For a number of years, I yearned to be and feel closer to God. I struggled to spend a sufficient amount of time with Him in prayer or reading my Bible. Often I fell asleep during the endeavor. I even struggled to pray without ceasing like the Bible commands. I came reasonably close to doing it for one day (laugh out loud). I struggled to think and say the “right things.” I wanted to look, to my church friends and the unsaved world around me, like a strong Christian, who was close to God.
I went to church two or three times a week, sang and praised God loudly and “felt happy and closer to God” while doing so. I thought I was a spiritual leader at my church, as someone that could encourage and counsel others. I visited an elderly woman once a week and even cleaned the church. I received praise from my pastor and church friends for these things and I ate it all up.
Inside, I experienced emotional ups and downs that I thought reflected how close I was to God. I soothed myself by working hard in “Christian” endeavors and also by comparing myself arrogantly to those around me. None of this worked.
The Good News and the answer is: We cannot get “closer to God” since He already lives in us. This is only true if you have been born again. “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?…” (I Corinthian 6:19 ESV).
In John 17:23 Jesus said, “I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one…” No separation there! “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him” (Colossians 2:9-10 NKJV). No separation there!
We were not even separated from Him on the cross. In Galatians 2:20 (Amplified Bible), “I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
The Truth is not what we feel or even what we think about our “relationship/closeness” with God, it is what God says in the Bible. Since the Bible says we are one with Him, and He lives in us and through us, it is then actually Him, as us, doing our jobs, eating meals, talking to people and more. To believe or live any other way is not of faith and the Bible calls it sin/satan operating through our members.
— Adapted from The Intercessor magazine.