Have you ever wanted to grow in your relationship with God but felt like you lacked something? Maybe you felt like you needed more awareness of where to start. Or perhaps you felt like you needed more resources, knowledge, or skills to pursue spiritual growth on your own. However, maybe it’s not resources or knowledge or skills, but rather you lack the discipline to improve your relationship with God.

Whatever you are feeling, I want to help you overcome any obstacles and give you practical ways to grow your relationship with God. God wants you to live the life He intended for you to live – in a relationship with Him.

WHERE DO YOU START?

First, let’s address some thoughts. What do you assume comes to God’s mind when He thinks of you? Why?

Now, what does God actually think of you? God loves you! “God loves [you] not because of what [you] do or accomplish, but because God has created and redeemed [you] in love and has chosen [you] to proclaim that love as the true source of all human life.” Henri J.M. Nouwen, In the Name of Jesus

Your spiritual growth matters to God, but not in the way you may think. God is not interested in your behavior compliance to Him or merely obedience out of your self-effort to certain standards. God wants you to be a recipient of His love and allow your acceptance of His love to transform you through a personal relationship with Him. God desires to do life with you – for you to experience life with Him.

Ask yourself: what difference would it make in your life if you were convinced that God’s love is your source of life and that a relationship with Him is your highest fulfillment in life?

God offers you a full and satisfying life with Him (John 10:10 – some translations say “an abundant life”). Still, you are responsible for taking hold of that promise. Simply put, spiritual growth means you develop your relationship with God and you live life with God.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

You participate in the development of your relationship with God. God loves you and gives Himself to you through the truth of God’s Word, the person of Jesus Christ, and the indwelling of and empowerment by the Holy Spirit.

Here is a second thought you may need to address. Do you believe spiritual growth is accessible to you? I have talked to many people over the years who think God has reserved spiritual growth and a vibrant relationship with Him for only a few – you know, the “professional Christians” or the “spiritually-trained Christians.” This thought has robbed so many Christians from living the life God intended for them.

If you want God in your life, you must develop a relationship with Him. Your spiritual growth is rooted in a permanent, intimate relationship with God, but you must invest in this relationship. God makes the relationship possible through Jesus Christ – His death, burial, and resurrection – but you must commit to developing a relationship with God.

Here is a third thought you may need to address. Do you think hours upon hours are required daily to grow your relationship with God? Long periods of time daily could be helpful to any relationship, but God doesn’t want you to neglect others or your responsibilities, nor does God want you to blame Him for not fulfilling your commitments to others and your life responsibilities. Think about other relationships – they take time, years in the making, with all sorts of experiences. A relationship with God is similar. God wants you to invest in your relationship with Him – just like anything you desire.

PRACTICAL TIPS

Here are a few ways to help you integrate your relationship with God into your daily rhythms of life. God wants to interact with you consistently – just like any relationship.

WHAT COULD YOU DO TO INTERACT WITH GOD?

Try to interact with God through studying the Bible. Before you quit reading this blog and click away, let me address another thought you may have: “I can’t study the Bible.” Yes, you can! Here is one simple way to learn how to study the Bible for yourself to grow your relationship with God.

Why, the Bible? Because the Bible is given to you by God. God used more than 40 human authors he inspired to record His activities, His thoughts, and His words. If you truly want to accept God’s love and allow His love for you to transform you – you must live in a relationship with God, and what better way to learn how to live in a relationship with God than to read about how others lived in a relationship with God.

If you want to grow in your relationship with God, how can you interact with God in your daily life – let’s look at an example of how you can study the Bible for yourself.

Use Four Questions to help you interact with God through the Bible.

Select Scripture: Select a Bible book or specific Bible verses to study for yourself. Ask yourself these four questions and record your responses.

Where could you start?
Select Genesis if you want to know the beginning of the biblical narrative.

Select one of the four gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, if you want to enter the biblical narrative when God in the person of Jesus steps into His creation to reveal Himself to humanity.

Select the book of Romans if you want to learn more about humanity’s situation that requires God to intervene to rescue humanity from themselves.

Once you have selected a book of the Bible or specific Bible verses, you add to your daily rhythms – when could you allot time to listen or read the Bible?

Examples:

  • If you have children in activities (e.g., gymnastics, music, dance, sports, tutoring, etc.) – take your child to the activity and spend the same time reading or listening to the Bible.
  • If you have a lunch break at work – just like you schedule lunch dates with co-workers and friends; designate some lunch times to read or listen to the Bible.
  • If you have a long work commute (either by bus, train, or car) – designate some of the commute times to read or listen to the Bible.
  • If you spend time daily on social media or watching movies – could some of that time be designated to reading or listening to the Bible?

