You may have heard or played the game “he loves me, he loves me not” flower petal plucking that people play to determine if the boy or girl they like shares the same affection for them. The couplet is repeated until all the petals of the flower are plucked out. The line spoken when the final petal is removed assumes the truth about their relationship. The relationship between a couple cannot develop or grow deeper unless they are assured of their mutual affections for each other.

In the same way, we cannot grow in our relationship with God if we keep wondering if God still loves us and will not leave us when we sin. We can know that our relationship with God is secure once we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. We do not have to second guess if God loves us, but that He loves us eternally and unconditionally.  When you are confident that Jesus is living within you and that you have eternal life, you begin a relationship with God and can know God personally. “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (Jn 17:3 NASB). You may wonder how you can grow in your relationship with God and know Him more. As in any interpersonal relationship, you need to spend time in communicating with God. All Christians need to cultivate the spiritual habits of reading the Bible, prayer, and obedience to grow in their relationship with God.

God speaks to us through the Bible, His Word

The Bible is a collection of 66 books written by more than 40 authors over a period of 1500 years. It contains history, wisdom, poetry, law, future events, and instructions for life. God spoke through his messengers who wrote the Bible.  Now, He speaks to us as we read what they have written. God uses the Bible to reveal Himself so we can know His character, the way He works, and His will for our lives.

According to His word in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All scripture is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man or woman of God may be fully capable, equipped for every good work.” The bible is beneficial for sound doctrine. It teaches us God’s truth. The Bible also instructs us in the right behaviours so that we can avoid mistakes and make wise decisions that please God. God’s word will correct us when we do wrong and show us how to live a righteous life. God uses the Bible to equip or train us to do the good works that He wants us to do.  

Hearing God’s Word strengthens our FAITH.So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17 NASB) Our trust or faith in God grows as we listen and read God’s word. The more we read God’s word and know Him, the more we can trust Him. It is hard to trust someone whom we do not know.

How often should we read the Bible? “Now these people were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. (Acts 17:11 NASB). The Berean believers studied the scriptures or Bible daily for themselves and did not merely accept what was taught to them. Likewise, we need to spend time to read and study God’s word DAILY. God’s Word is our daily bread that nourishes our soul and spirit.    

God’s word keeps us from sins. The psalmist said. “I have treasured Your word in my heart, So that I may not sin against You.” (Psalm 119: 11 NASB). By knowing and obeying His word, we keep our lives pure. Either sin will keep you from God’s word or God’s word will keep you from sin.   

We respond to God’s word with obedience

Merely hearing and knowing the Bible does not lead to growth in our relationship with God. We need to obey His Word and His will. James 1:22 exhorts us to “prove yourselves doers of the word”. Those who hear and do not obey deceive themselves. James warns us: “For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror.  You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.  But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. (James 1:23-25 NLT). God blesses those who obey Him.

Obedience to God proves that we love God. “The one who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and the one who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will reveal Myself to him.” (Jn 14:21 NASB). God promises that we will experience the love of the Father and He will reveal Himself to us. As we obey God, we will remain in His love (Jn 15:10 NASB). Jesus emphasizes the importance of obeying God’s commands to experience of God’s love continually. It is encouraging to know that God works in our hearts to give us the desire and power to do what pleases him. (Phil 2:13 NASB)

We speak to God through prayer

Prayer is talking and listening to God.  We don’t have to worry about how to say or what to say. God invites us to pray about everything. Do not be anxious about anything, but in EVERYTHING by prayer and pleading with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:6,7 NASB). We can talk to God about EVERYTHING we need and thank him for what He has done. Some people think that they can only pray about major problems like looking for a job and health challenges. The verse says EVERYTHING, meaning both big and small concerns we have. You can bring God shopping and ask him for good buys. He is never too busy to heed your requests. God promises to give us peace rather than grant us everything we ask. He knows what is best for us and how to answer our prayers.

God wants us to cast our CARES on Him. Cares refer to worries, difficulties and needs of this world, and anxieties. We can let Him carry our burdens because He cares for us. There is nothing we cannot cast on the Lord. (1 Pet 5:7 NASB). Our God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and able to handle all our cares and concerns.

Establish a quiet time with God

As we discussed at the beginning of this lesson, two-way communication is crucial to develop any interpersonal relationship. To develop your relationship with God, you can cultivate the habit of setting aside a special place and time each day to focus on getting to know God more. You can ask Him to speak to you through the Bible and you can talk to God about everything through prayer.

Set aside 10 -15 minutes each day and go to the same place to enjoy your time with God. You can start by reading a chapter of the Bible each day, starting with the gospel of Mark in the New Testament. It is a biography of the life of Jesus. You can start a journal to record what God is saying to you and write your prayer requests. When God answers your prayers, you can turn your prayers to thanksgiving. 

Article contributed by Dr. Ng Tjoh Dju

Wondering where to find Christ-centred resources to help in your spiritual growth, or where to buy a bible in Singapore? Cru Media Ministry, your trusted Christian bookstore in Singapore, is also one of the leading Christian gift shops in Singapore to meet your every spiritual need. Here at CruReads, we have compiled various recommended reads to nourish your souls for your different seasons of life. Check out our great Christian books and may these recommendations be a blessing to you and your loved ones.

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We have curated the below to help you grow stronger in your relationship with God through better understanding of the bible, and a more meaningful quiet time with God and prayers. 

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