Saturday, November 16, 2013

No Regrets

 Because I promised that my blog would also contain some of the articles I've written, I have been searching through my Article Archives to find a good one.  About four years ago I wrote one that always stood out to me because I had a really good topic.  I thought perhaps I would post that one... but when I went to read the article, I found myself quite surprised.  Apparently my writing has changed from what it was four years ago.  It's changed a lot.  And since I prefer my current writing style, I decided that I wouldn't post that article until I had revised it just a bit.  ;)  This is an article I wrote last year on the importance of strengthening your relationship with Christ.

No Regrets

As Christians, we need to have fellowship with the Lord while each day we become sanctified and more like Him.  We should all have a hunger and desire to grow closer to Him as we continue to live out His plan in our lives.  “As the hart panteth after the water brookes, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.” (Psalm 42:1)  In this verse David cries out to God from a longing heart.  Like a deer who has raced through the woods and is looking for a cold, refreshing drink from a nearby stream, so does the weary King David desire to have reviving communion with the Lord.  David is recorded as “a man after God’s own heart”.  He loved the Lord, sought to obey Him, and desired to be more like Him every day.  When I think about David, I am challenged.  I want to be like him! 

“Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to thee”. (James 4:8a)  In this verse, we see a two-way road.  In order for us to experience a close relationship with Jesus Christ, we need to pursue Him and seek after Him.  If we neglect the Lord and follow after worldly “delights”, we push Him out of our lives to make room for ourselves.  We are not going to grow at all like this!  “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us,” (Hebrews 12:1)  The little sins that take our focus off the Lord are the sins that will end up putting a barrier between God and us. 

How do we draw close to God?  How do we grow in our relationship with Him?  I think these two scriptures can answer these questions: “I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.” (Proverbs 8:17) “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)  This is what will start the beginning of a sweet relationship with the Lord! 
This year, I spent a lot of time in God’s Word while I studied for the Bible Bee.  After doing in-depth studies on certain books of the Bible as well as memorizing many passages from it, something became apparent: I wanted more of it!  That was an interesting fact that I learned: the more you spend time in the Word, the more time you want to spend time in the Word! By putting forth the effort to grow in the Lord, He puts in you an unquenchable hunger and thirst for Him.  I also realized that this desire was not of myself; how could my sinful heart have a longing for the things of the Lord?  It can’t.  I didn’t create this yearning, the Lord did.  However, it was up to me to seek God and spend time with Him.  Do you see the two sides to this? 
Before closing, I want to touch on sanctification.  Sanctification is a daily process of the Holy Spirit working within us, molding us into Christ’s image.  “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” (John 17:17)  By seeking God through His Word, we will experience this as well as the sweet intimacy that comes from drawing night to God.

Another aspect is prayer.  Prayer is direct communication with God.  It is really amazing when you think about it... we have the ability to go right to the throne of God and pour out our hearts to Him: our struggles, our praise, our thanks, our needs...  Just like we grow in relationships with people we know by talking with them, so will we grow in our relationship with our Heavenly Father by talking with Him.  Isn’t it amazing to think that He is never too busy, but always ready to hear what we say?  We must listen to Him as well when we pray.
To finish up, I want to share this quote from Charles Spurgeon: “...Therefore is the presence of Christ to be desired above all things.  His presence will be most realized by those who are most like Him.  If you desire to see Christ, you must grow in conformity to Him.  Bring yourself, by the power of the Spirit, into union with Christ's desires, and motives, and plans of action, and you are likely to be favoured with His company.  Remember His presence may be had.  His promise is as true as ever.  He delights to be with us.  If He doth not come, it is because we hinder Him by our indifference.  He will reveal Himself to our earnest prayers, and graciously suffer Himself to be detained by our entreaties, and by our tears, for these are the golden chains which bind Jesus to His people.” 

Seek after God, my friend!  Spend time —lots of time!—in His Word as well as prayer.  When you make the step to draw closer to God, you will find that He will not only draw closer to you, but also create a deep longing in you for Himself. 
You won’t regret it!


Elanee said...

Excellent Article Bethany. It's so refreshing to read, and even more encouraging to know that you're really applying the lessons you've learned to your life.

Bethany said...

Thank you, Elanee! Of course I am still learning... but the Lord continues to work!