Mini Bible Study: How to Build a Close Relationship With God

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Mini Bible Study

How to Build a Close Relationship With God

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This study explains several practical and specific ways to draw closer to God. If you are not already doing these things, it’s our hope and prayer that you’ll choose to start right away.

God is near and does not forget us

Although God is not visible to us, He can become the most reliable, trusted and loving reality in your life!

King David poetically described his experience of God’s greatness and nearness:

“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell [the grave], behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall fall on me,’ even the night shall be light about me; indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to You.

“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well” (Psalms 139:7-14 Psalms 139:7-14 7 Where shall I go from your spirit? or where shall I flee from your presence? 8 If I ascend up into heaven, you are there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, you are there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 10 Even there shall your hand lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. 11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. 12 Yes, the darkness hides not from you; but the night shines as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to you. 13 For you have possessed my reins: you have covered me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will praise you; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are your works; and that my soul knows right well.
American King James Version×
).

David was inspired by God’s omnipresence (meaning He is everywhere present) and His omniscience (meaning He is all-knowing and all-wise). When people are not close to God, they may blame Him for the feeling of separation. But it is not God’s fault. People forget about Him, but God never forgets about us. He is always available to you if you “seek Him with all your heart” (Deuteronomy 4:29 Deuteronomy 4:29But if from there you shall seek the LORD your God, you shall find him, if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.
American King James Version×
).

Drawing near to Him

The author of Psalms 73:28 Psalms 73:28But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all your works.
American King James Version×
wrote, “It is good for me to draw near to God,” and hopefully you are learning how good that is for you. A relationship with God begins when He calls us or draws us. Jesus said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up [resurrect him] at the last day” (John 6:44 John 6:44No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
American King James Version×
).

After God calls us, He expects us from then on to exercise initiative in seeking to draw near to Him. If we do, we have this very encouraging promise: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8 James 4:8Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double minded.
American King James Version×
).

The promise of a resurrection to life after death becomes a primary motivator. It is that “better hope, through which we draw near to God” (Hebrews 7:19 Hebrews 7:19For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw near to God.
American King James Version×
).

Specific keys to building a relationship with God

Again, this study will cover some specific ways to develop and maintain a close relationship with God.

How valuable is it to read and study the Bible?

“But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:14-17 2 Timothy 3:14-17 14 But continue you in the things which you have learned and have been assured of, knowing of whom you have learned them; 15 And that from a child you have known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished to all good works.
American King James Version×
).

“Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she [wisdom, personified here as a noble woman] is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her” (Proverbs 3:13-15 Proverbs 3:13-15 13 Happy is the man that finds wisdom, and the man that gets understanding. 14 For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. 15 She is more precious than rubies: and all the things you can desire are not to be compared to her.
American King James Version×
, New International Version).

The Bible is more valuable than all the rest of the books in the world combined. It is priceless! It is the Creator’s revelation to His creation regarding His plan and how we should live our lives to fulfill our purpose and to obtain, by far, the best results. Even kings were commanded to read the Scriptures daily (Deuteronomy 17:18-20 Deuteronomy 17:18-20 18 And it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: 19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: 20 That his heart be not lifted up above his brothers, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the middle of Israel.
American King James Version×
). The Bible is God’s Word —God speaking to each of us. We must listen, and listen carefully!

What is a major key to making one’s Bible study personally profitable?

“Never stop reciting these teachings. You must think about them night and day so that you will faithfully do everything written in them. Only then will you prosper and succeed” (Joshua 1:8 Joshua 1:8This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; but you shall meditate therein day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall have good success.
American King James Version×
, God’s Word Translation).

“Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine … Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all” (1 Timothy 4:13-15 1 Timothy 4:13-15 13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14 Neglect not the gift that is in you, which was given you by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. 15 Meditate on these things; give yourself wholly to them; that your profiting may appear to all.
American King James Version×
).

It’s important to not read the Bible in a rush. Take time to really think about what you are reading and you will get a lot more out of it. Meditate and reflect deeply on the meaning of the scriptures you read and their application to your life. Meditating on God’s laws helps immensely to write them on your heart (Hebrews 8:10 Hebrews 8:10For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, said the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
American King James Version×
).

