Developing a Close Bond with Christ A Step by Step Guide 1
Introduction Human beings by nature are social creatures. We thrive on relationships. All kinds. Relationships with our parents, siblings, spouse, children, coworkers....well, you get the point. The relationship we often lose sight of is the one we have with God, the most important relationship there is. But we live in a world where most donâ€™t even know who God is, much less obey him. So how do we truly get to know the one who created us, who died for us and provides for us daily? Your personal relationship with Christ will help maintain you during good days and bad days in this life. And better than that, the bond you have with Jesus will help prepare you for eternal life. Here is your step by step guide. 2
Read Your Bible
“Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,” (Psalms 40: 7) “Seek ye out the book of the Lord, and read.” (Isaiah 34:16) “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth,” (II Timothy 2:15). 3
Step #1- Read Your Bible God has provided his holy word, that is, his commandments, testimonies and everything we need to know to be saved in the bible. These days, the bible comes in all formats, whether hard copy or soft copy. Perhaps individuals in the baby boomer generation and prior might want to stick to their hard copy bibles and thatâ€™s ok! But for those who dare to venture out, the bible is now on the internet, free of charge or can be downloaded on your phone, iPad or other electronic devices. What excuses do we have?! I mean really. One click of a button or turn of the page and there the word of God is. 4
Step #1- Read Your Bible All humor aside, studying the bible is key to our salvation. It gives you hope. The plethora of self help and inspirational books out there canâ€™t save you. Only God can and you can reach him in his word. The bible teaches us about the laws and how we must obey them. It teaches us our history and prophecies of salvation. Itâ€™s like we have a piece of God in our hands, made possible because he loves his children. 5
Step #1- Read Your Bible When we study the word we do so in order to put in action what we have learned (John 1: 1). In other words, the bible is of no use to you if you don’t apply it’s teachings. And you may not understand every single line. I know I don’t. But you will understand what you need in order to be saved, that’s a guarantee. The bible has the power to change you into a new person.
Step #1- Read Your Bible Now, each of us are responsible for our own actions, therefore, we have to study the bible on our own. We canâ€™t just wait until we are at church or depend on another individual to teach us. For we live in a day with mega churches where the preachers have become more like rock stars or hip hop artists. They are more interested in wealth. While Christ healed and taught for free, many so-called religious leaders wonâ€™t utter a word unless you can pay for them and their entire entourage. Preachers are now idolized. Pastor Brown said this. Well the Deacon told me this but what about what the God said in the bible. What if you are being misled.
Step #1- Read Your Bible Now many might gainsay what I just said, arguing that the bible was written by man and not by God, so how can one truly know what is the truth. But this is merely a convenient excuse to justify disobedience to Godâ€™s commandments. It is true that the bible was written by men but these were holy men inspired by the Holy Spirit. These were not their own personal ideas but the truth that came from God above. The men who wrote the bible died, but Godâ€™s word did not pass away.
Step #1- Read Your Bible In 2 Timothy 3: 16-17 it states, â€œAll scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.â€? Therefore, you must learn about God for yourself and the Holy Spirit will come to you and guide to the right path. On to step 2. 9
Step# 2 Pray to God
“Pray without ceasing”(1 Thessalonians 5: 17) “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5: 16)
Step #2- Pray to God Prayer is very serious and holy. It is often a private moment between you and God but can also be shared with loved ones. This is the moment when you present your gratitude, supplications and sorrows to the heavenly throne. And if done in sincerity, the Holy Spirit will take your prayer and bring it up as a sweet savor unto the Lord, making intercessions on your behalf (Romans 8:26-27). It is by law that we communicate to the Lord through constant prayer, paying homage to his glory and greatness (Ephesians 6: 17-18, Romans 12: 12).
Step #2- Pray to God We cannot pray to God as we so choose because we are addressing an awesome being. The Lord has provided instruction on how we must pray daily (Matthew. 6: 7-13). The Lordâ€™s Prayer acknowledges the holiness of God as well as make mention of our vital needs including protection, forgiveness, mercy and livelihood. Following the Lordâ€™s Prayer, we should present our own individual prayers both in the daytime and evening.
Step #2- Pray to God If we remain in constant prayer we will become active in our faith â€“ creating an open line of communication between us and the Father. We know the power of prayer is truly undeniable, with this power the afflicted can be healed; worldly temptations can be fought against; forgiveness can be rewarded and blessings can be bestowed. And this power is made evident in his children, for we obtain comfort and peace in the knowledge that God will hear us (James 5: 15-16). The Lord is moved by our pleas and will help us according to his will (Psalms 102: 17 & Proverbs 15: 8).
Step #2- Pray to God You can always come to Him whether it is concerning spiritual matters or common matters, such as, your job, school, family and overall guidance in life (Philippians 4: 6 & Matthew 21: 22). We do not pray for extravagant desires but are moved and compelled by the spirit to pray for what is necessary.
