What does the Bible say about relationship with God?
When we speak of a relationship with God, what does that mean? Why is it important? What can disrupt our relationship with God? How can we grow closer in our relationship with God? Let’s discuss these questions as we unpack what it means to have a relationship with God.
Christian quotes about relationship with God
“Effective prayer is the fruit of a relationship with God, not a technique for acquiring blessings.” D. A. Carson
“A relationship with God simply cannot grow when money, sins, activities, favorite sports teams, addictions, or commitments are piled up on top of it.” Francis Chan
“To strengthen our relationship with God, we need some meaningful time alone with Him.” Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Is Christianity a religion or a relationship?
It’s both! The Oxford definition for “religion” is: “the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.” – (How we know God is real)
Well, God is definitely superhuman! And, He is a personal God, implying relationship. A lot of people equate religion with meaningless ritual, but the Bible considers true religion a good thing:
“Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (James 1:27)
That brings us right back to relationship. When we have a relationship with God, we experience His mind-blowing love, and that love flows through us and out to others in distress, helping them in their need. If our hearts are cold to the needs of those who are suffering, we’re probably cold to God. And we’re probably cold to God because we’ve let ourselves be stained by the world’s values, sin, and corruption.
1. James 1:27 (NIV) “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
2. Hosea 6:6 “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.”
3. Mark 12:33 (ESV) “And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
4. Romans 5:10-11 “For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”
5. Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
6. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
God wants a relationship with us
God desires true intimacy with His children. He wants us to understand the infinite depths of His love. He wants us to cry out to Him, “Abba!” (Daddy!).
- “Because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying out, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Galatians 4:6)
- In Jesus, “we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.” (Ephesians 3:12)
- He wants us to “be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled to all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:18-19)
7. Revelation 3:20 (NASB) “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.”
8. Galatians 4:6 “Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”
9. Matthew 11:28-29 (NKJV) “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
10. 1 John 4:19 “We love him, because he first loved us.”
11. 1 Timothy 2:3-4 “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
12. Acts 17:27 “God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.”
13. Ephesians 3:18-19 “may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
14. Exodus 33:9-11 “As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses. 10 Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to their tent. 11 The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.”
15. James 4:8 “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
What does it mean to have a relationship with God?
Just like healthy relationships with our spouses, friends, and family, a relationship with God is characterized by frequent communication and experiencing His faithful and loving presence.
How do we communicate with God? Through prayer and through His Word, the Bible.
Prayer involves several aspects of communication. When we sing hymns and worship songs, it’s a type of prayer because we are singing to Him! Prayer involves repentance and confession of sin, which can disrupt our relationship. Through prayer, we bring our own needs, concerns, and anxieties – and those of others – before God, asking for His guidance and intervention.
- “Let’s approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace for help at the time of our need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
- “Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares about you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
- “With every prayer and request, pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be alert with all perseverance and every request for all the saints.” (Ephesians 6:18)
The Bible is God’s communication to us, filled with true stories of His intervention in the lives of people and His answers to prayer throughout history. In His Word, we learn His will and His guidelines for our lives. We learn about His character and the sort of character He wants us to have. In the Bible, God tells us how He wants us to live, and what our priorities should be. We learn about His boundless love and mercy. The Bible is a treasure trove of all the things God wants us to know. As we read God’s Word, His indwelling Holy Spirit brings it alive to us, helps us understand and apply it, and uses it to convict us of sin.
One way we experience God’s faithful and loving presence is when we gather with other believers for church services, prayer, and Bible study. Jesus said, “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst “ (Matthew 18:20).
16. John 17:3 “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
17. Hebrews 4:16 (KJV) “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
18. Ephesians 1:4–5 (ESV) “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.”
19. 1 Peter 1:3 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
20. 1 John 3:1 “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”
Why is a relationship with God important?
God made us in His image (Genesis 1:26-27). He didn’t make any of the other animals in His image, but He created us to be like Him! Why? For relationship! Relationship with God is the most important relationships you will ever have.
Repeatedly, through the Bible, God calls Himself our Father. And He calls us His children.
- “For you did not receive a spirit of slavery that returns you to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Romans 8:15)
- “See how great a love the Father has given us, that we would be called children of God.” (1 John 3:1)
- “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12).
Relationship with God is important because it determines our eternal future. Our relationship with God begins when we repent and confess our sins and receive Christ as our Savior. If we do that, our eternal future is life with God. If not, we face eternity in hell.
Relationship with God is important because of its inherent joy!
Our relationship with God is important because He gives us His indwelling Holy Spirit to teach, comfort, empower, convict, and guide. God is always with us!
21. 1 Corinthians 2:12 “Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God.
22. Genesis 1:26-27 “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
23. 1 Peter 1:8 “Though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.” (Joy Bible Scriptures)
24. Romans 8:15 (NASB) “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons and daughters by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”
25. John 1:12 (NLT) “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.”
26. John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
27. Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
28. Jeremiah 31:3 “the Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”
The problem of sin
Sin destroyed God’s intimate relationship with Adam and Eve, and through them, the entire human race. When they disobeyed God, and ate the forbidden fruit, sin entered the world, along with judgment. To restore relationship, God, in His amazing love, sent the incomprehensible gift of His Son Jesus to die on the cross, taking our punishment.
- “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
- “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-19)
So, what happens if we sin after we believe in Jesus and enter into relationship with God? All Christians stumble and sin from time to time. But God extends grace, even when we rebel. Forgiveness is a reality for the believer, who is freed from condemnation.
- “I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you on account of His name.” (1 John 2:12)
- “Therefore there is now no condemnation at all for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)
When we do sin, we should be quick to confess our sin to God and repent (turn away from the sin).
