On July 6 my wife Edie and I will celebrate 50 years of marriage. Over those 50 years, I’ve nurtured and increasingly cared for and protected that relationship. In short, I’ve happily expended no small amount of time, treasure and energy into making our marriage one that would honor and glorify the Creator.
As our anniversary approaches, I’m driven to contemplate another relationship, namely the one I have with God. I wondered if I put forth anywhere near as much effort into that as I had in my marriage. The answer I arrived at was “probably not.”
I decided then and there to truly put God first in my life. Having done that, I needed a plan to bring the resolution to fruition. What follows is that plan. I do pray it helps others to foster a closer relationship with God.
First, I took an honest look at my priorities. I had to reflect on my life, taking into consideration what factors most determined how I chose to live. I asked questions like, “How much time do you spend watching TV? How much time do you spend on social media? How much of each day is dedicated to God?” This showed me the specific changes I needed to make in order to put God first.
Second, I determined to spend more time worshipping Him. While it’s important to worship God in church, it’s also vital to worship God throughout everyday life. I attempt to often focus on His presence with me. I talk to Him, thanking Him for who He is and what He’s done. Throughout the day, I petition Him, intercede for others through Him and attempt to include Him in every aspect of my day. When I wake, my first thought is of Him, and when I retire, my last whispered words praise Him.
Thirdly, I spend time in God’s word. I’m in the Bible daily preparing sermons, studies and doing research. What I had let slip was reading it for enjoyment. In his book, Prayer, Timothy Keller writes, “God acts through his words, the word is alive and active, and therefore the way to have God dynamically active in our lives is through the Bible. To understand the Scripture is not simply to get information about God. If attended to with trust and faith, the Bible is the way to actually hear God speaking and also to meet God himself. God has so identified himself with his words that whatever someone does to God’s words, they do to God. God’s verbal actions are a kind of extension of Him.”
Well, there it is. I know that plan is simplistic, but it is working for me. I pray that as you scan this little article, you would be encouraged to nurture your relationship with our God.
Ed Jones pastors Fellowship at the Ranch Church at Robson Ranch. This nondenominational church meets at the Robson Clubhouse on Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m. Visit Fellowship’s website www.fellowshipattheranchchurch.com for information.