A Man’s Relationship with God

I became a Christian on February 18, 1968 when I put my faith in Christ and what He had done for me in my place on the cross.   My life changed as much as a nine year old boy could change, I suppose.    However, it wasn’t until July of 1975 that I got serious about my relationship with the Lord.

At time I began to seek the Lord daily through His Word.   As a result my relationship with God deepened and my growth spiritually rocketed.    Some of the most precious possessions I have are the Bibles I used during that time in my life.

As a father, my primary concern with my children is that they have a personal relationship with God.   I am not talking just about their attending church and being involved in ministry, though that is important, too.   Most important is a meaningful, daily time alone with the Lord.

In short, I want my children to be men and women of God.   It is my heart’s desire and something for which I pray every day.   In these series of posts I have written more about being a man of God (because Psalm 128 speaks primarily to a man),  but there is plenty of application for ladies there, too.

There is a singular evidence that a man is properly related to God and that is he has the blessing of God.    One of the most oft-used words in a Christian’s vocabulary and, yet, the least understood is the word “blessed”.    The word (and it’s derivatives) is used over 400 times in the Bible.

We speak of “I am blessed”….”That was a blessing”…”Let’s pray the blessing over the food”.   In spite of the frequency of our saying it the majority of believers have no concrete way of understanding the term.   They just know it represents something good (and there’s nothing wrong with that!).

The Bible promises that those that would fear the Lord and walk in His ways will be blessed by Him – “Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways.”   (Psalm 128:1)    This sweet promise begs a fundamental question – what does it mean to be “blessed” of God?

Usually the word is limited to just being happy.  That is, every time you read the word “blessed” in the Bible you can substitute the word “happy”.   I think that is true, but happiness is the byproduct of being blessed of God.    We don’t find happiness, but it finds us as we experience God’s blessing.

Simply, the word “blessed” means “to have the approval of God upon your life”.    This is a powerful reality to those that experience it!   When one has the favor and commendation of the Lord it is the greatest and most meaningful part of life.

The greatest need of my wife and children is to have a husband and father that is right with God.    No amount of success at my work can compensate for a lack of God’s blessing on my life.   What good is a large income and home if a man’s wife doesn’t love him or he cannot stay married to a woman?    What benefit is it if people at your office respect you more than your children?    True success in life cannot be experienced apart from the blessing of the Lord.

My sweet daughter, April, and my grandson, Brody (Ashley's son).

My sweet daughter, April, and my grandson, Brody (Ashley’s son).

How can a person know the approval and smile of God?   The passage in Psalm 128 gives two characteristics of a person that is right with the Lord and as a result enjoys the blessing and favor of God.

First, he has a right attitude toward the Lord.    The Scripture states, “Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD…” (:1).   An evidence of the new birth is that one fears the Lord.    We only worship that which we fear, respect, and admire.

It is impossible to separate your relationship with God from your attitude toward God.  The beginning place of God’s blessing on your life is to fear the Lord – “…thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD”.   (Psalm 128:4)    God honors those that fear Him.

What does it mean to fear the Lord?    Primarily it involves a reverential awe and respect of God’s Person.   I loved my earthly father, Cotton, very much.   But I also had a very deep respect for him.   As a child I feared his discipline while at the same time knowing he cared for me.   As I grew older I feared disappointing him because of how much he loved me.

Here’s an operational definition of the fear of the Lord: it is having an awareness that God witnesses everything I do or say.   This is a reality because of God’s character, His omnipresence and omniscience.   That is, the fact that God sees, hears and knows everything.

A sampling of many Scriptures that teach this fact – “For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.”   (Proverbs 5:21)

(An interesting and motivating Bible study is to trace the usage of the phrase “fear of the Lord” in the Bible.   Take a concordance and look the verses where it is found.   You will be surprised at how often it is used and the blessings God brings to those that do so).

A second characteristic of one that would enjoy God’s blessing is that he is obedient to God’s Word.    The natural result of fearing God is obedience.   When I fear the Lord I will obey Him – and He has promised to bless me because of that.

Again, the Bible says, “Blessed is every one that…walketh in (God’s) ways”.   (Psalm 128:1) To walk in God’s ways is to walk in accordance to His Word.    When my ways are in alignment with His ways I am a candidate for God’s rich blessing on my life.

Someone said, “Obey God and leave the consequences to Him”.    Perhaps another way to phrase it would be“Obey God and receive His blessings and favor”.  

Until there is (1) a fear of the Lord and (2) obedience to God a man will never discover God’s best.    I often say that “God always gives His best to those who leave the choice to Him”.    I believe that and I can testify to that reality in my own life – and that of my family.

In no way am I stating that there are perfect people, perfect parents or perfect families.   We often talk about dysfunctional families, but the truth is because of sin we have all been corrupted and are dysfunctional.    And the first and most-frequent place it is seen is in our family.   However, when we fear the Lord and follow His ways we qualify for His blessing.

On a couple of occasions my older children have given public testimonies at our church to honor Paula and myself.    They have said some kind things, but there is one phrase I remember that I cherish.    It’s this: “Dad is genuine.   What you see at church is the way he lives at home”.

