When I was younger, I always envied those that seemed like they were close to God. There were moments when my pastor would come out of his prayer room and share what the Lord told him that morning. I wanted that sort of intimacy with Jesus for myself.
Many Christians are discouraged when developing a deeper relationship with the Spirit of God because He can be such a mystery. It can feel like you’re just trying to grasp the wind. In the beginning of your journey, He may feel unpredictable and, sometimes, maybe even unreliable.
Yet, everyone who is a Christian has the blood right to be able to walk in close friendship with God. And as you do, you will inevitably realize that He is realer than the wind and more reliable than any human on earth.
However, there are some things to avoid as you begin to press in for a deeper relationship with Jesus. The following are the top mistakes people tend to make in allowing their flesh get in the way of what could be a deep and genuine friendship with God.
1. Mistaking the waiting as rejection
People simply do not know how to wait these days. We pay good money to avoid slow Wifi, efficient customer service, shorter lines, so on and so forth. Something about waiting makes people of this day feel disrespected or rejected.
But, Psalm 27:13-14 says, “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
When you ask God for more and He doesn’t respond in that instant, it does not mean that He is aloof to the cry of your heart.
Oftentimes, we prematurely hang up on God because we feel like He’s putting us on call waiting. We give up praying. We stop pressing in. We begin to be offended and bitter.
Yet, God has a timing for everything, and there is a reason for that timing. Every great man and woman in the Bible went through periods of waiting. In that waiting, things were being aligned, prepared, and set in place for the fulfillment of prayer to thrive.
Oftentimes, you will find that a longer period of waiting indicates that His answer is far greater than your request.
2. Misjudging His character
Many people judge God without realizing it.
How you pursue a relationship with God is largely determined by what your opinion of God is.
If you believe He is cruel, then every moment of pain can be blamed on Him. If you believe He is cold and distant, there would be no motivation for prayer. If you believe He is merely an upright, stringent judge, then all bad occurrences would be taken as punishment.
You can’t become close with someone you judge. And, even if you were faithful to your church, you may not be drawing in deeper intimacy with Him because deep down you may not actually believe He is that good.
Pain is the great revealer of the soul, and it exposes what you truly believe about God. This is what happened to Job. After realizing that he, too, misjudged the character of God, he said in Job 42:3b-6, “Surely, I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore, I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”
3. Refusing to be grateful
Refusing to be grateful is the same as refusing to look at God; He is in every good thing in your life.
Psalm 73:21-22 says, “21 When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you.”
Intimacy in any relationship is never cultivated through complaint. You cannot criticize anyone into a deep friendship with you. It is birthed from the willingness to recognize the goodness in the other, in big and small ways.
If you want to acknowledge Him and see His fingerprints in your life, then turn on your gratitude.
Psalm 100:4 says, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.”
4. A narrow agenda
Oftentimes, we only want to see Him the way we want to see Him, which is basically trying to force God into a box. There can be no friendship if you are not willing to embrace someone that does not meet your limited expectations.
When Jesus physically roamed the earth, not too many were able to recognize that He was the Messiah. This was because they had expectations of what the Messiah was supposed to look like, a manmade image that He was supposed to reflect.
John 6:30-31 says, “So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
When the people demanded a miraculous sign, they were demanding Jesus to prove Himself to be the God of their own expectations.
If you want to befriend God, you need to let Him be God.
The mystery isn’t discouraging if you realize that it is beautiful.
5. Having no expectations at all
This is probably the most common fallback for Christians who feel stuck in their walk with the Spirit. It’s easier to go about with a “If He wills it, it will happen” mentality and forfeit the conviction to truly press in to know Him deeply.
Brothers and Sisters, it is always God’s will to be in close friendship with His children.
Romans 5:5 says, “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Ceasing to expect from God does not save you from disappointment. Rather, it keeps you from discovery.
To keep expecting is to keep hoping. And, as Scripture says, hope in the Lord will never fail you.