4 Simple Steps to Follow For a Closer Relationship with God

These four stages are key to getting closer to God during hard times.

You want to have a close relationship with God, but you’re struggling to find time in your day for bible study and prayer. Maybe you feel like you’re stuck or hit a wall when it comes to your walk with God and your faith. Maybe you’ve been away from God and not spending time with him or going to church.

You want to reconnect with him but aren’t sure if that’s possible. Of course it is! Today, I want to share four steps that you need to take to have a closer relationship with God. We are going to take a look at your relationship with God. Where are you at right now? What kind of mistakes have you made along the way as you’re trying to go close to him? 

I have been walking with God since I was very young. I remember getting saved at four. There’s not a time in my life where I’ve not known God, at least not that I can remember. I have had many different seasons in my walk with God.

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I’ve had seasons where I felt really close to him and I was on it with the bible study, prayer, and all the things. And I’ve had moments and seasons where I just felt like nothing that I did was getting me closer to God. I couldn’t hear him, I couldn’t feel him. I didn’t know much about him. I was busy or whatever. 

Each of these stages has helped me get to the point where I feel the closest to God that I have in a very, very long time. It’s not because of anything super hard to do or anything mysterious. I simply learned to do something that has been the most transformative thing in my faith walk and in my relationship with God. 

I’m going to tell you all about it, but not right this second. I want to ask you a question. How would you describe your current relationship with God? If you could give me one word, what would it be? I want you to keep that in mind as you read today.

In my work with other Christian women, I started to see that there were a lot of commonalities and similarities between the struggles that they were having. One day I was talking with God telling him I knew there had to be some common thread, some theme that I was not seeing. 

I needed him to help me get a better picture and understanding of what was going on. I felt like I needed to have that clarity if I was going to be able to help and serve you better. And that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to serve well, but I just knew that there was a piece of the puzzle that I was missing. 

He gave me this metaphor and example about a physical relationship that we have here on Earth and our relationship with him. Your relationship with God is a lot like your dating relationship with your partner or with your spouse. I know that that sounds a little strange, you’re not in a romantic relationship with God, but stay with me. 

It helped me get a full picture of my own walk with God about where I am, the mistakes that I’ve made, and about the struggles and how to overcome them. When you think about the fact that your relationship with God is like a dating relationship there are steps that you go through to have a close relationship with God. 

Getting Closer to God Stage 1: Dating

When you first meet somebody and you don’t know anything about each other, they’re not going to be your best friend. You’re not going to get married the first day that you meet somebody because you don’t know each other very well just yet. 

That intimacy grows as you spend more time with that person as you get to know that person. The same thing goes for God. It’s hard to have a close relationship with a person that you don’t know and God is no different. This first stage is the dating stage where you get to know each other. 

Maybe you don’t know each other at all. You’re just getting to meet this person on this date, or you’ve known them a little bit, but you’re still curious. You start spending time together asking questions. What’s your favorite color? Where did you grow up? What’s your hobby? What are your career goals? 

You’re going to be asking those questions to get a better sense of who they are, and they’re going to be asking you those questions to get a sense of who you are. 

Getting Closer to God Stage 2: Relationship

The next step is the actual relationship step. This is where you’re going to start to go deeper because there’s a commitment there that’s not present when you’re just in the dating phase. In your romantic relationships, you might be dating one or two people. 

You’ve not committed to saying, this is the person that I want to get to know and I’m not going to spend time with anybody else. This is my person. You’re not there yet when you’re dating. At the relationship stage, you’re going deeper. You’re still curious and you’re still asking questions, but you’re asking deeper questions. 

You’ve gone below the shallow sort of survey and interview-type style questions, and you’re getting deep. You’re asking about their greatest fears. You’re getting to see how they respond to different situations. You’re starting to let your guard down a little bit, all in this effort to truly build a relationship, build more closeness, build more intimacy with this person. 

