Christian Relationships – God and His People
God created us for relationship with Him. Adam and Eve enjoyed that close relationship with God until sin entered the world. The sin that entered the world through our first parents destroyed our intimacy with God and others (Genesis 3:1-8). However, God didn’t give up; He took the initiative to make our relationship right with Him while we were weak, sinners, and enemies (Romans 5:6-10). He is concerned about our relationship with Him more than anything else. He doesn’t care how far we have gone, what a mess we have made, how bad we look, how good we are, or what we have accomplished. Rather, God cares about the relationship that He prepared for us through Jesus. He demonstrated His own love for us by sending His only begotten Son to die for us (John 3:16-18).
Jesus died for us to show God’s greatest love for us and to restore our relationship with Him (John 15:13). In Jesus, God has shown us how much He loves us, even while we are still sinners. In Christ, we are assured of His constant love that will never fail—this is the solid foundation for our relationship with God. He already has finished His part to make our relationship right; now it our responsibility to accept what He has already done to restore our relationship with Him. He sent His only Son Jesus to take away our sin (John 1:29), and He offers us the promise, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:21). Therefore, to make our relationship right with God, we need to live out the following steps.
4 Steps to Make our Relationship right with God
1. Admit that we are sinners
The first step to restoring our relationship with God is to admit that the life we are living and the direction we are going is wrong. We must accept responsibility because of our bad choices as did the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-17); we need to acknowledge our sin that separates us from God (Romans 3:23) and its penalty of death (Romans 6:23). But for many of us, it is very difficult to come to this conclusion of admitting our sins, and we tend to hide or blame others for our sin as did Adam and Eve. While our lives are falling apart all around us and we are figuratively reduced to feeding pigs like the prodigal son, we still try to convince ourselves that life is good. It is my prayer that God brings us to our senses as He did the prodigal son. “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!” (Luke 15:17). Admitting our mistake is the first step to restoring our relationship with God—but it is not the end.
2. Return to God in repentance
The second step in making our relationship right with God is returning to God with a repentant, humble attitude rather than hiding and covering (Acts 3:19; Genesis 3:10-13; Luke 15:18-20; Isaiah 59:2). Returning to God through confession removes the sin that blocks our relationship with Him. When we confess our sins before God, He promises to forgive us (1 John 1:9), and forgiveness is what restores a relationship that has been broken. Some people admit their sinfulness but never do anything about it. Some people even say, “I need to get my life right with God,” but they never actually return to God. The prodigal son did not only plan to get right with his father, he actually took steps to do so; he made a decision and returned with a repentant, humble heart. Some people simply want God to bless them, but they are not willing to make their relationship right with Him by leaving where they are and returning to God.
The prodigal son did not minimize his behavior as if it were no big deal. He said, “I have sinned against heaven and against you.” He took full, personal responsibility for his bad choices and actions. He neither blamed anyone else nor did he ignore his own sinfulness. He humbly acknowledged, “I am not worthy to be called your son” (Luke 15:19). In other words, he was acknowledging that he did not deserve anything from his father. This is something we all need to recognize in returning to God to restore our relationship with Him—God owes us nothing and is not obligated to bless us in any way. We don’t come to God making excuses or demands but rather by acknowledging our personal wrongdoing and asking for His mercy. Our God is a loving Father who is waiting for us to be serious about restoring our relationship with Him.
3. Recognize that God will lovingly welcome us home
Most of the time, the people who have messed up are not willing to come back home to God because they are unsure they will be welcomed back. No matter how far we have gone, our loving Father welcomes us home. There are seven things that the father does in the story of the prodigal son—looking, running, kissing, giving clothing and ring and sandals, and throwing a feast (Luke 15:20-24). These acts convey the depth of his love and illustrate the heavenly Father’s love for anyone who totally messes up but is willing to return. God welcomes us home when we come back to Him with humble and repentant hearts.
The story of the prodigal son’s father gives us a clear picture of our heavenly Father who is always looking for and hoping that His wayward children will come back home. He is a compassionate and loving Father who runs toward us to give us a hug and kiss and welcome us home as soon as we make the decision to return to Him. He shows His love and acceptance to us by giving us the best robe (righteousness), ring (authority of the children of God), shoe (the Gospel of peace), and feast to celebrate the restoration of our relationship with Him.
4. Receive the free gift of God and live as His beloved children
Making our relationship right with God begins with our spiritual birth (John 3:3-8). As soon as we receive His free gift of becoming sons and daughters, we confess that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Lord (Romans 10:9-10). Our restored relationship with God is the beginning of our ongoing transformation into Christ-likeness (2 Corinthians 5:17-18; Galatians 4:6). We are no more slaves but are His children who serve in our Father’s business (Luke 15:28-32). Let’s live like beloved children and experience our authority as His children (Ephesians 5:1).
The relationship that God offers us is so intimate that He calls us His children (1 John 3:1; John 15:15) and promises to give us an eternal inheritance (Romans 8:15-17). He invites us before His throne as often as we want (Ephesians 2:18), and He loves us with a love that will never fail. He loves us and accepts the responsibility of providing our needs, protecting us, and helping us to grow toward maturity. Jesus is not ashamed to call us brothers (Hebrews 2:11). We praise God for this kind of relationship He has initiated for every person created in His own image and likeness. Our relationship with God is built upon a life of obedience (Ephesians 5:1). James tells us that as we submit ourselves to God through obedience, resist the devil, and draw near to God, He will draw near to us (James 4:7-8).
Jesus set an example for our relationship with God. We can look to Jesus to learn more about our relationship with God the Father (John 17). For some people, like me, “Father” brings only negative memories. But when God reveals Himself as a Father, He does not want to cause fear, but love. He wants to remind us of His protection, of His provision for all of our needs, and of His care (Luke 15:20-24). Human parents ought to have these qualities, but everyone falls short of the ideal while some are even evil. But God the Father is perfect—we are secure in His love (Matthew 5:48; Luke 6:36; John 6:32; 2 Corinthians 1:3; James 1:17). We should imagine the best father possible and be assured that God is 100 times better than even this ideal image.
Jesus was sure that the Father loved him (John 3:35; John 5:20). He was also sure that God, as a perfect Father, would provide for His needs. He trusted His Father to take care of him, even after death. He told His disciples not to worry about their lives, or their food and clothing (Matthew 6:28-34). Our God is the loving and caring Father who provides all of our needs even better than He does for the birds and the flowers. We need to know that our Father loves us, cares for us, and is always forgiving. It is our responsibility to become the channels of His love, care, and forgiveness.
Have you made your relationship right with God?
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