Healthy Connections Day 5: Connecting with God
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16, ESV)
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16, ESV.
My first three years of school, I attended Monticello Elementary School in Statesville, NC. During those years, I made some great friends (and got into plenty of trouble with them). But during the summer between 2nd and 3rd grades, we moved about 10 miles away. It put us in a different school district, and I started attending East Iredell Elementary School. Even though we weren’t that far away, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen any of my Monticello friends since we moved. Those friends I thought would be with me forever were definitely not. This was a time before cell phones and social media, of course, so keeping in touch likely meant writing letters to each other. We didn’t, so we lost touch. We no longer communicated, so that strong connection we had weakened, fizzled, and disappeared.
As Christians, we must maintain our connection with God; we must do our part to keep that connection strong and secure. And here’s the thing—I’m almost positive the vast majority of (all?) true believers in Jesus Christ know exactly how to keep the connection strong. It isn’t some grand mystery! We surely all know there are two modes of communication when it comes to our relationship with God: to hear Him, we read His Word; to be heard by Him, we pray. Reading and praying are essential to the life of a Christian—hardly a groundbreaking statement! But I want to think about two words related to this topic: familiarity and maturity.
We already looked at the value in getting relationships off the ground. In the infant stages of a relationship, the connection is tenuous. You aren’t familiar with each other and are equally testing the waters. When it comes to our connection with God, we might feel that unfamiliarity when we are first saved. Of course, that feeling would be one-sided. God is intimately familiar with us and has been since we were in our mother’s womb! But our familiarity with Him is something that grows over time. It’s like any other relationship: the more time we spend with Him, the more familiar we’ll become; regularity will lead to familiarity. The more we read His Word, the more we’ll know about Him. The more we pray, the more we’ll share with Him. As the relationship deepens, so does the substance. You’ll begin to know and appreciate God on a deeper level, which leads to trusting Him with a growing amount of your needs, concerns, fears, issues, doubts, and worries.
What about maturity? If you’re a parent (or maybe not that removed from being a child supported by your parents), you would understand the nature of an immature, one-sided relationship. How else can you describe the dependent relationship of a little child? They do a whole lot of receiving—food, shelter, clothing, security, money, instruction, and so on. They may give back their love, but there is a lot of asking, “Dad, can I have ____? Mom, can I go to ____?” This isn’t indicative of having a high-maintenance, needy child; it’s indicative of having a child, period! But eventually, they mature. Your connection changes: they ask for advice; they drive their siblings around; you have deeper conversations. Maybe they ask for less, and spend more time simply talking. I’ve started experiencing that with my oldest daughter, who recently turned 16. While it comes with a host of new challenges and worries, I’m enjoying the more mature connection we have now. Our connection with God will also change as we mature spiritually. As a young Christian, we will likely spend a lot of our time with Him asking Him for things. As we mature, our connection takes on new shapes. While we still ask Him for things (blessings, guidance, help, healing), I’ve found I spend more and more of my time with Him talking through my challenges. There is more confession, and more entrusting Him with things I would tell few other people.
As we look to strengthen this connection (the most important one), let’s consider the value within it. Just re-read the verses quoted above. Prayer can lead to peace, mercy, and grace from the Giver of all things. Scripture is the guiding tool for every season in life. Lord, help me to take advantage of the immense value that can be found in a strong connection with You!