“Let all our employment be to know GOD: the more one knows Him, the more one desires to know Him. And as knowledge is commonly the measure of love, the deeper and more extensive our knowledge shall be, the greater will be our love: and if our love of GOD were great, we should love Him equally in pains and pleasures.”
How is this possible? Here are 10 ways we can grow in our knowledge, understanding and love of God:
1. We Need to Be in Constant Conversation with our Father
“That his prayer was nothing else but a sense of the presence of GOD, his soul being at that time insensible to everything but Divine love: and that when the appointed times of prayer were past, he found no difference, because he still continued with GOD, praising and blessing Him with all his might, so that he passed his life in continual joy; yet hoped that GOD would give him somewhat to suffer, when he should grow stronger.”
Sure, set times for prayer, but even your job should not hinder you from praying to the Father.
2. No Matter The Circumstance, Do All Things For The Glory of God
“That we ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of GOD, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed. That we should not wonder if, in the beginning, we often failed in our endeavors, but that at last we should gain a habit, which will naturally produce its acts in us, without our care, and to our exceeding great delight.”
Brother Lawrence worked in the kitchen in a monastery, no one saw or appreciated his work, yet still found joy in the everyday tasks.
3. Tell God Your Faults, Failures and Fears
“That in his trouble of mind, he had consulted nobody, but knowing only by the light of faith that GOD was present, he contented himself with directing all his actions to Him, i.e., doing them with a desire to please Him, let what would come of it.”
In the moments of struggle, doubt, or failure, talk to God about it. He will give you hope, he will console you.
4. That God Loves Us Because He Loves Us
“That all bodily mortifications and other exercises are useless, except as they serve to arrive at the union with GOD by love; that he had well considered this, and found it the shortest way to go straight to Him by a continual exercise of love, and doing all things for His sake.”
There is nothing you can do that can change God’s love for you. You can screw up over and over or attend church every Sunday, God doesn’t see the actions, He see the heart and He loves you no matter what you choose to do or not to do.
5. God Doesn’t Get Mad If You Stray
“That when sometimes he had not thought of GOD for a good while, he did not disquiet himself for it; but after having acknowledged his wretchedness to GOD, he returned to Him with so much the greater trust in Him, as he had found himself wretched through forgetting Him.”
“Such was my beginning; and yet I must tell you that for the first ten years I suffered much: the apprehension that I was not devoted to GOD as I wished to be, my past sins always present to my mind, and the great unmerited favors which GOD did me, were the matter and source of my sufferings.”
Sometimes there are what we call seasons of being in the desert, where God seems distant and we realize we have not spent any time with him. In those times we may have ups or downs or be stagnant. In the end, God is always present and he is always ready to pick back up the conversation where you left off.
6. Disciplines Will Do Nothing If Love is Not First
“That many do not advance in the Christian progress because they stick in penances, and particular exercises, while they neglect the love of GOD, which is the end. That this appeared plainly by their works, and was the reason why we see so little solid virtue.”
Love always comes first. The love of God, the love of yourself and the love of others.
7. He Just Wants You
“That there needed neither art nor science for going to GOD, but only a heart resolutely determined to apply itself to nothing but Him, or for His sake, and to love him only.”
He needs nothing from you to connect with Him. Just a willing heart.
8. Faith, Hope, and Charity is All We Need
“That the whole substance of religion was faith, hope and charity; by the practice of which we become united to the will of GOD: that all besides is indifferent, and to be used as a means that we may arrive at our end, and be swallowed up therein, by faith and charity. That all things are possible to him who believes—that they are less difficult to him who hopes—that they are more easy to him who loves, and still more easy to him who perseveres in the practice of these three virtues.”
One can have faith and one can have hope, but not sharing with others what God has done in and for you is greatly missing the mark on what God has called us to do. Nothing we have is ours, all we are is His.
9. You Don’t Need All The Books, Podcasts, and Conferences to Grow Intimately With God
“Having found in many books different methods of going to GOD, and divers practices of the spiritual life, I thought this would serve rather to puzzle me than facilitate what I sought after, which was nothing but how to become wholly GOD’S. This made me resolve to give the all for the all; so after having given myself wholly to GOD, that He might take away my sin, I renounced, for the love of Him, everything that was not He; and I began to live as if there was none but He and I in the world.”
Do you think people in the past 2,000 years needed all these things to have a relationship with God? Many did not even own a Bible.
10. Healthy Habits Make All The Difference
“In fine, by often repeating these acts, they become habitual, and the presence of GOD rendered as it were natural to us Give Him thanks, if you please, with me, for His great goodness towards me, which I can never sufficiently admire, for the many favors He has done to so miserable a sinner as I am. May all things praise Him. Amen.”
There are habits you can make to spur on your relationship with God, those may be things such as: prayer, music, journaling, reading, exercise. These things are not necessary for a relationship, but the will help grow your relationship with Him and spread the Gospel to others.
Brother Lawrence was a French monk who became well-known when his writings and conversations were published after his death in 1691. I highly encourage you to read The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. You can get the book for free on Kindle by clicking here.
Quotes Source: Lawrence, Brother (2011-03-24). The Practice of the Presence of God the Best Rule of a Holy Life (Kindle Locations 130-131). Kindle Edition.