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How can I draw closer to God?
Thank you for your question - what more important subject to consider than how we can be close to the God who made us, loves us and in Whom we find purpose and meaning in our lives.
Let me start by making sure we understand how we can come close to God in the first place. 1 Peter 3:18 says this:
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God.
The Bible teaches us that when we are born into this world we are born sinful, and because God is holy and separate from all sin we cannot come close to Him. That is why the tabernacle and temple in the Old Testament were set up with a huge thick curtain barring the way for anyone to go into the holy of holies other than the High Priest, and he could only go in once a year.
Something had to be done for us to even think about coming close to God, and thankfully Jesus did exactly what was necessary when He died the death our sin deserved in our place 2000 years ago. Jesus made it possible that sinful people like you and me could be washed clean of all our sin, and made acceptable to God if we would simply trust in His work on our behalf (Ephesians 2:8). Once we come to that place of trusting Jesus for our salvation rather than trying to climb our own way closer to God it changes everything. The book of Hebrews can now say these words:
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:19-22)
These verses tell us that we can come with confidence into the holy places - there is now nothing stopping us from coming close to God through Jesus.
What this means is that those who have trusted Jesus can come close to God right now, wherever they are and whatever they are doing - there is nothing hindering them from coming into the presence of God and speaking to Him as you would talk to a friend.
Therefore the most important question we must ask ourselves is this: have I trusted in the work of Jesus on the cross to bring me close to God or am I still trying to find my way to him my own way? If you cannot say that you have put your trust in Jesus then there is no point carrying on with this answer, as it is only through Him that we can come near to God. All I can do is to urge you right now to place your faith and trust in Jesus' death in your place, and His resurrection where He defeated death and proved that He is able to save those who come to Him.
If you can say that you have trusted in Jesus then the story is completely different - you can come close to God immediately through the blood of Jesus. You don’t have to go anywhere else or do anything special to come close to God - there is constant access into His presence, and you can come boldly because you come to Him completely accepted, and clothed in the righteousness given you by Jesus Himself.
These truths are an essential foundation for us to lay as we think about drawing near to God, but let’s move on to a second way in which we could think about your question. Often when we speak about growing close to a friend or colleague we’re talking about getting to know them better, so we could ask the question this way - ‘how can we develop that deeper relationship with God?’ Here are some of the main ways:
1. Through the Bible - the Bible is God’s revelation of Himself, and as we study it we come to know who He is more and more, and as a result we can also come to know Him personally in a deeper way. The Bible tells us that Jesus is the fullness of God shown to this world (Hebrews 1:1-3), and then Jesus Himself shows the disciples on the road to Emmaus that ‘all the Scriptures’ are speaking about Him (Luke 24:27, also John 5:39).
Therefore, if you want to know God better, get into your Bible!
2. Through prayer - it’s important to remember that prayer is not just a one-way thing, it’s a conversation, and so as we go to pray we should expect God to answer us, which He can do in many different ways. The Psalms tell us that God is near to all who call on Him (Psalm 145:18) - just as when we spend time talking to one another, as we do so with God our relationship will deepen.
3. Through obedience - the Bible tells us that God has prepared specific works for all of us to do, and we can be sure that He has prepared them for the very purpose that as we follow Him, we will come to know Him more, and learn to trust Him in a deeper way. As we obey we will also be purified from the sin that can sometimes get in the way of a close fellowship with God. The Apostle Paul speaks in Philippians of wanting to know God better (Philippians 3:8), and to do that he doesn’t stay where he is, but he says I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14) - obedience is a must if we want to know God in a deeper way.
4. Through the Church - being a Christian was never meant to be something we do on our own, but we were always intended to grow together, and it’s as we live, love and serve together that we come to know God better through each other. Ephesians 4:1-16 speaks about this unity and love within the church which, when expressed, causes us to grow and mature into the fullness of Christ and the knowledge of the Son of God (Ephesians 4:13).
These four things are clearly much deeper than just a few lines each can express, but all are essential elements of a life that is lived in relationship with God, and that longs to know Him more.
In summary, we are able to draw close to God through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. It is only through him that we have access to God. Further to this, as part of our daily walk, we are encouraged to read the Bible, pray, obey the commands of God and attend a local church.
Here are some more Bible Verses for your further consideration:
- Ephesians 2:1-22
- Ephesians 4:1-32
- Philippians 3:1-21
I hope this answer helps you to find peace with God through Jesus Christ. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: Watch the video
I encourage you to attend a local Bible believing church and speak to the leader about your question. If you want to find a local church, our Church Finder may help you: Find a Church
Please feel free to submit a question to us or to read our answer database: Ask a Question
*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise
*If anything in this answer affects you directly, then please feel free to call our confidential prayer line in the UK on 0845 4567729, where trained Christian volunteers will take your call and pray both for you and with you. If you are outside of the UK then you may submit your request for prayer on line at www.ucb.co.uk/prayerline
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