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Getting Closer to God Stage 3: Engaged & Married

The third stage is engaged and married – being all in. You’re here to stay. This stage is characterized by a vulnerability that you’re not going to see in the previous two stages. Yes, you’re going to be more open and honest the more time that you spend with somebody, but there is something about that committed married relationship that invites or should invite more vulnerability and authenticity. You’re going to be your true self in this situation. 

Getting Closer to God Stage 4: Seasoned Couple

The fourth stage is a seasoned couple. You’re familiar with each other. You know the ins and outs. The challenge here is to avoid being complacent and letting boredom set in. You hear advice to spice things up a little bit to stay interesting, to keep the spark going, and all of that. 

This is just like your relationship with God. Because when you are first saved, or even before you’re saved, when you’re just going to church or somebody who’s witnessing to you, it’s like dating God. You’re trying to figure out, who is this God person. You don’t know anything about him. 

It’s very shallow and surface level. That’s okay because you have to start somewhere. When you become saved, you’re like, okay, God, I want to know more. I’m going to follow you. You’re the Lord of my life. I’m in. Let’s go deeper. And God begins to reveal more of himself to you. 

As you mature in your faith, you hit that married-ish stage where you’re comfortable with God, you’re all in, and you’re able to be vulnerable with him and honest with him, and that’s great. When you’ve been walking with the Lord a little bit longer, sometimes you get into this season where you’re just bored. 

The same things that you were doing in those first three stages are no longer exciting. You’re no longer getting fulfilled by that. And so you need to begin to try new things and do things differently, and that’s okay. 

Mistakes When Getting Closer to God 

When I look at these four stages of dating or getting to know God and building that close relationship, I see three mistakes. These are mistakes that I have made myself time and time again. So there’s no judgment here.

Rushing through the Stages

Mistake number one is wanting to rush through the stages because you think it’s better in a different season. In that initial stage where you don’t know God as well, you look at somebody who’s been walking with God for a long time and then how much you need to be there. 

You wonder why aren’t you praying eight hours a day, doing this, or doing that? Sometimes it’s the reverse where you’re further along on your journey with God and looking back at a new Christian thinking they’re on fire for God. 

You feel like you need to go back to that. You miss that. Or if you’re like me, you’ve been praying for something for years and years and nothing’s moving. But then your new believing friend gets an answer right away and you’re like, oh, what’s up with that? 

You often think that a different season is better, but the truth is each step is essential because it lays the foundation for the next one. You cannot go from dating to married without going to that relationship step. It’s important. 

You have to have that superficial shallow start because the things that you learn in that stage, you build upon in that relationship stage where you’re going deeper. When you learn by reading the Bible that God is Jehovah Jireh and he provides, you’re going to need that truth when you start to go deeper. 

When you have a test of your faith and start to go through hard things. When you think, “I need something. Oh wait, I remember I learned that God will provide, he will make a way.” Everything builds on each other. 

Even at that seasoned stage where you’re going, I’ve read through the bible 10 times and it’s just not doing it for me anymore. Well, that’s okay because you’ve built that muscle of discipline and those habits of being consistent in your time with God, of praying, of reading, of memorizing, of worship, of giving, of serving of hospitality or whatever it is, and you have that foundation. 

Now you can start to explore and do different things to keep yourself from being bored. If you had tried to do that in the early stages of the relationship, it would have overwhelmed you or confused you.

Stop Being Curious

The second mistake is that you stop being curious and interested. I think this is true for any relationship that you’re going to have ever. The moment that you stop being curious, you stop being interested in the other person, it’s like you’ve disengaged. You’re no longer present, you’re no longer doing your part of the work when it comes to relationships, and that is deadly to any relationship. 

Nobody wants to spend time with somebody, and you’re not going to feel close with somebody, who’s clearly not interested in anything that you have to say or anything about you or even getting to know you. We do this with God. We get so busy with our everyday lives or we get so focused on the things that are going wrong, that we miss the chance to connect with God in those moments. 

