As I bring this series to a close I wanted to share what I believe to be the best advice I can give a younger woman, have a RELATIONSHIP with God. I mean a real relationship, like you would with a best friend or better yet, with your husband. A relationship where you talk and share all of your feelings. A relationship where you so desire to please Him that you would do anything for Him. A relationship where you would “lay down your life for a friend”. (John 15:13)
God created us to have a relationship with Him. He has a desire for us to walk with Him. We can look to the Old Testament and see the relationship He desired with Adam and Eve. We watch how He talked with the patriarchs, working to prepare a people that He would have a special relationship with. We see the children of Israel, how God becomes frustrated with His people because they don’t desire the same relationship that He desires to have with them. He even compares them to an adulterous bride. (Ezekiel 6:9)
We want a relationship with our husband that goes both ways. We love him and do for him because we love him. We expect the same from him. We want to talk with him each day about the happenings of the day, about the things in life that are important to us. We want someone to share our joys and our burdens. We want someone to spend the rest of our lives with in a relationship that is growing and fulfilling, where each day is better than the last. That is the relationship that God wants with us.
As we grow as Christians, our relationship with the Father should be growing too. Our hearts should continue to soften as we learn more from His word and work to apply it to our lives. Make sure that you are growing spiritually! This will not happen just by sitting in Bible classes and in worship service. Oh those times can be very spiritually uplifting but they are not the times that make us grow. We must be in God’s word so that He can feed us and cause the growth. But He also causes the growth when He uses us to bring glory to Him. We must be doers! (James 1:22) I can’t work my way into heaven, but I sure can work my way into hell by doing nothing. We must be careful about using God’s grace as a safety net to use when we don’t want to make the complete transformation in our lives. Do we continue in sin so that grace may abound? May it never be. (Romans 6:1) We need to realize that God’s grace is the best gift of all and covers our mistakes but will it cover an unwilling heart? Those are the hearts that God calls “adulterous.” Those are the hearts unwilling to commit to a faithful relationship with the Father.
I know that my advice on raising faithful children can sound “legalistic” to some ears. I sound like a “law keeper.” But part of a committed relationship is abiding by some set commitments. We see this in marriage. We don’t want our husband paying more attention to other women than he does to us. We don’t want him spending more time with other women than he does with us. He made a commitment; we expect him to be faithful to that commitment. We see marriages fall apart because a spouse was unfaithful and the other person is crushed. This is how God feels! We are adulterous when we don’t have a proper relationship with Him. If we love Him, we will keep His commandments (John 14:15). But the fact that we love Him keeps those commandments from being burdensome (1 John 5:3).
We must learn to “lay down our life” for the Father. That means we remember that this life is not our own to live, but we live it to glorify the Father. In “laying down my life” I am willing to put aside my own expectations or worldly expectations and strive to please the One who laid down His actual life for me. Is it always easy? Nope. Look at Peter. He walked with Jesus and had enough faith to walk on the water but when it came down to laying down his life… well, sometimes we make bad choices (John 13:36-38). But don’t quit striving! And don’t use God’s grace as an “out” for blatant sin or choices that don’t glorify the Father.
I challenge you for the new year to get to know the Father. Read the gospels over and over and get to know Jesus. Let the Father talk to you each day. Let Him fill you up! If you’re not sure where to begin, study 1 John. Then you can “know” how to abide. Talk with Him each day, pouring out your heart to Him. Have a true relationship with God! If I can be of any help just send me a note and I will share my knowledge and experiences “From the Heart of an Older Woman.”