Do we know God personally? Do we know Him as a friend, or as someone we can relate to? How can we get to know God better? We may never fully comprehend all aspects of God, but we should strive towards getting to know Him as best as we can. There are eleven steps we can take to get to know who God really is and what He is to us.
The first step is to obtain God's Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:11).
Obtaining God's Spirit is a costly proposition. We need to make a full consecration, meaning completely devote our lives to Him. We are to follow the Apostle Paul's instructions in Romans 12:1: "Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." In order to know God, we must give ourselves to Him, so that He may pour out His Spirit on us and use us for His purposes.
The second step is to say to God, "I give you my will, and I will surrender it."
It is common for us to question what God's will is for our lives, or to go through life telling God what we think His will is for us. Instead, we need to get rid of our sinful human will. We must follow the teachings of the Apostle Paul when he tells us to "be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect" (Romans 12:2). To "renew your mind" means to adopt a new way of thinking. Instead of following the desires of the imperfect, human nature we must follow the desires and ways of one who is striving to live a godly life. It is essential to "set your minds on the things above, not on the things that are on earth, for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:2-3). If we are to have a new way of thinking, then our old way of thinking must be completely removed. It does not matter how other people view us, but it is important how God views us and if He is pleased with our thoughts and actions.
The third step is to set our treasures in heaven so our hearts will be in heaven.
The Apostle Matthew instructed us saying, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroy, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6: 19-21). An effective way to do this is to think about the Lord immediately when we wake up each morning, so that we form our thoughts and attitudes for the day around Him. If our aim is a spiritual reward, our heart will be set on spiritual things, rather than earthly things.
The fourth step is
to study the Bible.
The Bible is the Word of God. It is where His thoughts and instructions for us are established. We need to "be diligent to show thyself approved by God, a workman who need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15). In order to be diligent, we must study. We should know the words of the Lord so we can follow them. Acts 17:11 gives the example of the Bereans who were "examining the Scriptures daily" to see whether the things they heard were so. We, too, need to read the Scriptures for ourselves and not simply accept the teachings we hear but to make sure they are in agreement with the Word of God. There are three points to remember while studying: the first is to study with an open mind. Ask, "What is the Lord really saying?" Do not come with preconceived ideas of what He is saying; do not come to prove a point but come to learn a point. The second point is to study the life of Christ. He set an astounding example on how we should live, and there are many lessons we can learn from his life. The final point is to study the teachings, or doctrines, in the Bible. Study them so you can understand them; use them to change your life and to learn the mind of God.
The fifth step to truly knowing God is to simplify your life.
Eliminate the clutter of possessions, noise, activities and other things that distract you from God.
Matthew 6:29-34 gives wise instructions to "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all of these things shall be added unto you." If we strive toward God above all things, He will provide all of the physical things we need. The simpler our lives, the more time and energy we can devote to the spiritual things that truly matter.
The sixth step is meditation. Think on and consider the wonderful things God has promised and on the things He has done for us
in the past.
Remembering the things the Lord has done for us in the past will give us strength and courage to trust Him for the future. Philippians 4:8 says, "Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things." Focusing our thoughts on righteous, pure and honorable things will enable us to avoid filling our minds with sinful thoughts and will draw us closer to God.
The seventh step is to
talk with God.
In order to become closer to Him we must talk to Him. Speak to God like He is your friend. Share your feelings, emotions, wants, disappointments and plans with Him. Share everything. If we share with Him, He will share with us!
The eighth step is to
Lift up your hands to the Most Holy God. Praise His name with singing and dancing! Be joyful and worship the Lord. David said in Psalm 145:2 "Every day I will bless You, and I will praise Your name forever and ever." There are three aspects of praise. The first is to extol, or profess and proclaim His name. The second aspect is to bless, and be thankful for the things He has done for us. Lastly, praise Him; be grateful for who God is, not just what He has done.
The ninth step is to testify.
Tell others about God. Share what God means to you and what He has done for you with the people around you. Testify about the plan of God as well as the personal impact He has had on your life.
The tenth step is to practice.
Practice, practice, practice. Put all of the principles in the Bible into action in your life. We should "be doers of the word, not hearers only" (James 1:22).
The eleventh step to becoming closer to God is to let your light shine.
Matthew 5:16 says, "Let your light shine before men so that they can see your good works." It is not what you say that matters, but how you live. You are the only Bible some people may ever read. Be an example to others by living out the principles and ways of life that God established in the Bible.
These eleven steps should help us to get to know God. Although it is difficult to fully understand God, we should spend time in His word and try to follow His instructions. The more time we spend with God, the better we will get to know Him. If we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us.