You miss those invitations that he offers to go deeper, to be closer because you’re focused on the wrong thing. So stay curious and continue to ask your questions. When you’re frustrated, tell God you’re frustrated. Talk to him about your frustrations when you’re hurt or you’re confused or whatever, take that to him. 

See that as an invitation to go deeper with God, to have more conversations with God, to spend more time in His word, looking for those biblical truths, and looking for the principles that you can apply to your life. Keep asking your questions. Stay active, stay engaged. 

Afraid to Mess Up

The third mistake that I see is that you get stuck because you get so focused on getting it right. You don’t want to mess it up. How do you know that you’re praying the right way? How do you know that you’re saying the wrong thing? What if that mistake you just made is one too many and God will not love you anymore? 

You ask all of these questions. Can I help you out a little bit today? You don’t need to worry about messing up. You will. God doesn’t care. So get over it. I know that sounds a little bit harsh, but I’ve been in this comparison, this guilt, and the shame traps. 

We are going to mess up. You will mess up. You will get it wrong. You will take the wrong path. You will make a poor choice. You will hurt somebody’s feelings. You’re going to say the wrong thing. It happens. You’re human. It’s okay. God knows that. Holy Spirit is a fantastic GPS. He has no problem course-correcting you when you get off track. 

The only way that you’re going to know that is if you could stay connected to him. I don’t mean that God doesn’t care what you do, he does. When I say that, you will mess up and God doesn’t care. I really mean that it’s not going to cause you to lose your salvation or make God stop loving you. 

When you accept him as your savior and make that choice to follow him, all of your sins are forgiven. All the sins in your past, the sins you’re doing right now, the sins that you’re going to do that you haven’t even thought about, it’s all covered by the blood of Jesus. 

God is not going to hold that against you because you are his. It’s already been paid for. We have to learn to get over ourselves. You are not so powerful that you can undo the work that Jesus Christ does on the cross. It’s just not going to happen. 

3 Keys to Getting Closer to God

What can you do if you know that there are seasons and steps to your relationship and you know that you’re making these mistakes? I have found that there are three keys to having a good relationship: listening, honesty + vulnerability, and being curious and asking questions.

Those three things apply to your relationship with God. You need to listen to him. Prayer is not just about telling God all the things that you hate about your life and what you want him to do about it. It’s a conversation. You speak, God listens. He speaks, you listen. 

You should really be doing more listening than you’re comfortable with and than you’re probably doing. You’ve got to be honest and vulnerable with God. You cannot show up as your fake self with God. It doesn’t work. He made you. He created you. He sees all and knows all. There’s no reason to fake anything with God. 

The only thing that it’s doing is keeping you from being close to him. You’re not showing up as your true self. He knows everything that you’ve done. He knows the things that you thought about doing and didn’t do because God, and loves you anyway. 

You’ve got to stay curious. You have to ask your questions. It’s okay to ask God questions. It’s okay to want to know more about whatever it is. Does that mean he’s going to answer? No, because he’s God. Sometimes he chooses to stay silent. But it’s okay to ask because those things are going to drive you to dig into the word more, to talk to him more, and to listen to him more. 

To seek after a relationship with Him more because you’re like, you have the answers, God and I need to spend more time with you so I can get those. That’s going to build your faith and draw you closer to God. Here’s my secret sauce to having a close relationship with God and avoiding those mistakes. 

That is by being consistent in your time with God. That’s the answer. That is the thing that transformed my relationship with God – consistent time with him in the word and prayer.  I’m going to tell you right now, it wasn’t hours and hours and hours and hours and hours a day. It was 10 or 15 minutes a day.

Remember, it’s really hard to be close to somebody that you don’t know. And the way that you can get to know God is by spending time in his word. He reveals himself to you in His word and then connects to you with prayer. 

He’s going to speak to you and reveal more of himself to you as you pray, as you talk with him about what you’re learning in scripture as you talk with him about what you’re struggling with. That is how you get close to God. 

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Getting to closer to God is easier when you understand these 4 stages.

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