This is especially for:
- Christians who have struggled with a weak faith life recently
- Atheists who are interested in learning about the nature of God
- Christians who are working on impoving their relationships with God
There’s a moment of realization for many Christians, when their focus has been more on the pleasures of life than on God.
As a Christian, I’ve found myself in a place like this, followed by pounding guilt and thoughts of doubting God’s love. I have not completely relinquished my faith, but my lifestyle strayed, and had not been representative of Christ’s. This realization for me triggered a journey during which I grasped to find acceptance by God, and struggled to find confidence in a relationship with my Father.
Right near the beginning of this journey, I ran into scripture that seemed to condemn me as I stood, a sinner who had put God too low on my priority list. At times, I considered stepping back from my faith, as if my faith had become pointless.
However, this isn’t a post about stepping back from faith, or waiting for a miracle from heaven to bring us into a deeper relationship with God.
For me, a lot of time in God’s word, fellowship with other Christians, and possibly some miraculous events, have all played roles in bringing me to a more confident place in my faith life. My faith is obviously not perfect, but I do think it’s been refined through challenges in the past few years.
The road back to a confident relationship with God is bound to be challenging, but discipline is something that God does for His own children, and it’s worth the hard work to get to better place in your faith life, and to obtain a deeper understanding of the Bible.
In this post, I want to share with you a few steps to help you get back on track.
1. Prepare yourself for a relationship with God.
When working to come back from a valley in your life, I believe the first step boils down to preparing yourself to make God your number one relationship. When you admit that you want God to play a larger role in your life, you are opening yourself up to a renewed life.
Making God your number one priority is not easy at first, and temptations are always present, but when you truly seek to please God above anybody else, your life is going to be heading in the right direction.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33 ESV)
2. Admit your sin
Getting back into a good relationship with God takes admitting our sin. Whether your mistakes seem minor or unspeakable, …we all have sinned, and fall short. As we know, “23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23 ESV), and realizing that we are not perfect, and will not be on our own, is key to finding a path back to peace.
If you admit your sin, and admit that you were wrong, you set yourself up for God’s forgiveness, and a more peaceful future for yourself.
We all have had our own reasons to sin, but when we realize our sin for what it is, I think God is eager to change our hearts and spur us to move away from our sin.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 ESV)
3. Accept forgiveness
An important part of this process is internalizing God’s grace as a gift, not a product of our own works.
This one might seem like the easiest on the list, but accepting forgiveness is not something that everybody finds simple.
This step is critically important – we have to place our faith in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and not on our own works. We aren’t able to make it up for our sins on our own, and it’s not worth trying.
But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.” 25 And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God. (Luke 5:24-25 ESV)
4. Commit to a renewed way of living
Without repentance, our relationship with God is almost bound to stay plauteued. Our addictions, vices, lusts, and whatever else is holding our flesh hostage – these are things that we should pray about removing from our lives. This isn’t always fun, but the life that God wants us to live is satisfying and full.
What are some things that are causing a barrier between you and God? I’m sure if you do some reflection, you will be able to pinpoint things in your life that are causes for guilt.
5. Take steps to mature our relationship with God.
We have to make time for God. I think a good place to start is attending a local church. Church is very often a fundamental part of a believer’s faith life, and it opens up our lives to other beneficial steps that have the ability to further our relationship with God, such as bible studies and volunteer opportunities.
Next steps should include joining a Bible study (with friends, church members, or even strangers), studying the Bible, and frequent prayer.
Finding a good pace and routine to read scripture isn’t always easy – I like devotionals through the Youversion Bible App. I recommend starting on on a topic that has been on your mind – there are a ton of devotionals to be found on the app.
12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 ESV)
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:6 ESV)
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 good success. (Joshua 1:8 ESV)
9 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. (Luke 11:9-10 ESV)
6. Have confidence in you relationship with God
God does not want us to feel like we are too distant to communicate with Him. There may be times in our life where it seems like God is silent, or even just not around. However, when we seek His will in our lives, I believe He is ready to lead you in divine ways.
In the Old Testament, purification was a difficult thing, touching the wrong things could lead to becoming unclean and unable to speak with God in the tabernacle. However, when Christ died for our sins, he acted as a sacrifice for all future sins. We are able to talk to God like a friend.
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16 ESV)
14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. (John 15:14-15 ESV)
7. Bear fruit
Part of the walk of Christianity is the act of bearing fruit. We are called to act out of love for our brothers and sisters, and to bring people to the Christian faith. We don’t have to wait to be perfect, or feel perfect, to become productive Christians, and our testimonies can help other Christians with the issues they’re struggling with.
I encourage you to take your faith to the next level, and seek out opportunities to let your light be seen.
18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:18 ESV)
16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 26:16-20 ESV)
This process isn’t always easy, but I believe that if we are willing to have faith and commit ourselves fully to God, we can quickly come back to a fruitful relationship with God.
If you need prayer, feel free to shoot me a message and I can pray for/with you.
Here are some verses that can serve as beacons of hope for you during this journey.
7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? (Hebrews 12:7-9 ESV)
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. (Psalms 103:11-13 ESV)
All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. (John 6:37 ESV)
38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39 ESV)
6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:6-9 ESV)
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. (Psalms 103:8 ESV)
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.
26 It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord. (Lamentations 3:22-26 ESV)
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:1-5 ESV)
9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed[a] thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 13:9-14 ESV)
13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13 ESV)
18 The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
he also hears their cry and saves them. (Psalms145:18-19 ESV)