Beyond Acquaintance

God has invited us into a deep, meaningful relationship with Him—and it's more than scheduled rituals.

Many Christians think of communion as simply the ritual of sharing bread and wine (or grape juice) in remembrance of Jesus’ death on the cross. Yet it means far more than this single ordinance.

Charles Henry Mackintosh, the 19th-century Irish theologian, wrote, “Communion with God is the grand secret of the believer’s strength, and it is, therefore, of all importance that he should clearly and distinctly understand what it means, and in what it consists; and, moreover, that he should carefully guard against every thing like a counterfeit of it.”

READ 1 Corinthians 1:9,  1 John 1:1-4. 

Fellowship—or communion—with God is possible because He invites us into such a relationship. Scripture reveals that ever since the creation of Adam and for the measureless extent of eternity, God desires and takes great pleasure in having fellowship with His beloved children.

But life in the 21st century is busy. Some people barely manage to make any deep connections with loved ones (at times subsisting on social media interactions). How, then, can we fellowship with a God who can’t be experienced through our physical senses? Here are several suggestions:

• Probably the most obvious way to connect with God is prayer. Hundreds of scriptures contain the word “pray” or a variation. Verses like Matthew 26:41, 2 Chronicles 7:14, and James 5:16 show prayer a powerful tool that lets us approach God in repentance, adoration, petition, and thanksgiving. A consistent, fervent prayer life also guards us from temptation and confusion.

• Fasting, accompanied by prayer, can effectively focus our hearts and minds on the Lord and on specific concerns that need immediate attention (Matt. 6:16-18).

• Reading the Bible is a way to listen for what God wants to tell us. Healthy relationships involve give-and-take; communication must be more than a list of requests for the other party to fulfill. By searching Scripture as we talk to God, we invite Him to speak into our circumstances. A glimpse into someone’s heart and mind is a privilege in any relationship—but of immeasurable benefit when the other person is God. Knowing what’s important to Him helps us grow as Christians, learn obedience, avoid pitfalls, and become equipped witnesses (Ps. 119:105, John 14:23, 2 Tim. 3:16).

• Being still in God’s presence, especially when we feel anxious, may seem difficult because sitting quietly without doing anything is counterintuitive and countercultural. But in our silence, we can often hear God speaking (Ps. 46:10). And remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf and helps us in our time of weakness (Rom. 8:26).

• Meditation is different from being still before the Lord, which has to do with hearing Him speak to us. Meditation is taking time to reflect on Scripture and letting it sink in, or contemplating the awesomeness of God and His works (Josh. 1:8, Ps. 119:27, 97, 148, Ps. 143:5).

• Corporate worship is a way for Christians to fellowship with God while simultaneously deriving the benefit of mutual encouragement (Heb. 10:24-25). In some churches, the term seems to have devolved to mean little more than the song portion of the service, but true worship has to do with heart attitude and a desire to connect with the Lord.

• Obedience and submission to God are not only a means to a deeper relationship with God; they are also a result of it (John 14:23; James 2:14, 26). Our works don’t save us, but they do bear witness to our faith in Christ (Matt. 5:16).

REFLECT

• What light do the Scriptures above shed on your own concept of the word communion? Are there areas in your relationship with God that need more attention than you’ve been giving them?

• It’s easy for us to get caught up in the whirlwind of earthly activities and responsibilities and relegate quiet time with God to any leftover minutes we have at the end of the day or week. It can be especially tempting to justify this if what’s eating up our time and attention is ministry-related. The Bible, however, warns against letting fleshly concerns govern our minds (Rom. 8:7). Let Proverbs 3:9-10 and Matthew 6:33 be additional reminders that God blesses us when we put Him first in our lives.

RESPOND

• What are some practical ways you can immediately apply what you learned through this Bible study and pursue deeper communion with the Lord? If the thought of carving out extra time for Him seems impossible or arduous, ask God to increase your hunger for Him and His Word.

• Take a mental inventory (or a written one) of the priorities that battle for your attention. Resolve to eliminate any that hinder rather than enhance your communion with God.

REVISIT

• If you want a deeper experience of communing with the Lord, try spending some time with Psalm 119. At 176 verses, this psalm can take a while to read, but it also lends itself to helping us go deeper with God. The chapter is divided into 22 sections. Over the next 11 days, read two sections each day. Read slowly, meditating on the words and making them your own prayer to God. Note any verses you want to memorize or reflect on later.

• Brainstorm additional ways to have communion with God (other than those listed above), and be intentional about implementing one or more. If it would help, share your goals with a friend for accountability and support.

Related Topics:  Intimacy with God

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What happens to my notes

9 God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

1 What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life--

2 and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us--

3 what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.

4 These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.

41 Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

14 and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

16 Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.

17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face

18 so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.

23 Jesus answered and said to him, If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.

16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

10 Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;

8 This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.

27 Make me understand the way of Your precepts, So I will meditate on Your wonders.

97 O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.

148 My eyes anticipate the night watches, That I may meditate on Your word.

5 I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your doings; I muse on the work of Your hands.

24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,

25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

23 Jesus answered and said to him, If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.

14 What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?

26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so,

9 Honor the LORD from your wealth And from the first of all your produce;

10 So your barns will be filled with plenty And your vats will overflow with new wine.

33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

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