I recently became concerned about my relationship with God. I believe in the God revealed in the Bible and that I can have a personal relationship with him because of Christ’s death on my behalf that has paid the penalty for my sins. I have found that God wants to pursue a relationship with me, speaking through his Word, the Bible, and through prayer.
For many years I have made it a practice to take time each day to read his Word and to pray. However, lately, I noticed that sometimes I would miss those times for one day or two or more. I also noticed that when I would take time to meet with God I was distracted and often found myself on some side track.
Having become concerned about this, I determined to take time afresh to meet with God and found three simple principles in my reading from God’s Word that day that has helped me to mend my relationship with him.
First, I was reading in Leviticus chapter one which describes the burnt offering that was made by the Israelites. The animals that were used for the offering had to be domesticated animals belonging to the herd or the flock of the one making the offering. I understood the reason for this was that the offering had to cost. It was not the same as hunting for a wild animal and using it.
As I applied this principle to my times set aside to meet with the God I realized that to mend and maintain my relationship with him would cost. It would cost me in my time. I would have to budget time to allow for my meeting with God each day.
Second, as I continued reading in Leviticus one, I was reminded that the burnt offering was the only offering that was completely burnt on the altar. Other offerings only required certain parts of the animal to be burnt and the rest went to the priests for their food.
The principle that I took from this and applied to my relationship with God was that, when I budgeted time to meet with God then it should be wholehearted, focused, not distracted. I have found that when I meet with God I take time to journal, to read his Word and then to talk with him in prayer.
Third, I read about King Solomon entertaining the Queen of Sheba who was impressed with his wealth, his wisdom and, among other things, his burnt offerings. King Solomon made sure that he offered up his burnt offerings every day. However, in the very next chapter, we read of his demise for he was drawn away by the love of many women.
The principle I saw in this was that Solomon’s burnt offerings were an empty ritual but his heart was in another place. It was a warning that, while it is important to budget time to meet with God and to focus on Him during that time, there is a danger of it becoming a ritual.
As I have put these principles into practice, I have come to enjoy and look forward to my times each day, meeting with God and have been enjoying my mended and growing relationship with him. So far, the joy of my relationship with him has kept it from becoming a ritual as I am coming to know him more and myself more through our mended relationship.