Building a personal relationship with God should be the quest of every believer.
Every serious believer must look for ways to build a personal relationship with God and sustain one.
The Bible speaks of Enoch saying:
And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him. – Genesis 5:24
Even of Noah
These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. – Genesis 6:9
God expects us to fellowship with Him, know Him, and master His ways. This can only be actualized when we begin to walk with Him.
He told Abraham in Genesis 17:1
And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.
After calling Him out of his kindred and family, God's purpose for Abraham was for him to build a relationship with Himself.
Even in the beginning, God created man as a being that would be able to communicate with Him and interact with Him.
Before man was created, there was nobody who could interact with God in fellowship and hence no man knew who God was.
The angels and elders only cried "holy, holy". This was their way of describing who God was.
It was deficient in meaning as they called God holy because they did not know who He was.
Holy in this context does not mean holiness. It means to be set apart, to be in one's class.
One of the goals behind the creation of man in Genesis 1 was to correct the issue of building a relationship with God.
So we see how that God would always come down in the cool of the day to fellowship and commune with the man He has created.
And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. – Genesis 3:8
Even as the year 2021 is beginning, one of the matters we must concern ourselves with is building a personal relationship with God.
I trust God to share some steps on how to build a personal relationship with God in this article.
Before I share the ways we could build a relationship with God and maintain fellowship with the Father, I would like to answer an important question.
Some persons may have doubts about the possibility of this spiritual activity. These persons may wonder can I have a relationship with God?
I will answer that.
Can You Build a Relationship With God?
Yes, you can build a relationship with God. Both in the old and new testament, there are records of men who walked with God in fellowship.
During the introduction, I spoke about Enoch, Noah, and how God asked Abraham to walk before Him and be perfect.
It is very possible to have a relationship with God and yes you can have one.
The Bible says,
God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. – 1 Corinthians 1:9
In 1 John 1, we see Apostle John explaining certain truths regarding fellowship particularly in verse 3
That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
John shows us that they had fellowship with the Word of life and he invited every one of us to do the same.
If Enoch walked before God, if Noah did the same if God asked Abraham to do so, and seeing Apostle Paul's writing to the Corinthians and John's message in 1 John, fellowship with God is possible.
Away from this, let's see how we can build a relationship with God.
How To Build a Relationship With God
To build a personal relationship with God is possible by adopting the following steps.
Know God Experientially
You can not have a relationship with someone you do not know. The first step to building a relationship with God is to know God.
The knowledge of God here does not refer to an awareness of who He is but a revelatory experience of who God is.
What this knowledge of God means is to be born of God. And being born of God is to accept the sacrifices of Jesus on the cross in securing our redemption.
The book of John 14:6 says
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
What this scripture shows us is that knowing God in fellowship is only possible through Jesus.
So, one must first accept Jesus as Lord and Savior before the journey of having fellowship with God can be initiated.
Access and interaction with God is only possible when man exchanges his life with Jesus' life in surrender and repentance.
Jesus is the express image of the Father and Colossians in chapter 2 verse 9 says
For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
And in John's narration of who Jesus was, he said
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: – John 1:12
When we receive Christ, we become the sons of God. This sets us on the platform for fellowship with God.
If you have not surrendered to Christ there can be no means of interacting with God. In sin, we can never have a personal relationship with God.
The Bible speaking in Isaiah 59 verses 1 and 2 says
Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
God would not have anything to do with sinners except they turn to Him in repentance.
Sinners can not have fellowship with God or build a relationship with Him.
Apostle Peter sums this position up when he wrote that
But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; – 1 Peter 1:15
Holiness is key and important to our fellowship with God. God will not behold iniquity and He will not grant audience to an iniquitous individual.
Every one of us sinned and fell short of His glory and the gift of God that brings salvation has appeared to us to wash our sins.
Accepting this gift of God, Jesus is the first step to fellowship with the Father.
Study and Meditate on the Word
Knowing who a person is, their likes, and dislikes is important if you would ever have a fruitful relationship with them.
Your relationship with a total stranger can be tiring and unproductive and that is because you have no idea who the stranger is and what interests them.
Like I established earlier on, a relationship with God is possible when we know Him. The knowledge of God is progressive.
One part is seen in the first step I highlighted on how to build a relationship with God where I said one must be born of God to relate with God.
The second part of knowing God is to study and meditate on His word.
God's word is the seed containing His life and essence and if we must become intimate with Him we must be students of the word.
Apostle Paul admonished Timothy his son saying
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. – 2 Timothy 2:15
When we study God's word, we become familiar with His ways and operations. His words show us how He wants to fellowship with us and this creates an enabling environment in our heart for Him.
