What do we do to stay connected to God?
First of all, we must spend time with him, getting to know him, hearing from him. Too often Christians have said that to build a relationship with God, “Go to church on Sunday,” as if what happens in that building is what God really wants. Not so. We don’t need a building to worship God or to be a church family. I think that is especially obvious when we hold worship in the park twice each year. Sure, a building makes gathering for worship convenient, and they can be used for many good things in line with the mission of God’s Kingdom, so we do well to care for church buildings. But let us not mistake entering a building with staying connected to God. We need to have a connected, vibrant relationship with God that goes beyond the four walls of the church building. That means opening up time in our lives to be with him throughout the other hours and days of our week, and that will likely mean sacrificing other activities to make time for God.
It could be while you’re driving. It could be while you’re washing dishes. It could be a specific quiet time. Maybe you get a lunch break, and you can find a quiet spot. Staying connected with God can occur in any time where it is just you and him. In those dedicated times alone with God, include study of God’s word, reading devotional books, memorizing God’s word, praying, listening in the quietness, and just being in his presence. In those moments we are saying God, “I remain in you, I stay with you, I need you. Be like the vine and the branches, empower me by your Spirit, help me to orient my whole life around you. I want to bear much fruit for you.”
Then consider developing what Brother Lawrence called an unceasing conversation with God, whereever you are, all throughout the day, even when you are busy. I know it can be hard to focus on two things. For example, am I have a conversation with God as I type this post? It can be hard. But Brother Lawrence was right when he said that if we practice a continual conversation with God, we can learn to keep it going. He called it the Practice of the Presence of God. You can read or listen to his small, fascinating book for free here.
So in conclusion, I have to ask, are we giving the idea of being disciples of Jesus lip-service? Are we saying, “I believe,” but then not actually living our lives in such a way that shows we really want to bear much fruit? Are we living our lives pretty much disconnected from God?
As we saw in our previous posts in this five part series on Ezekiel 15 & 16, let us not wander from God, but stay with him. Sit with him. Remain in his presence. Get to know him. Serve him. Sacrifice for him, the one who atoned for our sins. No matter if you are at work, at home, driving, or wherever you are, remain in him. To remain in him means we are acknowledging his presence, our need for him, the Holy Spirit within us. To remain in him means we remember who we are in him. We remember that we are children of a living, active, loving God and that knowledge will move us to love others as he loves us. The more we are connected with him, the more of God will be seen in our actions, our attitudes, our choices, our thought patterns.
Finally, invite others into the process. He made us for relationship and for community. Our faith is not solitary or individualistic. We need to be together as we remain in God. Encouraging one another in our connection to our main source of life as it was intended to be, challenging one another to deeper connection and communion with God.