Remember, the purpose is for you to allot time in your daily rhythms to interact with God because you want to grow your relationship with Him.

You have your Bible book selected. You have your designated time.

Now, what do you do with the time?

Begin with Prayer: Pray for God to teach you through your study of the Bible. Tell God you truly want to be with Him, know who He is – how He thinks, what He feels, and what He wants your relationship to be. You believe God has given you the Bible to help you know Him personally and develop a relationship with Him. So, you are making an effort to study the Bible.

After praying, apply these four questions to help you study the Bible passage.

  1. What does the Bible say?
    • Read the Bible verses once, preferably aloud. You may want to play an audio Bible while you follow along in your Bible. Read (or listen to) the same Bible verses again and write down what the verses say.
    • Make a verse-by-verse list of the most obvious facts using the actual words from the passage itself. Be literal in your list. Use the exact words of the verses. Do not paraphrase. Do not get caught up in the details. Ask factual questions about the text: Who is speaking? Who is the subject? Where is it taking place? When did it happen? What did the person say?
  2. What does the Bible mean?
    • Read the list of facts you made about the verses (see question #1).
    • Write down things you learn from each of the facts listed. To help you discover a biblical principle or scriptural truth, ask yourself: What are the people in the passage doing that improves their relationship with God? Is there something in the passage that people should stop doing because it harms their relationship with God? Is there an instruction given in the passage that they should obey to strengthen their relationship with God and accomplish God’s purposes on earth? Is there a promise God gives in the passage that people should claim for themselves because they are in a relationship with God? Is there a warning the people should pay attention to because God reveals consequences? Is there an example God desires them to follow?
  3. How does my life compare to what the Bible says and means?
    • Take the biblical principles/scriptural truths you discovered in Question #2 and put them into the form of a question that you would ask yourself.
    • As you write out the questions, listen in your mind and heart for God to communicate to you through the Bible verses. Remember, this time is yours to be with God – talk and listen to Him. If you have a relationship with God through your belief and saving faith in Jesus Christ, then God, the Holy Spirit is in you to teach you and guide you in all truth (John 14:16; 16:13). Do not rush this process – you are with God – read the biblical principles/scriptural truths slowly. Take the time to prayerfully consider each one and discover what God is saying to you regarding the biblical principles/scriptural truths of the Bible passage you are learning from God.
  4. How is my life changing because I’m living life in a relationship with God?
    • Read the biblical principles/scriptural truths prayerfully, objectively, thoughtfully, and attentively as you listen for God to speak. You may not hear an audible voice, but quiet your mind and heart to hear God. God may not speak to you through every verse, but God will speak. God promises to listen to you when you pray about studying the Bible and responds to you when you pray. When God does speak, record the verse number and what it is God seems to be saying to you.
    • Since you are in a relationship with God, how might you respond to what God is saying to you? How could your thoughts change? How might your actions or words change? What evidence is in your life that you are in a relationship with God?

End with Prayer: Thank God for meeting you and sharing with you how to grow in your relationship with Him through your study of the Bible. Commit to meeting with God again to continue growing your relationship with Him.

Keep talking to God all day: When you think of something you read, or you hear or experience something during your day that reminds you of your time with God – PAUSE for a moment – Talk to God at that moment. God is present with you! Share your life experiences with God in real-time. It’s that why we immediately TEXT or message others – we share a life experience with them. Do the same with God to grow your relationship with Him.

One more thought to address. There is not only “one right way” to study the Bible or interact with God. There are many Bible study techniques, methods, and ways to interact with God. However, my goal is not to teach lots of techniques but rather to motivate you to invest in your relationship with God. This Four Questions Approach does not require you to have any extra resources, special training, or education/schooling to study the Bible for yourself. I hope I’ve helped you realize you can have a relationship with God, and I hope your confidence is growing greater and greater.

You can not only have a relationship with God, but you can grow your relationship with God. Try to grow your relationship with God this week because He loves you and wants you to experience life with Him.

  • What book of the Bible will you select?
  • When will you read or listen to the Bible in your current daily rhythms?
  • When will you go through these four questions as you read or listen to the Bible?

Just like any other relationship – your relationship with God requires investment. Pursue the life God intended for you to live with Him! Try to grow your relationship with God through the study of the Bible this week.

Watch the LIVE REPLAY of our discussion on how you can interact with God in your current daily rhythms of life through studying the Bible. Join us LIVE every Monday at 3 p.m. ET on @GodGivesCourage Instagram for our Spiritual Growth Series and check back here on Tuesdays for the companion blog post.

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