First it’s important to know that God loves us, and wants us to seek Him and have a relationship with Him. It doesn’t matter what you have done in the past or who you are, God loves you. Here are some scriptures that tell us that God loves us.
1.“We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
2.“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
3.“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
4.No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39
5.But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—Ephesians 2:4-5
6.In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:9-11
7.The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. Zephaniah 3:17
I often get asked “How can I have a closer relationship with God?” I was asked this while one of Jehovah’s Witnesses as well. It’s fairly simple and straight forward.
If you want a relationship with God, tell Him! I remember crying and praying, telling God, “I want that relationship with you like Abraham had, like Isaac had, like Moses had, like King David had! I want that!” That was the first step.
I don’t know why that shocked the Jehovah’s Witnesses I spoke to but it genuinely shocked them. One young lady, a friend of my daughter, followed this advice and received her first answer from God! She called me the next day in tears of joy!
Next, the Bible is God’s inspired Word, this is how He speaks with us today. When we study His word, we are searching for answers. When we receive the Holy Spirit, He bears witness with our spirit and the words seem to come to life, that is, it’s as though we have never read them before. Suddenly the light goes on and we notice something new! So study of God’s word is also a key element.
The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. John 6:63 NLT
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 2 Tim. 3:16 NLT
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 2 Tim. 3:16 NIV
If we want to get to know God, we must read His word. If we want an answer from God, it is often found by reading His word. He has given the Bible as a letter of love and instruction, how would you feel if you wrote your child a letter of love and concern and he or she never read it?
As Jehovah’s Witnesses we were taught that taking in knowledge equaled eternal life and was equivalent to worship. This is from the faulty interpretation of John 17:3 in the 1984 New World Translation which read:
This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God and the One you sent forth, Jesus Christ.
Jesus words show that this is faulty interpretation when He said, “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life.” John 5:39, 40.
Notice the difference in other translations of John 17:3
And this is the way to have eternal life–to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth. NLT
Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. NIV
Now, decades later, even the Watchtower Organization has changed this verse to read similarly. (Although for decades we defended the watchtower’s interpretation of this verse!)
This means everlasting life, their coming to know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ. NWT
Coming to know someone is not the same as “taking in knowledge” of them. It is not simply learning about someone that helps us to have a relationship with them. It’s speaking to them, building that relationship. For example you can read a book all about your favorite author, you might learn where he was born, how old he is, whether or not he is married, how many children he has, and what his religious ideals may be. Does this mean you have a relationship with this author? Does this author know you personally by name?
Same principle applies in our quest for a relationship with God. True, we learn about God’s qualities and what He requires of worshiper’s by reading the Bible, but gaining that intimate relationship with Him, really getting to know Him, and having Him know us, is only acquired by speaking to Him, in prayer. So daily prayer is vital!
If you have a husband or wife, or a fiancé, do you remember when you were first getting to know one another? A day would hardly pass without speaking to each other, often for hours on end! This is how we get to know one another and this is how we also get to know God. True, He does not speak to us like other humans do, but we often “hear” from Him through His word.
Something that was never stressed, as Jehovah’s Witnesses was worship. Their idea of worship includes going door to door, attending meetings and study of watchtower literature. Does God care if we peddle magazines door to door?
“For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.” 2 Cor. 2:17 ESV
Does God care that we meet together to sing “From house to house and door to door?” Is that praising God? Now they sing about pioneering! In what way is that praising God?
So aside from prayer and reading or studying God’s word what else can we do? Sing songs of praise! Praise the Lord! This is found throughout the Scriptures.
Hear, O you kings; give ear, O you princes; I, even I, will sing to the LORD; I will sing praise to the LORD God of Israel. Judges 5:3
Therefore I will give thanks to you, O LORD, among the heathen, and I will sing praises to your name. 2 Samuel 22:50
I will give you thanks in the great congregation: I will praise you among much people. Psalms 35:18
And my tongue shall speak of your righteousness and of your praise all the day long. Psalms 35:28
Then will I go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy: yes, on the harp will I praise you, O God my God. Psalms 43:4
It is a good thing to give thank unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most high. Psalms 92:1
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful to him, and bless his name. Psalms 100:4
I will sing of mercy and judgment: to you, O LORD, will I sing. Psalms 101:1
I will exalt you, my God the King;
I will praise your name for ever and ever.
2 Every day I will praise you
and extol your name for ever and ever.
3 Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.
4 One generation commends your works to another;
they tell of your mighty acts.
5 They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—
and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
6 They tell of the power of your awesome works—
and I will proclaim your great deeds.
7 They celebrate your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your righteousness. Psalm 145
Want to see how often King David said to praise the Lord? Read Psalm 145-150 and just count how many times he says it!
So tell Him you want that intimate relationship, study His word and offer up songs of praise! Make this a habit and you will be well on your way. It takes time, consistency and effort. And lastly, don’t give up! Keep asking, keep seeking, persevere in prayer!
“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:9-13
So ask for the Holy Spirit! Tell God you want that intimate relationship with Him! Open the Bible and start reading it! He wrote it for us, it is His love letter and letter of instruction for us today.
Jesus loves you, and will come into your heart if you ask Him.