My kids have seen me at my worst and weakest moments.   But they know that my heart is to walk with the Lord and to honor Him.    I learned that from my parents who feared the Lord and walked with him.   It impacted my life.

When my father passed away in July, 2008 we prepared a short slide show of pictures from his life.   As the slides dissolved from one to the other a song of testimony was played in the background.   It’s one of my favorite songs because of it’s message.   It’s universally true of all of us.

The name of the song was “God’s Been Good in My Life”.   It is the goodness of God that motivates me to fear Him and to walk in His ways.   It is not a duty, but a delight to do so.  As I do I enjoy His blessing and favor, but I pray I will influence my children and my children’s children’s even as my parents did me through their lives.

Mom and Dad at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee in the late 90's.  Dad often drove groups there and it was one of Mom's favorite places to go with him.    I'm glad I grew up in a home where my parents retaliated against others.   Melanie, Hoss, and I were ignorant of a lot of negative things because they protected us from them.

Mom and Dad at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee in the late 90’s. Dad often drove groups there and it was one of Mom’s favorite places to go with him.

“God’s Been Good in My Life”

Lately I’ve been looking back along this winding road,
To the old familiar markers of the mercies I have known;
I know it may sound simple, but it’s more than a cliche,
There’s no better way to tell you than to say:

God’s been good in my life,
I feel blessed beyond my wildest dreams
When I go to sleep each night.
And though I’ve had my share of hard times,
I wouldn’t change them if I could
‘Cause through it all, God’s been good.

Times replay, and I can see that I’ve cried some bitter tears,
But I’ve felt His arms around me as I’ve faced my greatest fears;
I’ve had more gains than losses, and I’ve known more joy than hurt
As His grace rolled down upon me undeserved.

God’s been good in my life,
I feel blessed beyond my wildest dreams
When I go to sleep each night.
And though I’ve had my share of hard times,
I wouldn’t change them if I could
‘Cause through it all, God’s been good.

For God has been my Father, my Savior, and my Friend;
His love was my beginning and His love will be my end.
I could spend forever trying to tell you everything He is,
But the best way I can say it is this:

God’s been good in my life,
I feel blessed beyond my wildest dreams
When I go to sleep each night.
And though I’ve had my share of hard times,
I wouldn’t change them if I could
‘Cause through it all, God’s been good.

(Sue Smith and Belinda Smith)

Sue C. Smith & Belinda SmithLately I’ve been looking back along this winding road
To the old familiar markers of the mercies I have known
I know it may sound simple, but it’s more than a cliche
There’s no better way to tell you than to say:
God’s been good in my life
I feel blessed beyond my wildest dreams
When I go to sleep each night
And though I’ve had my share of hard times,
I wouldn’t change them if I could
‘Cause through it all, God’s been good.Times replay, and I can see that I’ve cried some bitter tears
But I’ve felt His arms around me as I’ve faced my greatest fears
You see, I’ve had more gains than losses, and I’ve known more joy than hurt
As His grace rolled down upon me undeserved.God’s been good in my life
I feel blessed beyond my wildest dreams
When I go to sleep each night
And though I’ve had my share of hard times,
I wouldn’t change them if I could
‘Cause through it all, God’s been good.

For God has been my Father, my Savior, and my Friend
His love was my beginning and His love will be my end.
I could spend forever trying to tell you everything He is,
But the best way I can say it is this:

God’s been good in my life
I feel blessed beyond my wildest dreams
When I go to sleep each night
And though I’ve had my share of hard times,
I wouldn’t change them if I could
‘Cause through it all, God’s been good. – See more at: http://christiansongoftheday.blogspot.com/2009/02/gods-been-good.html#sthash.YsHCyk9K.dpuf

Sue C. Smith & Belinda SmithLately I’ve been looking back along this winding road
To the old familiar markers of the mercies I have known
I know it may sound simple, but it’s more than a cliche
There’s no better way to tell you than to say:
God’s been good in my life
I feel blessed beyond my wildest dreams
When I go to sleep each night
And though I’ve had my share of hard times,
I wouldn’t change them if I could
‘Cause through it all, God’s been good.Times replay, and I can see that I’ve cried some bitter tears
But I’ve felt His arms around me as I’ve faced my greatest fears
You see, I’ve had more gains than losses, and I’ve known more joy than hurt
As His grace rolled down upon me undeserved.God’s been good in my life
I feel blessed beyond my wildest dreams
When I go to sleep each night
And though I’ve had my share of hard times,
I wouldn’t change them if I could
‘Cause through it all, God’s been good.

For God has been my Father, my Savior, and my Friend
His love was my beginning and His love will be my end.
I could spend forever trying to tell you everything He is,
But the best way I can say it is this:

God’s been good in my life
I feel blessed beyond my wildest dreams
When I go to sleep each night
And though I’ve had my share of hard times,
I wouldn’t change them if I could
‘Cause through it all, God’s been good. – See more at: http://christiansongoftheday.blogspot.com/2009/02/gods-been-good.html#sthash.YsHCyk9K.dpuf

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About familyencouragement

Pastor of Friendship Baptist Church in Huntsville, Alabama. Married for 39 years with seven children and eight grandchildren.
This entry was posted in Family Issues, Father, Men, Obedience, Personal Growth, Salvation and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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