For the first 20 years of my life, I believed in God, but he seemed distant, and I didn't understand why. This really affected the way that I thought about Jesus and who He was. Now, seven years later after walking with Christ and knowing Him as an INTIMATE God, I have some tips I want to share with anyone who is struggling with believing in God but also feeling really distant from Him at the same time.
1) One way to know God more intimately is getting into a regular habit of confessing your sin to Him.
God loves us unconditionally and there is NO SIN too big for God, but the only way to keep that sin from weighing us down and from knowing God intimately is by confessing our sin to Him. This becomes especially apparent when we have sin in our life that is not a part of God's plan for our lives. For example, I used to have sex and get drunk regularly before pursuing God relationally, which are obviously lifestyle habits that do not reflect a Christian lifestyle. This resulted in feeling incredibly distant from Jesus. For others, the sin that we struggle with looks different. Some of us just need to confess our basic pride to the Lord, or selfishness. Regardless, when I wasn't confessing any of my sin to the Lord, it affected everything about me and the way I saw Christ. It also put a barrier between me and my God. It was almost like I was saying to God "You dying on the cross isn't relevant to me because I am a perfect person." Today, I try to be in a habit of acknowledging the sin in my life that could potentially be harming my walk with Christ. I'm not perfect by ANY means, but I am aware of the sin that can so easily trip us all up SO quickly! (Hebrews 12:1).
2) Another way to know God intimately is by realizing that He wants to be your BEST FRIEND!
It may sound cheesy but it is so incredibly true, and this was MAJOR for me. I grew up in really legalistic church that was focused on rules. They never once talked about the relationship aspect of walking with Christ. Now after walking with Christ for so long, this makes me sad because I have learned that having a relationship with Him is what it is all about! In the Bible, Jesus talks about how He wants to know us as FRIENDS (John 15:15)! God is Holy YES, but God also sent His son Jesus so that we could become best friends with the God of the universe. This is seriously the best news ever and I'll be talking about it until God sends me home to Him. If you don't think of God as your best friend, then you have it wrong. God wants to know you in that way and I would start praying for Him to make Himself known to you in that way.
3) Finally, one key way to making your relationship with God less distant is to be in a constant conversation with God!
Many Christians think of prayer as something you only do over the dinner table or at funerals. This is so far from the truth. Although those are wonderful +necessary times to engage in prayer, I believe that God sees prayer as more of an on-going conversation. For example, I pray to God about EVERYTHING! I talk to Him about my day, tell Him I think He's amazing, ask Him if it is REALLY worth it to buy that extra shirt at TJ MAXX...everything! This on-going conversation that I have with God has really made God feel more near. It has allowed me to see God as a God who wants to be involved in every aspect of my life, and not just the big moments. The Bible even says so in Psalm 37:23!
Alright friends, that is all. I hope this post encourages you. May God bless you moving forward!