no longer involving God in the things I usually did and it was so evident. All I could do was run into His arms and repent because I felt like such a disloyal friend. I needed the Holy Spirit to help me, to redirect my focus and manage my time wisely and by His grace He stepped in to help me.
I can honestly say there is a huge difference when you spend time with God, the way you handle your day is different, even though things may not always go to plan you will notice the difference. Even in the way you treat others and yourself. I understand how it can be when you have so much going on (studies, work, spending time with friends and family etc) but we need to learn how to guard our relationship with God because everything else that we do flows from it. I cannot boast in my own efforts in doing so but it is only by the help and leading of the Holy Spirit and I believe that if you ask Him, He will help you too.
Different ways to spend time with Jesus:
- Reading and studying the Word of God: God’s Word is living and active (John 1:1-18, Hebrews 4:12) and there is so much beauty in it that can leave you in awe, excitement, laughter, tears and so much more. I use to struggle reading the Word because truthfully anytime I would pick up the Bible I would get bored or tired. The Lord began to show me the consequences of not knowing and obeying the Word. The more you read the Bible you gain more knowledge, wisdom, understanding, it edifies you, encourages you, increases your discernment, it is one of the best weapons against the enemy (Ephesians 6:17) and so much more. If you are finding it difficult to read the Bible, here are some things that can help you and has blessed me. Firstly, I would advice that you pray for an increased desire and conviction to read it, before you read the Word of God also invite the Holy Spirit to teach and help you (John 14:26), its one of the reasons He is here. Also accountability/ fellowship is good, having brothers and sisters in Christ who are willing to check up on you, to ensure that you are studying the bible or even study the bible with you, is such a blessing (Galatians 6:2, 1 Peter 3:8). However, remember that it is important to have your own private study. Lastly, take it one step at a time, it is not a race or a competition with other believers. Nor is it about how much of the Word you know but the application of the Word in your life (Luke 6:46, John 14:15, James 1:22-24). It does require discipline but by the grace of God it will become a daily routine.
- Prayer: It is an important part of our walk with God where we humble ourselves before Him and show Him our gratitude, communicate with Him, tell Him what is on our heart as well as listening for what is on His. Remember that it is a two way conversation so get in the habit of also ‘being still’ in His presence and listen to what God has to say and you can also ask Him how He is. If you are struggling to pray, do not know what to pray about or have lost the desire to pray (Romans 8:26) you can ask the Holy Spirit to help you and strengthen you in this area. A sister in Christ bought me a prayer journal for my birthday which has been such a blessing and still is up to this day! I’d encourage you to also purchase one, it’s a reminder of the things God has done as well as a prayer points you can keep praying on. There have been seasons in my life where I had lost the desire to pray or didn’t know exactly what to pray about but I asked the Holy Spirit to help and lead me to pray more and He did, I believe He can do the same for you. (Jeremiah 29:12-13)
- Worship: The beauty of worship is that you are entering the presence of God and giving Him what He deserves. It refocuses our attention on God, where even in the midst of the issues of this world we can still find refuge, peace and joy in His presence. Last year, I went through a season where I felt like I had no one to turn to and so much was going on all at once and the only thing I could cling onto was worship. The Lord began to pour out His love and bless me with unexplainable joy that brought me through that season in my life, by His grace. I pray that no matter what you’re going through, may you always draw to a place of worship.
- Talk to Him like a friend: I think sometimes we see God as a distant figure who does not understand the different seasons we experience in life, who does not care enough to listen or does not have the time to speak to us but He does! No matter how big or small it is, speak to Him. He is the friend that is there literally 24/7 who you can talk to, laugh with, cry with, make jokes with etc (John 15:15).
- Listening to sermons: Thank God for technology, there is so much access to sermons online nowadays and I enjoy listening to sermons however, always seek discernment and leadership from the Holy Spirit before listening to sermons. There was a long season where the Holy Spirit would not allow me to watch any because He wanted me rely on the Word of God (I’m still learning to). There is no problem listening to sermons but we need to remember that it is the Word of God that is our spiritual food. Also it’s so easy to idolise men/ women of God unknowingly, so also be careful of this and remember that the Holy Spirit is the best teacher.
