The Challenge of Building a Relationship with God
You’re here because you’re curious about building your relationship with God. Maybe you’ve heard about Jesus Christ from your family or you’ve heard about the idea that Christ died for your sins and it seems a little confusing to you. Or maybe you grew up with Christianity and going to church but you’ve never experienced a deep intimate relationship with God so you’re wondering how people can talk about having a close relationship with God like they’d have a relationship with their mom, dad or best friend.
Even the idea of the Son Jesus and God being our heavenly Father can sound strange when you’re not familiar with it (and even when you are familiar with it).
However you ended up on this page, whatever questions you may have, you’re in the right place.
James 4:8 says, Come close to God and He will come close to you.” So what you’re doing right now puts you in the perfect place for relationship building with God.
You’re on the right track.
Wanting to have a close relationship with God and live a life of faith is a great thing. It’s part of God’s plan for our lives. God loves you and He wants to have an intimate relationship with you – a relationship where He knows you and you know Him and where you learn to trust Him.
I’m on the same journey with you. I also want to build a closer relationship with God.
What is Bible Study?
And one of the best ways to feel closer to God and to start this journey is through Bible study.
I’m not sure if you’ve been to church before, but one of the things a church pastor might encourage you to do is read your Bible. This is because Christians believe the Bible is God’s word. We believe the words were written by many individual authors who were inspired by the Holy Spirit.
There are 66 books in the Bible so sometimes picking up the Bible can seem a little bit overwhelming. It can be hard to know where to start.
It’s very common to feel this way so using Bible study guides can be a good place to begin the journey.
Every religion has a set of practices, right? Some religions chant, others have set times to pray and others practice meditation.
A key part of the Christian faith is reading and studying the Bible. It’s a way that we can spend time with God and understand what He wants from us in our lives.
In addition to bible studies, websites like The Bible Project can provide a great visual overview to help you get started with one of the biggest, most complex literary works of all time.
I like the Bible Project because it makes the Bible accessible. It uses art – a form of communication that anyone can enjoy – and lets it tell the stories of the Bible.
What Will You Find in the Bible?
When you read the Bible, you may find that it’s unfamiliar and can use words you’re not used to hearing.
For example, remember the verse I told you about earlier, “James 4:8, which says, “Come close to God and He will come close to you?”, well in some translations that verse says, Draw close to God. Some versions of the Bible use older versions of the English language which can sometimes make the stories seem very distant from our time and our culture.
This is where the study part of the Bible comes in. Over time, you’ll learn more about the culture and the time when the story was written. This will give you some context for what you’re reading.
On top of that, there are concepts that seem strange to our modern minds like the phrase “Praise God”, which means to give God his due respect and adoration. There are other ideas as well, like thinking about God’s favour, which is all about God’s blessings.
These can be such hard ideas to think about and digest, but don’t let them distract you from the heart of the Bible.
Throughout the book, you’ll also find the love story of Christ Jesus drawing near to humanity, leaving His place in heaven to reach out to us humans in our crazy, messed up state.
You’ll learn that day and night we’re on God’s mind. We are the apple of His eye. He wants to help us in building our relationship with Him.
You’ll find a God who loves to reward us openly for what we do in private for Him.
What is Fish Food?
Over 10 years ago, I had my own experience with the Bible.
I started writing a book called Fish Food because I wanted people in their teens and twenties to see how important building a relationship with God is.
I wanted to make God accessible and real and I wanted to encourage people (and myself) to pursue a relationship with God.
(It’s hard out here on these streets, lemme tell you!)
Who I Wrote the Fish Food Book for
As I looked around, I noticed many of my former classmates and people I grew up in church with had walked away from faith in God, and I wondered why.
By that time I had experienced a very real God, and I wanted to encourage the people around me to pursue a relationship with God for themselves. I had seen how God gets involved in the details of our lives and I wanted to them have that experience as well.
My First Job
Around that time, my job wasn’t a great fit. The company I worked for had a prestigious name, and I was very proud to work there, but I didn’t feel like I was able to be my best self and live up to my potential.
So, every night I would come home and write.
I was hoping to write a book about how we get stuck trying to find our perfect career. I was going to try to help other people do what I hadn’t been successful at.
Thinking back, it’s almost a bit laughable.
To be honest, the idea for my book Fish Food wasn’t thought of yet.
Every night, I’d come home and work on my project — the career book.
Listening to God Speak
But one evening, while I was working on the career book, I heard a small whisper from God.
Sidenote: I love those whispers. They don’t always come across to me very frequently, but when they do, they’re good.
The whisper said, write a book and call it Fish Food.
Flashes for the book ran through my mind. I put my career book idea aside, (what did I know about that subject anyway), and started deep diving into Fish Food.
That first chapter just flowed out of me with so little effort.
And I started on my journey of exploring what drawing near to God means.
What Does Fish Food Mean?
The concept behind the name Fish Food is that there’s usually an experience in our life that looks like it’s the experience that will take us out. It’s hard and overwhelming. It leaves you gasping for air, as if you’re growing under the pressure of it, but often it’s the experience God uses to save us.
I believe we all have “fish food” experiences in our lives.
They put us in the perfect place for building a relationship with God.
What do you do when your relationship with God changes?
Looking back, at the time I wrote Fish Food, I was a giant in faith. I prayed with boldness. I expected God to show up in response.
I spent time in prayer, in reading my Bible and in sheer devotion. I loved spending time with God and waited to hear Him speak to me.
But, if I’m honest with you, somewhere along the way, things changed.
More than 10 years later, several hard breakups later, several jobs later, several countries later, with a husband and child, I sometimes read what I’ve written in the past and I wonder who that woman was.
I want to know her. I want to learn from her. I want to be her.
Now, I find myself working on re-building my relationship with God. I find myself working on rebuilding the trust. Because life and relationships – even our relationships with God – are a series of up and down moments.
Now, I find myself somewhere between struggling and surrendering.
Building Our Relationship with God
As you’re here looking to build your relationship with God, I understand where you are. I wrote this book for you. I wrote it because I want to encourage you to read the Bible for yourself.
I want you to go deep into a relationship with God because above everything else, relationship is the most important.
But relationships take time and patience and faith.
What is Prayer
As you start drawing closer to God, you’ll want to talk to him more and more.
Prayer is learning to talk to God and listen.
Now that you’ve reached the end of this article, I’m wondering do you have a prayer request? Is there anything on your heart that you need prayer for? Feel free to complete the form below and let me know how I can pray for you.
As you start this week ahead, and you’re wondering where to next, pause your day and spend some time with God.
I believe God calls each of us to be someone unique and to do something specific. I believe He is a God of relationships and when you express to Him that you want to build your relationship with Him, you’ll find Him drawing closer to you.