Can we talk to God at any time and know that He hears us?

“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:14-15 1 John 5:14-15 14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he hears us: 15 And if we know that he hear us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
American King James Version×
).

Jesus said: “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you” (John 16:23 John 16:23And in that day you shall ask me nothing. Truly, truly, I say to you, Whatever you shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.
American King James Version×
).

Sincere prayer is powerful because the Creator of all the universe loves to hear our prayers and loves to answer them. The Bible has many scriptures that exhort us to pray, and many that give pointers on how to pray. God expects us to maintain daily two-way communication with Him—reading His messages in the Bible and talking to Him in prayer. And the more you pray, the more natural it will be for you. The Bible compares the “prayers of the saints” with sweet-smelling incense, for they are pleasing to God (Revelation 5:8 Revelation 5:8And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of saints.
American King James Version×
).

Can we walk with God—and what exactly does that mean?

“He who says he abides in Him [Christ] ought himself also to walk just as He walked” (1 John 2:6 1 John 2:6He that said he stays in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
American King James Version×
).

“This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it” (2 John 1:6 2 John 1:6And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.
American King James Version×
).

“Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments” (1 John 2:3 1 John 2:3And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
American King James Version×
).

In the Bible, the word walk is often used to refer to one’s lifestyle —how we live our life. To walk according to God’s Word means to apply it, to put it into action. To walk with God means to obey His commandments and to follow—imitate—Jesus’ example. This includes obeying the Fourth Commandment as Jesus did. Observing God’s Sabbath day provides a whole day to focus on drawing close to God.

So we must talk and walk with God.

Does fasting also help in drawing close to God?

“Then I [Ezra] proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions … So we fasted and entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayer” (Ezra 8:21-23 Ezra 8:21-23 21 Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance. 22 For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken to the king, saying, The hand of our God is on all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him. 23 So we fasted and sought our God for this: and he was entreated of us.
American King James Version×
).

“But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly” (Matthew 6:17-18 Matthew 6:17-18 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face; 18 That you appear not to men to fast, but to your Father which is in secret: and your Father, which sees in secret, shall reward you openly.
American King James Version×
).

“ ‘Now, therefore,’ says the Lord, ‘turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning’ ” (Joel 2:12 Joel 2:12Therefore also now, said the LORD, turn you even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:
American King James Version×
).

Among the spiritual tools for drawing closer to God, fasting is a real power tool! Fasting is valuable when we are faced with a big problem and we urgently need God’s help. Even when we aren’t faced with big problems, we should fast occasionally as a special form of worship and to draw closer to God. When you sincerely fast, God is pleased and will help you grow spiritually.

Can meditating on God’s ways and His creation help us to learn valuable lessons?

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (Romans 1:20 Romans 1:20For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
American King James Version×
, New International Version).

“I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your works; I muse on the work of Your hands” (Psalms 143:5 Psalms 143:5I remember the days of old; I meditate on all your works; I muse on the work of your hands.
American King James Version×
).

“I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works” (Psalms 145:5 Psalms 145:5I will speak of the glorious honor of your majesty, and of your wondrous works.
American King James Version×
).

As we discussed earlier in this series, God has two primary means of revealing Himself to humanity: His written revelation—the Bible—and the evidence of creation. Creation is fascinating, because we never cease to learn from it and be inspired by it. From creation we learn many things about the Creator.

Will we be much closer to God if we stay away from bad influences?

“Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits’ ” (1 Corinthians 15:33 1 Corinthians 15:33Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
American King James Version×
).

“The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray” (Proverbs 12:26 Proverbs 12:26The righteous is more excellent than his neighbor: but the way of the wicked seduces them.
American King James Version×
).

 ”As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.’ Therefore ‘Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.’ ‘I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty’ ” (2 Corinthians 6:16-18 2 Corinthians 6:16-18 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? for you are the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Why come out from among them, and be you separate, said the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. 18 And will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, said the Lord Almighty.
American King James Version×
).

