How can I get closer with God? I’m really struggling with this. It feels like the only reason I follow him is to get everlasting life. Is this selfish or human nature?
There is so much more to knowing God then the promise of eternal life. Think of that as a fringe benefit or icing on top of the cake. We don’t become saved and serve God because he gives us things like eternal life.
It’s all about the relationship we have with God. But then, that’s the major part of your question. How do we feel closer to God in our relationship with him? I think one of the best ways is to read the Bible.
Some might say that praying helps us get closer to God. This is true as long as we are listening for his voice. It takes a lot of time and effort. It takes a commitment from us to do whatever it takes to listen to God. I set aside times of silence and solitude.
Reading the Bible shows us how God has been moving in other people’s lives. It shows us some of the ways that he speaks to others. Aside from that, the more we know God, his Person, attributes, and works, the more familiar we become with him.
Another way to draw close to God is through fasting. We don’t hear much of it anymore in our churches, but it’s one of the best ways to grow close to God. When we ignore our body’s impulses through food and drink, take that time and the effort of making food for ourselves and devote it to listening for God’s voice, it brings us to a new level in our walk with him.
Fasting brings God into focus. It also challenges us to ignore the world, our desires, and press in to hear from him. People hear God’s voice in different ways. But I assure you, he is speaking. The question is if we can clear our schedules, stop the busyness, and press in.
There are times in the Old Testament when God was hiding his face from his people. I believe the reason he did this was to test them and see if they were really interested in following hard after him or if they just expected him to do whatever they wanted.
There’s a part of Scripture where God tells us, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). It’s right after the promise that God has plans for his people to prosper them and do great things in their lives. But right after he gives this benefit, blessing, and promise, he reminds them that they must seek him.
The more we think on God and his good things (Philippians 4:8) the more he responds to us. When we take the time to prioritize our relationship with him above all other things in our lives, God responds. He wants to hear from us.
None of these things are recommended by our society. They require our time and effort. They require that we put God above the other things in our lives. I don’t know where you are at in your relationship with God.
But I can tell you that he responds when we spend more time with him. Even if you don’t feel his presence or hear his voice right away, the more time and effort you put into your relationship with God, the more you will get out of it. I have never been disappointed when I read more Scripture, prayed five more minutes, or fasted one more day. God always shows up.