Step #2- Pray to God We continue to seek the Lord through prayer, which will save us from death. Christ, himself, prayed to his Father and now commands us to pray so that Satan might flee from our minds. Throughout the entire bible, we are warned to remain in constant prayer and fasting. Praying is one of the many great weapons we utilize to fight against the devilâ€™s fiery darts.
Step #2- Pray to God When you begin to pray, the Holy Spirit will enter into your mind, providing you with the strength to fight against this carnal flesh (Luke 22: 40 & 45-46). Prayer will cause you to be mindful and active in the spirit â€“ leading you closer and closer to victory. Going without prayer, is like walking through this world without your armor and weaponry- leaving you vulnerable to Satanâ€™s forces. We must never let go of prayer. It is a healing balm that helps us overcome, growing stronger and stronger day by day. 16
Step# 3 Fasting
â€œTherefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me
with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:â€?(Joel 2: 12)
Step #3- Fasting Fasting is the act of depriving yourself from food and water for a set period of time in order for you to meditate on the Lord. Though fasting is uncomfortable and sometimes unpleasant, God has instructed us to fast in the bible. We afflict our souls today but we will rejoice in due time. Believe it or not, fasting helps you grow spiritually. It is during a physical fast that you are better able to concentrate on your spiritual condition and what steps you need to take to become stronger in your faith. 18
Step #3- Fasting Throughout the bible, Godâ€™s children fasted, whether it was on an individual basis or with an entire group (Daniel 9:3). At times, it was necessary to call for a special fast because of the situation that Israel was going through (Ezra 8: 21-23). Our forefathers serve as an example to us; however, there is no better example that we have than in Christ. Our Savior, who is God, fasted and afflicted himself for 40 days and 40 nights (Matthew 4: 2). Let us be like Christ, who is perfect above all men, and fast according to his will. 19
Step #3- Fasting Fasting, if done correctly, will force you to eliminate all distractions and center your entire mind on God. What is so magnificent is that Godâ€™s presence surrounds you. You can more clearly read your bible or you may even feel compelled to write a class or song. The most opportune time to fast is when you are at home in private. Let us be edified and see how Christ has instructed us to fast (Matthew 6: 16-18).
Step #3- Fasting You decide how many hours you would like to fast. I personally choose not to watch TV or listen to the radio during my fast; this will distract me and place common and even unclean thoughts into my head. I open up my fast as I would open up my day by having a little worship session, which would consist of a song, prayer and scripture reading. Throughout the duration of my fast, I will work on a song or class and close my eyes and meditate. Try doing yoga or maybe go for a light walk, which can help bring you into deeper thought on the Lord. It is o.k. to take a shower and put on clean clothes, just as Christ instructed us to do.
Step #3- Fasting What is important is that you continue to fast. Everyoneâ€™s schedule and life is different so you have to find a fasting schedule that works best for you. What is important is that you do it and do it regularly. Find a day and set a schedule, whether it is monthly, bi-monthly or weekly. We fast because we must do so if we are to gain eternal life. Unlike the disciples, Christ is not on this earth walking with us (Mark 2: 18-20), so we fast that we might be prepared for his coming, as the disciples did fast when Christ left this earth. As we continue on this earth, we are still in a state of war. This is a battle against sin and death. Fasting enables us to fight and fight hard against Satan that we might win and be free (I Corinthians. 7: 5). No matter how busy you are you must do it. This is Godâ€™s will and we must align ourselves with his law, so that it becomes a part of us.
Step# 4 Singing Praises
â€œO come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.â€? (Psalms 95: 1-2)
Step #4- Singing God is omnipotent and great. His power is poured out on this entire earth. He is worthy of acknowledgement and praise. We must glorify the Lord in all ways (Psalms. 96: 1-4, 95: 1-6, 100: 1-2). Since the beginning of time, mankind, this entire earth and the heavens have praised God. We continue to do so through music, poetry, dance and artistic expression. Praising God evokes such great emotion within us as we commune with the entire throne of God. It is His will that we praise his name and lift him up. 24
Step #4- Singing No one can deny why worshipping the Lord is such a need. Particularly through song, one is healed spiritually, your soul is comforted, youâ€™re inspired to be stronger, it teaches you about the Lord and it can prophecy about his coming. We are able to tune Satan out when we begin to praise the Lord that is why we must do it every day. 25
Step #4- Singing Spiritual songs should not merely be about an exciting beat but provide a message reflecting Godâ€™s truth. The popular trend for gospel music is to now imitate the sounds of Rhythm and Blues, Jazz, rap or Pop music for the purpose of increasing their popularity and appeal. Â This is money driven. It has nothing to do with God. If you can talk you can sing. The Holy Ghost will take the song that you sing and perfect it making it a sweet savor acceptable to God.
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This presentation was developed and narrated by Elisabeth C. Pointer