We are continually faced with choices. We often must choose between exposing ourselves to bad influences or surrounding ourselves with good influences (including other believers). God is very displeased when we choose evil or what will lead us toward it. The mind is like a sponge that will soak up whatever you expose it to, whether good or bad, and what goes in stays in, to a great extent.

A computer is a good comparison. A computer’s output depends on what was input. Garbage in, garbage out, as the expression goes. God knows our every thought. Don’t allow experiences and thoughts that you will be ashamed of when you face God.

Do materialism and an overly busy life interfere with relationships?

“No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [material wealth]” (Luke 16:13 Luke 16:13No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
American King James Version×
).

“Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful” (Mark 4:18-19 Mark 4:18-19 18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, 19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
American King James Version×
).

“But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:9-10 1 Timothy 6:9-10 9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
American King James Version×
).

Money is not evil, but the love of money is a major root of evil. So, yes, materialism and a super-busy life interfere with all our relationships and especially our relationship with God. They can choke to death our spiritual life like weeds choke to death the life of garden plants. When money and things become overly important to us, they are becoming our gods, which means we are breaking the first of the Ten Commandments (by prioritizing them over God).

Are satanic and demonic influences a significant danger?

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith” (1 Peter 5:8-9 1 Peter 5:8-9 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brothers that are in the world.
American King James Version×
).

“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7 James 4:7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
American King James Version×
).

“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness” (Ephesians 6:11-12 Ephesians 6:11-12 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
American King James Version×
).

Satan “deceives the whole world” (Revelation 12:9 Revelation 12:9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
American King James Version×
), so even followers of Christ can be deceived by Satan or a demon when we aren’t continually on guard. Satan hates all people, but he especially wants to deceive and destroy anyone trying to obey God. We attract Satan and the demons and become vulnerable to them if we are sinning, dabbling in spiritism or the occult, or letting down spiritually in some other way. And when one walks in the way of the devil, he or she is alienating himself or herself from God.

What is the ultimate, most powerful way to stay close to God?

“Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’ ” (Acts 2:38 Acts 2:38Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
American King James Version×
).

“For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His” (Romans 8:6-9 Romans 8:6-9 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
American King James Version×
).

How is it possible for a mortal human being to have an intimate and ongoing relationship with the divine Creator God? The most important key is God’s gift of His Spirit to dwell in one’s heart and mind! God’s Spirit works to transform human nature to a godly nature and the mind of Christ, so instead of being inclined to selfishness and sin, we become inclined toward love and godliness (Philippians 2:1-5 Philippians 2:1-5 1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2 Fulfill you my joy, that you be like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
American King James Version×
). To receive the Holy Spirit, we must repent of our sins and be baptized.

God desires a close relationship with everyone. In fact, He wants all people to eventually become, as we’ve seen, His “sons and daughters” (2 Corinthians 6:18 2 Corinthians 6:18And will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, said the Lord Almighty.
American King James Version×
).

Start using these relationship keys now

Daily prayer is a principle key explained above, and a major part of our prayers should be thanking and praising God for His many blessings. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6 Philippians 4:6Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
American King James Version×
, NIV, emphasis added).

Many, many scriptures throughout the Bible exhort us to thank and praise God in prayer and in song. Psalms 69:30 Psalms 69:30I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.
American King James Version×
, Psalms 106:1 Psalms 106:1Praise you the LORD. O give thanks to the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endures for ever.
American King James Version×
, Psalms 107:8 Psalms 107:8Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
American King James Version×
and 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
American King James Version×
are just a few examples.

God loves the attitude of gratitude! When God answers a prayer, protects us or blesses us in some other way, He’s not expecting much in return except our obedience and our thanksgiving. Make it a habit to count your many blessings and praise God for them!

Stop and think about many of the blessings and benefits that God has given you, and make a list of them. You probably will be pleasantly surprised at how many you can quickly think of. And God will be well pleased that you immediately took this wonderful step forward!

To learn more about how to build your relationship with God, download or request our free study guides Transforming Your Life: The Process of Conversion and Tools for Spiritual Growth