This article is about developing a close relationship with God.

Source: Una Sancta, 1990. 2 pages.

Personal Time With Father

Most young people, sooner or later, fall in love. A boy sees a girl, or girl a boy, and the one becomes attracted to the other. A young man will go to great lengths to be noticed, to be at the same place he thinks his special lady will show up. Young ladies also know how to get young men interested in them. And then it usually happens that a relation­ship develops.

Normally that means that they get together, do things together, and especially talk lots together. Yes, that talking together is so es­sential. For, through talking together you get to know each other, one's likes or dislikes, one's hopes for the future, one's joys, and also one's fears. It is especially through such per­sonal talking together that a young couple will grow together and deepen in their love.

However, there is a much more important relationship in this life than that between a man and a woman. There is another relation­ship which is also a relationship of love. And also in that relationship a personal talking together is so very important. This relation­ship is that of the LORD God and His children. This relationship goes back a long way. The LORD God showed His love for us already when we were only a few days old, when according to His command we received the water of baptism. This water of baptism was a sign and seal of His covenant promises to us, the covenant promises which rest on the blood of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Already when we were so very young the LORD spoke to us and said, "I am your Father, Who loves you." This special relation­ship between us and the LORD was thus started by Him, even without our knowledge! Now that relationship has to develop. We have to get to know our Father better. That can only be done by listening to Him as He speaks to us! Remember that we spoke ear­lier about the fact that in a relationship there is a need to talk together. Well, our heavenly Father indeed talks to us. He does not do that in some secretive, magical way. It is true that many people in the world claim that God speaks personally with them, and they claim that they have special instructions from Him. Thus they claim to be led and guided through special revelations. The LORD, however, does speak to us in a very clear way, namely through His Holy Word, the Bible! Thus, if we wish to hear our Father talk to us, we have to turn to the Bible. Of course that means we will go to church, because there we can hear the Bible explained to us. And of course that also means that we listen care­fully when a teacher explains the Bible les­sons at school, or when Dad reads the Bible at the table after a meal. But it also means that we will take time to read the Bible for ourselves!

How many of us take the time to read the Bible for ourselves? How many of us take the time to read carefully, to think about what we read, and perhaps to check out a commen­tary to explain passages we do not easily understand? You might say that we are too busy for these things. Or, perhaps it might be said that we are too tired at night to have any attention span left at all. Still, such argu­ments never arise when a boy wants to get to know a certain girl. Then there is always time, and one is never tired. Then there is great eagerness to spend much time together.

Now ask yourself: how can you ever develop a close relationship of trust and love for your heavenly Father, if you don't talk with Him, if you don't let Him talk to you? The Bible has been called God's love letter to His children. In the Bible He teaches us the complete doctrine of salvation, of how He has brought about the forgiveness of our sins through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. How can you learn, appreciate, and enjoy this message of salvation if you don't really know what your Father has done and said throughout the ages? Going to church is very important to learn God's Word, but it must also be a back­ed up and supported by personal Bible study.

Thus, there is a need for personal time with your Father. You need some quiet time to meditate and contemplate on His wonderful doings. Psalm 119 expresses how much of a joy it should be for children of the heavenly Father to be busy with His Word. We read, for example,

In the way of Thy testimonies I delight, as much as in all riches.Psalm 119:14

How sweet are Thy words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth.Psalm 119:103

Yes, it is very worthwhile to take the time to read this whole Psalm for yourself and notice the many other times it speaks about the delight that can be found in studying God's words.

It is thus important to set time aside, daily, to have some personal time with your Father in heaven. You need quiet time to read, and to think about what you have read. By thus listening to your Father, your relationship will grow. Then you will learn to trust Him and depend on Him. Then you will learn to marvel at the wonders of His grace. If this is not your custom yet, why not start tonight? Start with His Word at Genesis 1 and read it right through to the end, a section each night. The more you read, the more you will see your Father's great love for you in His Son Jesus Christ.

Now a relationship can only grow if the two parties talk together. The beautiful thing in this relationship with our Father is that He not only speaks to us, but we may also speak to Him, in our prayers! Not only is it impor­tant that our Father speaks to us, but also that we speak to Him! For, in our prayers we have the opportunity to express our love for Him, to praise and thank Him for all His great deeds and blessings. In our prayers we also receive the opportunity to lay before Him our struggles, our temptations, our concerns. And, we can confess our many sins and seek forgiveness.

Notice then that there is indeed two way communication. Perhaps not exactly the way two people communicate, but communication nevertheless. Our Father speaks to us, and we may speak to Him. And, by doing this, we grow in the way of faith. let us thus make it a point to have personal time with our Father, our Father who has loved us first in His Son, Jesus Christ. Without that personal time of listening and talking, you cannot real­ly expect any relationship to grow. However, when you faithfully read your Father's Word, and when you sincerely call upon His Name in prayer, you will enjoy a relationship which lasts forever.

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