- “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
- “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13)
As believers, we should hate sin and be vigilant to avoid situations and places where we might be tempted to sin. We should never let our guard down but pursue holiness. When a Christian sins, he or she does not lose their salvation, but it damages relationship with God.
Think about the relationship between husband and wife. If one spouse lashes out in anger or otherwise hurts the other, they are still married, but the relationship isn’t as happy as it could be. When the guilty spouse apologizes and asks forgiveness, and the other forgives, then they can enjoy a fulfilling relationship. We need to do the same when we sin, to enjoy all the blessings to experience in our relationship with God.
29. Romans 5:12 “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.”
30. Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gracious gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
31. Isaiah 59:2 (NKJV) “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.”
32. 1 John 2:12 “I am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.”
33. 1 John 2:1 “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate before the Father–Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.”
34. Romans 8:1 “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
35. 2 Corinthians 5:17-19 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”
36. Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
How to have a personal relationship with God?
We enter into a personal relationship with God when we believe that Jesus died for our sins and raised from the dead to bring us the hope of eternal salvation.
- “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” (Roman 10:9-10)
- “We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:20-21)
37. Acts 4:12 “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
38. Galatians 3:26 “For you are all sons and daughters of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”
39. Acts 16:31 “They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”
40. Romans 10:9 “that if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
41. Ephesians 2:8-9 “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— 9 not from works, so that no one can boast.”
How to strengthen your relationship with God?
It’s easy to stagnate in our relationship with God, but we should always be pressing deeper into knowing Him. Every day, we make choices that will draw us closer to God or cause us to drift away.
Let’s take challenging situations, for instance. If we respond to a crisis with anxiety, confusion, and just trying to figure things out on our own, we are cutting ourselves off from God’s blessings. Instead, we should take our problems straight to God, first thing, and ask Him for divine wisdom and protection. We place it in His hands, and we praise and thank Him for His provision, lovingkindness, and grace. We praise Him that by going through this crisis with Him, instead of on our own, we are going to mature and develop greater endurance.
What about when we’re tempted to sin? We can listen to Satan’s lies and give in, pushing ourselves away from God. Or we can ask for His strength to resist and take up our spiritual armor and fight temptation (Ephesians 6:10-18). When we do mess up, we can quickly repent, confess our sin, ask forgiveness of God and anyone we might have hurt, and be restored into sweet fellowship with the Lover of our souls.
How are we choosing to use our time? Are we starting the day off in God’s Word, in prayer, and praise? Are we meditating on His promises throughout the day, and listening to music that lifts God up? Are we carving time out of our evening for family altar, taking time to pray together, discuss God’s Word, and praise Him? It’s so easy to be consumed with what’s on TV or Facebook or other media. If we’re consumed with God, we will draw deeper into intimacy with Him.
42. Proverbs 3:5–6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.”
43. John 15:7 “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
44. Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
45. Ephesians 6:18 “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.”
46. Joshua 1:8 “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”
What is your relationship with God?
Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior? If so, wonderful! You have taken the first step in an exhilarating relationship with God.
If you are a believer, are you cultivating a healthy relationship with God? Are you desperate for Him? Do you look forward to your times of prayer and reading His Word? Do you love praising Him and being with His people? Are you hungry for the teaching of His Word? Are you actively pursuing a holy lifestyle? The more you do these things, the more you’ll want to do these things, and the healthier your relationship with Him will be.
Never settle for “just ok” in your walk with God. Tap into the riches of His grace, His unspeakable joy, the incredible greatness of His power for us who believe, His glorious, unlimited resources, and experience the love of Christ. Let Him complete you with all the fulness of life and power that comes from a deep relationship with Him.
47. 2 Corinthians 13:5 “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!”
48. James 1:22-24 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.”
Examples of relationships with God in the Bible
- Jesus: Even though Jesus is God, when He walked the earth as a man, He was intentional in making His relationship with God the Father His chief priority. Over and over, we read in the Gospels that He withdrew from the crowds and even His disciples and slipped away to a quiet place to pray. Sometimes it was late at night or early in the morning, when it was still dark, and sometimes it was all night (Luke 6:12, Matthew 14:23, Mark 1:35, Mark 6:46).
- Isaac: When Rebekah was traveling by camel to meet her new husband, she saw him out in the fields in the evening. What was he doing? He was meditating! The Bible tells us to meditate on God’s works (Psalm 143:5), on His law (Psalm 1:2), on His promises (Psalm 119:148), and on anything praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). Isaac loved God, and he was godly and peaceable with other people, even when other tribal groups claimed the wells he had dug (Genesis 26).
- Moses: When Moses encountered God in the burning bush, he felt unworthy to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt, but he obeyed God. Moses didn’t hesitate to go to God when problems arose – even protesting a bit. In the beginning, a frequent phrase started something like, “But Lord, how can . . . ?” But the longer he walked in relationship with God and obeyed Him, the more He saw God’s marvelous power at work. He eventually stopped questioning God, and faithfully carried out God’s directives. He spent much time interceding for the nation of Israel and worshiping God. After spending forty days on the mountain with God, his face became radiant. The same thing happened when he communed with God in the Tent of Meeting. Everyone was afraid to come near him with his glowing face, so he wore a veil. (Exodus 34)
49. Luke 6:12 “One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.”
50. Exodus 3:4-6 “When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” 5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 6 Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.”
Abundant life – life worth living – is only found in an intimate and personal relationship with God. Dive into His Word and learn who He is and what He wants you to do. Carve out those times for praise, prayer, and meditating on Him throughout your day. Spend time with others whose priority is an ever-growing relationship with God. Rejoice in Him and His love for you!