Drawing Closer to God
By: Anthony Zaccariotto
Someone once asked me in church how they can draw closer to God, to be a better follower and introduce Christ more into their life. I get a lot of questions from boys and girls on how they can draw closer to God. Often times we experience ups and downs in our spiritual life that can be related to the effort and time we ourselves are putting in. It is important not to let this get you down, as it is more common than you think. With all the things going on in the world that we live in, it is very easy to get distracted by life. A good start would be to take a closer look at the events and activities that make up your life.
There are a lot of things I could write here but I am going to try make it as brief as possible. I would like the reader to really take a look at the events and activities that make up their life and the amount of time they are really spending with God. Many people don’t realise this but everything we do in life, every thought, word and action at every moment is causing a corresponding effect. I’m sure you have read the phrase ‘as ye sow so shall ye reap (Galatians 6:7).’ If you are not reaping much in your spiritual life, you need to take a closer look at what is being sown.
I have been a member of the church for well over a year now and I can recall countless times the church fathers have said ‘we need to make time for the Lord.’ Sorry guys this is the plain and simple truth. Let’s take a look at our day for example, the average person will wake up at the narrowest window of time before work/school, have a quick shower, get dressed and arrive at their destination. The moment this class/work day is finished this person is then going to either go straight to the fridge for their post work day/school snacks and then turn on the escape box (T.V) or flip through Facebook. Sure enough the time has passed and then we need to get our good night sleep and then repeat this the next day over and over again. Can anybody notice the problem here?
Let’s say I had a goal in mind where I wanted to lose 10 kilos in 2 months. Surely in order to accomplish this task we would have to make some adjustments in our schedule, routine and eating habits. We would now need to make room for exercise and a better diet, otherwise we are not going to get very far. The same thing applies to our spiritual life. A wise man once said that ‘simple disciplines repeated over time will bring success, while simple mistakes repeated over time will create failure.’ This applies to everything. We need to always remember that everything we listen to, watch on T.V, set our eyes on and bring into our lives are pouring massive ingredients into our minds and the fabric of our lives are built from these ingredients.
Sin is the number one separator from God. If there is something in your life that is causing you to slip or stumble whether it be hatred, anger, jealousy, resentment, lust, pornography, heavy music and inappropriate films, you need to cut if off as soon as possible. If you have something in your life you feel guilty about or someone you feel you have wronged, fix it now! There is no easy way to say this. Jesus put it very clearly when he said ‘if your right hand or right eye causes you to sin cast it away from you’ (Matthew 5:29,30). This can apply in many different aspects. These particular barriers will also have a profound effect on our prayers. If there is someone in your life you can’t forgive or someone you may have hatred, anger or jealousy towards, this is going to cause a big stumbling block in your prayers and spiritual life. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18) . “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:2 But your iniquities have separated you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you.” (Isaiah 59:1,2)
Whenever I read a book or am looking for good advice I always like to have an example along with it. Now what I am suggesting is not going to be very easy but I need everyone to give it a try. Someone once told me it takes 21 days for a new habit to form. We all need to start forming better habits and a good way to do this is to write down a checklist. A person is ten times more likely to get something done if it is written down. A good example is the Bible itself, which God has preserved to help us remember.
Start your day and hour earlier with giving thanks to God for allowing you another day on this beautiful and astonishing planet earth. Give thanks for the opportunity to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. Give thanks to this miracle of life we have been granted and the opportunity to have a relationship with our Creator. Next you may want to say a prayer for your loved ones, your family, your friends. Maybe there are things in your life you may want God to help you with or guide you through, talk to Him about these things! God loves to hear from you; you are His. You need to make time for spiritual reading. Your Bible is not going to benefit you if it is getting dust on your bookshelf. There is a positive to every situation, if you find yourself reading the bible for 30 minutes and you didn’t understand a single thing, look at it this way at least you weren’t sinning for 30 minutes! Set aside 30 mins – 1 hour a day getting into the word of God. If you will introduce these little elements into your life consistently, along with eliminating all the previous barriers I have spoken about, you will be astonished at the changes you will see. Jesus confirmed this in the parable of the sower; Let the seed fall on good ground and bear fruit with patience! (Luke 8:5-15) Key word here is patience! With all the instant gratification in the world today and everyone used to getting what they want with the click of a button, this is making it very difficult for us.
This all has to start somewhere guys, let it begin with us. Remember, we always get what we put in; cause and effect. Whatsoever a man soweth that he shall also reap (Galatians 6:7). Plain and simple truth, if we are not putting in, we are not going to get out. If we are not sowing much, then we are not going to reap much. You need to make time for God. If you will consciously go about this task outlined, you will be amazed at the changes you will see. At first it may seem hard, especially if you have grown so used to the routine and habits you have already formed. JUST DO IT! Make time for God! Let him into your heart and allow yourselves to be filled with His presence. The joy that will come out of this, will be immense and you won’t look back.