Reinforcing our Relationship with God
By Ray Ewers, first published in The Compass, Volume 4 No. 5, September, 1981
One of the things that gripped me when I was first exposed to The Navigators was the motto: “To know Christ and to make Him known.” I prayed over it. I preached on it and I shared it as the real purpose for living. More recently it has come into focus through a verse in Psalm 73 which I believe God is giving to me as a “life” verse.
“But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge that I may tell of all Thy works.” (Psalm 73:28)
TO BE NEAR GOD IS TO KNOW GOD
“But as for me, the nearness of God is my good.”
Occasionally we find ourselves sitting next to someone we would really like to know. What a privilege! What an opportunity. Yet you can never really know a person unless they allow you to. However to be near God is to know God, because He not only allows us to know Him, He encourages it. Just thinking of His gracious promise in which He says: “draw near to Me and I will draw near to you.” He is the omnipresent God, but note that it is our responsibility to take the initiative to practise His presence.
“But as for me.”
This requires a personal resolve. Asaph tells in Psalm 73 of the rugged time of testing which he is experiencing. Sometimes it requires tough times to help us develop deep convictions about God.
It is good to be near God. There are many good things in life, but this surely surpasses them all. Do we really want God’s goodness? If so, then remember, we can be as near to God as we choose. Let’s choose to draw near to God!
TO KNOW GOD IS TO PROVE GOD
“I have made the Lord God my refuge.”
Asaph knew the value of a refuge; a shelter to which to flee from the storms, the wind, the cold, the heat. We too are buffeted in life. Can you remember the time when your feet came close to stumbling and your steps had almost slipped? Asaph proved God to be a refuge—”nevertheless I am continually with Thee, Thou has taken hold of my right hand” (Psalm 73:23). Out of such experiences he decided that he could trust the God of mercy. He truly is able to keep us from falling. He becomes known to us as “our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
However, there is no need for us to wait for trials in order to prove God. He is a refuge for us every day in every situation. Just call on the Name of the Lord and He will prove to be our strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. To whom else shall we go? As the hymn writer puts it, “Other refuge have I none, hangs my helpless soul on Thee”. Are we depending on the dependable God as our refuge and strength?
MAKING HIM KNOWN, THE OVERFLOW OF KNOWING HIM
“That I may tell all Thy works.”
When we are near to Him, and are experiencing His goodness, we have much to talk about. Like the demoniac of Gadara, we can go home and tell what great things the Lord has done for us” (Mark 5:19).
Many of us are not making Him known, either by life or lip, because we do not really know Him. Therefore it is not only good for us to be daily near to God in order to know Him, but it is good for others as they taste the overflow. They will realise from our lifestyle that our God is personal and living. An appetite thus created in them, to know the God we know, allows us the privilege of introducing them to Jesus. Oh, how we need to tell of all the works of the Lord!
MY GOD IS REAL
To be near God means for me to be living in a right relationship with Him, walking with Him like Enoch. Seeking first His righteousness each morning. Maintaining an unbroken fellowship throughout the day. The evidence will be seen in the fruit of His Spirit, adorning the gospel of God, and attracting others to Christ.
To make God my refuge means for me to take all my problems to Jesus rather than to people. It means to refuse to worry about them myself. The evidence will be that others will ask a reason for the hope within me, as they see the reality of my God.
To tell of all His works is for me to be seeking first His Kingdom. To have as first priority the extension of His rule into other lives, and to pray with Jesus “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth.” The evidence will be seen, as we go and bring forth fruit that will remain, sowing and weeping and doubtless coming with rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.
Revolve Psalm 73:28 in your mind and learn to reinforce your relationship with God.