The Key to Developing a Deeper Relationship with God

As Christ followers, our top priority in life should always be to grow closer to God. But, how do we actually do that? In this post, I want to share with you ONE specific thing that you must have for developing a deeper relationship with God.

the key to developing a deeper relationship with God

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I’ve heard it said, that Christian spiritual growth is measured not so much in days or weeks, but in months, years, and even decades. And, this is so true!

Going deeper with God is like peeling back layers… God shapes us like a sculptor cuts away stone, getting rid of the excess (sins like pride or jealousy), and revealing the beauty of His love in us. Accepting the free gift of salvation (which Jesus paid for on the cross) is only the beginning… then, the real work begins!

When I became a born-again Christian 16 years ago, I had NO idea. For the first seven years or so, I languished in a lukewarm relationship with God. Finally, I did what I should’ve done all along…I began reading the Bible and spending time in prayer daily. And every year that goes by, my faith grows, I trust God more and more, and I enjoy having a closer relationship with God.

My friend, if you’re feeling lackluster in your relationship with God, you’re not alone! Every believer goes through different phases of spiritual growth, and not one of us is ever going to “arrive” at a finished point anytime in this life. We need to be constantly seeking God, and growing ever closer to Him as long as we’re here on earth.

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
Philippians 1:6 (NLT)

woman studying the Bible

What does the Bible say about having a personal relationship with God?

If your desire is developing a deeper relationship with God, there is ONE important thing you need. And that is, HUMILITY!

Granted, there are many other things I could talk about that are important for spiritual growth. Practically speaking, it’s imperative to study God’s Word and spend time with Him in prayer on a daily basis. But, since humility is mentioned so much in the Bible, and it’s the root of so many aspects of having a relationship with God, I chose to focus on it here.

You can see from the Scriptures below, how imperative humility is in your relationship with God…

Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NLT)

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God [set aside self-righteous pride], so that He may exalt you [to a place of honor in His service] at the appropriate time, casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully].
1 Peter 5:6-7 (AMP)

“For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Luke 14:11 (NIV)

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
Romans 12:3 (NIV)

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8 (NIV)

Micah 6:8 walk humbly with your God

Why Humility is Key to Developing a Deeper Relationship with God

But, still, you might ask “How can I have a closer relationship with God? And, why is humility so important for that?” Put simply, humility is imperative because God is God, and we are NOT. To be humble before the Lord, is to acknowledge that God is the one who created us and gave us everything we have! Job said it best:

Then Job replied to the LORD:
“I know that you can do anything,
and no one can stop you.
You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’
It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about,
things far too wonderful for me.
You said, ‘Listen and I will speak!
I have some questions for you,
and you must answer them.’
I had only heard about you before,
but now I have seen you with my own eyes.
I take back everything I said,
and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.”

Job 42:1-6 (NLT)

Job recognized that God is sovereign over all, and that his own understanding was limited. Even for those of us who’ve been Christ followers for years, there is still a tendency for us to think that we know better than God. Like Job did, we may question why we’re enduring this or that trial, or why this thing is happening. But, what do we really know? Diddly squat (that is, nothing!)

To start developing a deeper relationship with God, start by humbling yourself before Him. Humility is sort of like the foundation, upon which these other things can be built…

boy praying with Bible

1) Humility puts us in our place, as God’s children

God is our Heavenly Father, and we are His children! This is why Jesus stressed the importance of being humble like a child:

Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Matthew 18:2-4 (NLT)

THE TAKEAWAY: To enjoy a closer relationship with God, you need to revere Him! Worship Him as your Heavenly Father, and admit how limited your own understanding is. The Bible says to give Him your cares and concerns, and trust that He knows what He is doing. Because HE DOES!

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

prayer and repentance - going deeper with God

2) Humility leads to repentance and right living

When we recognize our humble position—that we as God’s children have fallen short of His glory—we realize our need to repent (to turn away from our sins). The further we move away from sin, and the more we live as God wants us to live, the healthier our relationship with Him will be!

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.
Romans 3:23-24 (NLT)

And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say,
“God opposes the proud
but gives grace to the humble.”
So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.

James 4:6-10 (NLT)

THE TAKEAWAY: If you’re interested in developing a deeper relationship with God, repenting of your sins is an absolute must. That’s not to say that it’s easy, or that it happens overnight, but turning away from sins is something each of us should work towards every day. Ask God’s Holy Spirit to show you any unrepentant sin in your life, and then make an effort to turn away from that sin.

worship and depend on God

3) Humility causes us to depend on God, not on the world

Have you ever found yourself depending too much on your own abilities, on others, or on the world in general? Then you might’ve noticed, as I have, how UNdependable those things can actually be. Just when we think that our place in life is secure, things can easily go haywire (losing a job, falling ill, etc. etc.) Our plans just don’t turn out like we planned, do they?

But when we’re humble, we realize the frailty of this world, and how much we truly need God! He is the only one we can truly depend on, who knows everything there is to know (about us and our situation), and has our best interests at heart.

Going back to the humble-like-a-child analogy… Isn’t it so much better when a child calmly trusts his or her parent, rather than throwing tantrums and demanding his or her own way? It just makes for a much better family dynamic, when children trust that their parents know best, and they know their parents will provide for them. (Of course, that’s not usually how it goes in real life, but that’s the ideal scenario).

This is the [remarkable degree of] confidence which we [as believers are entitled to] have before Him: that [a]if we ask anything according to His will, [that is, consistent with His plan and purpose] He hears us. And if we know [for a fact, as indeed we do] that He hears and listens to us in whatever we ask, we [also] know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted to us] the requests which we have asked from Him.
1 John 5:14-15 (AMP)

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
Romans 8:32 (NIV)

THE TAKEAWAY: If you want to know how to grow deeper in your relationship with God, maintaining a humble dependence on Him is key. He is your Heavenly Father, and He delights in helping you!

So, let’s recap, shall we?

To develop a closer relationship with God, it’s so important to HUMBLE YOURSELF before Him. With humility, comes all the other key elements of spiritual growth, like approaching God with child-like reverence and trust, repenting of your sins, and depending on Him for everything.

I’ve seen this firsthand, as I continue to work towards developing a deeper relationship with God. When I remember my humble position—that the Lord created me, forgave me, and redeemed me with with Jesus’ blood even though I didn’t deserve it—that’s when I feel closest to Him. And the more I humble myself before Him, the more growth I see Him bringing about in me.

And I am sure that God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in his grace until his task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns.
Philippians 1:6 (TLB)

As you strive towards going deeper with God, remember to approach Him with an attitude of humility. Being humble may not look ‘cool’ or be ‘popular’ in the world’s eyes, but it’s imperative for enjoying a closer relationship with God. As 1 Peter 5:6 says, when you humble yourself before God, He will lift you up in His perfect timing.

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