This post was written by Michael Loria
I believe as a Christian, I am on a journey to bring myself closer to God and to seek his love and mercy. Christianity needs to be viewed as a way of life and as a journey.
Our God is in Heaven and the Son of God is at his right side. God is also omnipresent which means he is present everywhere. He is in this room while I am writing this and he is in the room where you are reading this. He is also in our hearts and souls thanks to the sacrifice that Jesus made almost 2000 years ago and also for our baptism. We cannot ask God to get any closer to us than he already has. It is not a matter of bringing God closer to us but a matter of bringing us closer to God. Our God that made the entire universe, knows our whole hearts and everything about us and loves us beyond compare. It is time to consider how we reciprocate this love.
Praying with your whole heart is a great start for getting closer to God. I have found myself mindlessly saying the Lord’s prayer so many times before. We need to be praying with our whole hearts. Slowdown when you pray and take in every word and think about the meaning of everything you are saying. The Lord’s prayer is beautiful and sacred and needs to be recited with that respect. Make your own prayers that are from your heart. Remember A.C.T.S. when you pray. A is for adoration of God, C is for Confession to God, T is for thanksgiving to God, and S is for supplication(asking) to God. Pray before every meal and pray when you wake up and before you sleep. If you are already doing this, then consider how you can do it a little better. This journey we are on requires moving forward and getting closer to our goal of bringing ourselves closer to God. Prayer is essential to getting closer to God. God is incomprehensible because he is too awesome to understand his essence. We can know God by his energy and divine light and prayer is how we get closer to his energy and light.
Fasting is also very important. In scriptures, Jesus does not say, “if you fast”, he says “When you fast” (Matthew 6:16). In the Orthodox religion, we practice a vegan diet to cleanse our physical bodies and eat like Adam and Eve ate before the Fall of man. Our goal in this world is to get ourselves as close as possible to how we were before we disobeyed God and got removed from the Garden. We should be spending our whole lives trying to get back to the garden. Fasting also provides discipline and control of our physical bodies. To reach the state of perfection before the fall is impossible to do on our own and this is why Jesus had done what he did at the cross. I believe that we are still expected to show we are worthy of his tremendous gift by doing all we can on our own. We need to show our worthiness out of love for our God. The best definition for love I ever found is “doing the will of the other”. Christ prayed to the father at Gethsemane and said let it be your will and not my will. God is pure love and this was a display of the love between the son and the father. We can also show our love to our God by doing his will.
God’s will is very clear. Our God walked among us as one of us. His ministry on Earth is a perfect example of how we should strive to be. He gave us the greatest commandments which are to love God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind and also love your neighbor as yourself. In my opinion, there is no way greater way to show love to God than through how we treat one another. We glorify and honor God when we do this. We need to forgive if we wish to be forgiven and how we treat our neighbor is how we shall be treated. God is in every single human being and how we treat our neighbor is how we are treating God.
Last but not least is that we need to cut back and/or eliminate the things that have no eternal value. This is Especially true for the things that are opposite of how we should be living as Christians. This world is full of ungodly things and as Christians, we are living in enemy territory. At least take some time away from worldy things and give all your attention to God.
I thank you for taking the time to read this and your comments are most welcomed. I wish you many blessings in your own journey.