- Reading Christian books: I love reading Christian books, they are very insightful, if you find something that can relate with the current season you are in/ something you want to learn, there are so many books you can purchase online. Some of my favourite authors are: Heather Lindsey, Joyce Meyer and Priscilla Shirer.
- Writing letters to God: when I couldn’t pray/ find the strength to, I would write letters to God. It would help me clear my mind and I would feel His reassuring presence with me, He would tell me different things and I would write them down. If you find that there are times you can’t pray or even when you can, it’s amazing when you can sit down at the feet of Jesus and write to Him as well as Him sharing His thoughts about you.
- Outdoor activities: spending time with Jesus is not limited to a location, you can go out with Him e.g: go out for walks. After reading one of Heather Lindsey’s books, I was amazed when she spoke of going on dates with the Lord, I really wanted to have my own experience as well. For the first time I did and it was beautiful and so spontaneous! I would encourage you to do the same, when you have time, go out and invite God to go with you, I’m sure that you would have an amazing time.
(There are some recommendations below)
The blessings of spending time with God:
- Deeper intimacy with Jesus: you get to know and love Him more, the beauty of God is that there is no limit to Him (Isaiah 40:28, Isaiah 55:8-9) meaning that you keep learning new things
- Promises of Psalm 91 begin to manifest in your life
- Personal revelations of the character of the Lord e.g. your Heavenly Father, your best friend, your safety, your refuge, your protector and so much more!
- Increase in discernment (His ways and His voice)
- Increase in your faith
- Joy and peace (Psalm 16:11) even in the midst of problems
- The Lord will begin to share secrets with you (Psalm 25:14, Proverbs 25:5)
- Your thoughts are more focused towards God
- His love pours in and through you to others
- See others through His eyes
- Develop a friendship with Him
- He rewards those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6: He is the reward)
- He blesses and strengthens you to do other things e.g studying, career, ministry, wisdom in handling your finances etc
- God ministers to you
These are just some!
Its my heart’s cry for us all to draw closer to our Heavenly Father (James 4:8), everything you need and desire is in Him whether you realise it or not. He cares so much about every single one of us and He is waiting for us to open the door (Revelations 3:20) to not just seek His hand but His face. I urge you to evaluate your life, what is stopping you from spending time with God? Have you lost the desire or have never had the desire to spend time with Him? Do you find yourself speaking about God more than you speak to Him? Is social media, other commitments becoming a distraction? These are some of the questions I had to ask myself and I would encourage you to ask yourself these questions as well.
You can begin having a personal relationship with God today by putting your faith in Jesus (John 3:16, John 14:6)
Lord, I thank you for the life of the person reading this post today. I pray that you will continue to guide and protect them in every single aspect of their life. Please reveal yourself to them in a new and refreshing way and remind them of your love. If they have been struggling to spend time with you or have never decided to have a deeper relationship with you, please place a spirit of hunger in them for you and may they become men and women after your own heart. Whatever trials, tests or weaknesses they may have right now, Father please strengthen them and remind them that they can put their trust in you and may this be the year of Victory in their lives, In Jesus name I pray, Amen
Prayer from you to God:
Lord I thank you for a new day, thank you that your mercies are new every morning. Please forgive me for the times I haven’t spent time with you or acknowledged your presence. Search my heart, for anything that is not like you and create in me a clean heart. Holy Spirit, I can’t do it by myself. Please lead, convict and direct me in everything I do. Please draw me to a deeper level of intimacy with the Lord, I want to spend more time with you, know you more and love you more. I ask this in Jesus name, Amen
God bless you for reading this post, I pray that it blessed you and if there are any questions/ prayer requests please do not hesitate to message me we are here to grow together in Him!
- ESV bible
- NIV bible
- NKJV bible
- The Dake study bible
Christian books recommendations:
- Good morning Holy Spirit: Benny Hinn
- Battlefield of the mind: Joyce Meyer
- The purpose room: Heather Lindsey
- Pink lips and empty hearts: Heather Lindsey
- The pursuit of God: A W Tozer
- The Christian discipleship manual: Joseph Boadu
- Fervent: A woman’s battle plan to serious, specific and strategic prayer: Priscilla Shirer
- The armour of God: Priscilla Shirer
- A woman after God’s own heart: Elizabeth George
- Formula for humility (child or servant): Dag Heward-Mills
- Birthing the Miraculous: Heidi Baker