TAKING YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD TO THE NEXT LEVEL
Have you ever felt that you needed to take your relationship with someone to the next level? A colleague of mine once told me how she and her former boyfriend, who happens to be her husband met. She said when she was in varsity in Johannesburg, a friend of hers had a guy friend who was from Johannesburg, but working in another province, in natal to be precise. Her friend thought that my colleague and her guy friend would be good match, and she told both of them about each other. Although my colleague was not keen to play along, her friend was very persuasive and she ended getting them to communicate, first through e-mail, and eventually on the phone. Their first phone conversation was so interesting that they ended up phoning each other regularly. Remember that these two had never met before, and they became friends through their phone conversations. Sometime later, they both decided they were both ready to take their relationship to the next level, and they arranged to meet for the first time. The guy bought her a bus ticket and booked a hotel room for her and for the first time, their phone relationship became a reality. The rest is history as the saying goes, and they are happily married and have a lovely daughter. As a believer, you need to realize that God is ready to take your relationship with Him to the next level, but the problem is that, if you are not ready, it will not happen. Many of us have been corresponding with God over the E-mail, and have never come to a point when we decided to take this relationship to the next level to a point where we have a conversation with God. Our relationship with God is so blurry that we keep on sending messages and response we get are, “Message failed to reach recipient” and we keep sending and hoping that someday our message will get through. If we were keen on making our relationship with God work, we would look into the matter and try to find out why our prayers are not being answered, or why is God not speaking to us. The truth is that our prayer lives are dead and our relationship with God is not always as sound as we make it to be. We tell others that we hear from God when in truth, we are dry and empty on the inside. Our biggest problem is that we keep lying to ourselves by saying we walk with God when in truth we know we are far from Him. The problem with lying to yourself is that you end up believing your own lie, and it becomes impossible to change because you become content with the status-quo. Relationship between two parties depends on both parties showing up to the meeting spot. Many of us have been showing up for prayer and although we would not outwardly admit it, God has not been showing up to those prayer meetings. We go there and pretend to talk to God and pretend that we have heard from Him while in truth, we know that God is not in our midst. In Acts 2, we hear about how the believers where waiting in the upper room for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as Jesus had promised, and on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit showed up as He was promised by Jesus. Prior to this great outpouring of the Spirit, in Acts 1:14, we are told that the believers all met together continually for prayer, they did not quit until they had received the power promised to them. In Acts 4:23-31, the believers prayed to God for courage, and God showed up, the room in which they were praying was shaken, and God filled them with boldness. In 2.Kings 4:8-37, we read about how Elijah prophesied to the woman from Shunem that she would bore a son, and the prophecy became fulfilled. Later on the child died, the woman brought the dead son back to Elijah, Elijah locked himself in a room with the child, God showed up, and he came out with a child, living and healthy. This is but a few examples of people who met with God in prayer and something powerful happened as a result. This is what God desires for us, to meet with Him and experience a face to face relationship with Him. Maybe you are reading this, and you are saying, I wish I could have this kind of relationship with God, where I can hear His voice, experience His presence and see His answers to my prayers. The truth is, God only answers prayers that are borne out of a close relationship with Him. In John 11:41-42, before Jesus called Lazarus out of the grave, He prayed and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. You always hear me…” Jesus could say that because there was nothing in His life that hindered God from hearing His prayers. Maybe you might say, Jesus was God, no one else can say the same thing to God, In 2.Kings 20, we read how king Hezekiah became sick, and God sent the prophet Isaiah to give him the message “ to set his affairs in order, for he was going to die.” When Hezekiah heard this, he prayed to the Lord and pleaded with Him, he reminded God how faithful he has been in following His commandments, and God heard his prayer and gave Him 15 more years to live. God wants to meet with you, and He wants to bless you, but He wants you to come to the place where He is. In Exodus 19, God told Moses that He three days’ time He would be coming to Mount Sinai, and He made an appointment with Moses to meet with him there, and He also told Moses to prepare the nation of Israel for His visit, they were to purify themselves and wash their clothing. If one is to meet with God, purity is the name of the game. In three days’ time, God was faithful and He showed up, and He called Moses to the mountain. “The Lord came down on the top of mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain. So Moses climbed the mountain” (Exodus 19:20). Two very important things happened here, God descended, and Moses ascended. This is key for anyone who wants to meet with God. They met at the top of mount Sinai, the mountain of God. Anyone who wants to meet with God, will have to climb up to the top of the mountain. Anyone who has climbed a mountain before will know that climbing puts much strain on your knees as you do it. Knees represent prayer, prayer requires effort, and you do not quit until you have reached the top of the mountain. When Moses finally reached the mountaintop, He was in the presence of the Lord and could speak to Him face to face. And when Moses came down from the mountain, His face was radiant because he had been in the presence of the Lord, and he had the ten commandments in his hand, God had spoken to him. If you are a pastor reading this, you need to know that unless you reach this point in your ministry, where you can go into the presence of God and come out with a message from God, your congregation will never be what God wants it to be. Not everyone qualifies to climb to the mountain of God, only those who are worthy can do so. Palm 24:3-6 says, “Who may climb the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in His holy place? Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and never tell lies. They will receive the Lord’s blessing and have right standing with God their savior. They alone may enter God’s presence and worship the God of Israel.” The blood of Jesus makes it possible for us to climb to the mountain of God, and experience His power and blessing. If your prayer life is not what it is supposed to be, maybe you need to evaluate your life to see if you are in a right standing with God, and ask Him to cleanse you from all unrighteousness, and continue to live a life of purity, and be persistent in prayer. Do not quit until you meet with God and you experience his blessing in your life. May God help you to reach that point in your spiritual life where you are able to hear His voice. AMEN!