Remember, you can not have a good relationship with a stranger. Studying and meditating on the word of God makes us know Him and sets us up for interacting with Him.
Apostle Peter counsels us in 1 Peter 2:2
As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
This must be our posture towards God's word if we would ever build a relationship with Him.
We must crave for the pure, sincere milk of God's word.
In Paul's counsel to Timothy, he said
Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
After we have encountered Jesus and become born of God, the next thing to do is to immerse ourselves in the study and meditation of God's word.
Every relationship is founded on communication. You can tell the quality of a relationship by the level of communication present in it.
Building a relationship both with God and humans involves communication. The survival of any relationship is hinged on how much the parties communicate.
Prayer is the communication channel between man and God. This is very important for our relationship with God.
Let me share a personal experience.
I noticed I was getting very close to a lady some time ago and I was not so comfortable with it.
I wanted to reduce the closeness and probably end it before it sparks into something beyond my control.
The only strategy that came to my mind was to reduce my communication with her.
I stopped talking with her. I started to reply to her social media messages very late. I became too busy to talk with her.
And in less than 4 months we became distant friends.
I am sure you just discovered why some of your relationships could not work out – poor communication.
The same principle applies to God. The more we talk with God in prayer, the more we know Him.
Let me draw your attention to something.
There is a difference between talking to someone and talking with someone. What builds a relationship is not "talking to" but "talking with".
Prayer can either be used to talk to God or talk with God. Both are good. You can talk to God about your problems and ask Him for solutions. All you would be doing is exploiting the Fatherhood dimension of God.
While you can talk with God and have Him talk back to you. This is what builds a relationship with God.
Why is it important to talk with God?
Talking with God puts us in the plans and purposes of God.
And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.
And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; – Genesis 18:16-17
God could not hide anything from Abraham because Abraham has by prayer built a relationship with Him.
Think of it this way.
When you want to make a crucial decision, aside from God, one of the first persons you tell is your best friend right?
See why it is important to talk with God always.
Imagine you have a friend who only comes to you when they have a problem and once you help them solve that problem you don't get to see them again.
The moment they get into another problem you see them running to you again. That friend only comes with requests and problems.
Your relationship with such a friend would be very shallow and parasitic. Going to God in prayer only when you have needs can not help you build a good relationship with Him.
To walk with God, we must move beyond praying for our needs to praying for God's needs.
I am not in any way demeaning the place of praying for your needs. It is very important. Jesus says
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: – Matthew 7:7
But if all we do as prayers are centered around our desires and needs without God's own needs, then fellowship with Him would never be a reality.
In Revelation chapter 1 verse 6, the Bible says
And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
One of our duties as priests is to minister to God. We see that in Acts 13:1,2
Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
The ministration of these men in the Antioch church captured the need of God and we see God speaking to them. This is how we build a relationship with God.
To wrap us this article, let me answer one more question.
Can You Lose Your Relationship With God?
Yes! You can lose your relationship with God.
Remember the story I shared about trying to reduce my closeness with a lady? The same principle is applicable here.
The maintenance of our relationship with God should be the top priority for us because of the tendency to lose it.
When you stop doing the things that helped you build a relationship with Him, God becomes distant from you.
If you are a believer of the once saved forever saved doctrine, you may want to object to this truth.
The once saved forever saved doctrine is true only on one side. Salvation is indeed eternal.
Jesus' sacrifice on the cross to bring us salvation and redemption is eternal. This is what Hebrews 10:18 suggests
Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.
There is no other sacrifice for the remission of sin other than Jesus'. The salvation Jesus procured is eternal such that when you accept His life, you do not need any other sacrifice for your sins.
The other side of the doctrine which many misplace is that being saved does not exempt you from sinning.
When we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, we are made righteous. Righteous means right standing with God.
God is too holy to behold iniquity and sin. Hence, we can access God thanks to the finished works of Jesus that cleanses us from sin.
But then, being saved alone does not guarantee heaven. One can be saved and still go on sinning.
The guarantee for heaven is holiness as is spelled out in Hebrews 12:14
... and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
Being made righteous without holiness is tantamount to hellfire. If you accept Jesus but still go on sinning, your salvation is not eternal.
This is why the once saved forever saved doctrine should not be adopted.
Here's how you can lose your relationship with God:
The moment sin enters a believer's life a lot of things go away including fellowship with God.
When Adam sinned, he lost the presence of God and was unable to have fellowship with Him.
God will never interact with a vessel living in sin. The Bible says
Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: – Psalms 51:6
Sin hinders fellowship with God and ultimately makes us lose contact with Him.
Not only are we invited to have fellowship with God, but He also craves to fellowship with us.
God wants us to know Him. He wants us to move from servants to the position of friends.
It is possible to have a relationship with God.
Endeavor to enact one from today.