Herald Journal Columns
Dec. 9, 2002
Pastor's Column

How can I continue growing in my relationship with God

By Kevin Opatz
Good News Church, Howard Lake

Recently I was conversing with an acquaintance that I had formerly lost contact with.

He posed what I considered a most interesting question. It was "How do you move up to a new level in God?" I took this to mean, "How can I continue growing in God?" The portion of scripture that came to mind was the garden scene with Jesus found in Matt. 26:36-46.

In this Bible section, Jesus portrayed some important aspects to growing in God. This growth pattern should help direct us in accomplishing our life mission. Christ's was the cross.

We all have a "cross to bear," which equates to our destiny in God. Although we are given gifts and talents to equip us for our mission, there also are instruments that deepen and hone our God-given abilities.

The referred scripture passage points to relationships as an important element God uses to assist our maturity in home. Jesus had many acquaintances in scripture.

But Jesus had closer bonds, like His 12 disciples and the inner circle of apostles, Peter, James, and John. God has those He hand picks for close fellowship in the body of Christ. He also has very intimate friendships that will assist us in our journey with Christ.

Although these people can and will let us down, they are still planted in our lives for the purposes of God. Allow God to reveal these special individuals to you, and the depth of their involvement in your life.

Secondly, Jesus utilized godly disciplines to strengthen and guide our daily activity. Some of His prayers were linked directly with friendships. Other prayers were limited to certain close relationships.

Still, other times it was simply Jesus praying with God the Father. To know the path we are to travel, we must experience God's voice in our life. God uses spiritual disciplines like prayer, fasting, Bible study, meditation, etc. to develop our spirit man.

By our spirits, we can readily hear and obey God. It is only then we can truly accomplish His will.

Lastly, Jesus anguished in the garden dying to His will so He might be alive to the Father's will. Adam and Eve's garden led to a separation of godly fellowship. But, Jesus' garden provides access to the very throne of God.

Like Jesus uttered two thousand years ago, "Father, not my will but Yours be done."

Through these godly agencies of proper relationships, godly disciplines and death to selfish ambition, we can grow into a fullness of God's mission for our life.

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