Growing up, I loved Michael Jordan.
I was in awe of his ability to fly on the basketball court, his intensity as a defender, his confidence under pressure, and his unmatched desire to win at all costs.
Before every home game in high school, I would watch his documentary film, “Come Fly with Me.” And every time, without fail, I was inspired.
This is why, decades later, I was itching to watch the recently released series, “The Last Dance.” I watched all ten episodes and enjoyed every single moment of the series. The more I learned about Michael Jordan’s work ethic, the pressure he endured, and his infectious appetite to win, the more I grew inspired.
Unfortunately, I didn’t grow up believing that my relationship with God could be inspiring. I thought God was real, but I never understood that I could have a personal and inspiring relationship with him.
As a result, I didn’t pursue learning about him with even a fraction of the passion I put into learning about Michael Jordan.
What disconnects us from God?
I thought God was a distant, authoritarian figure who gave me Ten Commandments to memorize and live by. I was uninspired by this idea. By the time I was in middle school, God was nothing more than an afterthought in my life.
Fortunately, after I graduated from high school, I studied the Bible and discovered that friendship with God was not only possible but also something God desired to have with me.
This discovery was a game-changer for me and marked the beginning of my quest to have a personal and spiritual connection with God. On this journey, I continue to learn deeper truths about God that inspire me and help me spiritually mature for each stage of my life.
In this study, we hope to inspire you to pursue a deeper connection with God. We’ll cover 3 questions you can ask yourself that will help you begin to unravel your disconnection from him, and hopefully, start you down a path towards an intimate relationship with him.
Am I connected emotionally with God?
Perhaps the single most inspiring thing about God to me is his ability and desire to attach to us emotionally, even though we are unworthy.
We find in the Scriptures how King David’s life is arguably one of the best illustrations of God’s desire to attach to unworthy people. King David sinned and failed a lot, but his connection with God is felt throughout the Psalms and other books of the Bible.
After Saul had ruled forty years, God removed him from office and put King David in his place, with this commendation: ‘I’ve searched the land and found this David, son of Jesse. He’s a man whose heart beats to my heart, a man who will do what I tell him.’Acts 13:22 (MSG)
First, we see from this passage that God searches for people who desire an emotional connection with him.
Second, a heart connection with God is an emotional one, where we learn to value and love the things God values and loves. This passage describes it as David’s heart beating to God’s heart.
This kind of heart connection doesn’t sound or feel forced, unpleasant, or uninspiring. It was David’s motivation for obedience. He did everything God wanted him to do because he felt deeply connected with God.
If you are anything like me and aware of your many flaws and weaknesses, you may be wondering, “How in the world do I develop a heart that beats to God’s heart? How do I develop an emotional connection with God?”
1 Lord, I passionately love you and I’m bonded to you, for now you’ve become my power! 2 You’re as real to me as bedrock beneath my feet, like a castle on a cliff, my forever firm fortress, my mountain of hiding, my pathway of escape, my tower of rescue where none can reach me. My secret strength and shield around me, you are salvation’s ray of brightness shining on the hillside, always the champion of my cause.Psalm 18:1-2 (TPT)
This passage is another excellent example of what it looks or feels like to have a heart that beats to God’s heart.So how do we develop this kind of heart connection? We must be willing to unclutter our hearts and deal with the good, the bad, and the ugly that can be very easily buried or concealed within us.
To begin this process, ask yourself if any of these feelings are buried in your heart:
- Unworthy – I feel inadequate and weak in certain areas of my heart.
- Unresolved – I have unfinished business in certain areas of my heart.
- Unforgiven – I have deep and residual guilt in certain areas of my heart.
When I ignore these areas of my heart, I usually end up feeling uninspired and disconnected from God. We can develop a deep emotional connection with God by beginning to engage and unplow these feelings with God and with the help of spiritual friends.
This next scripture gives us some insight into what helped David connect with God, even when he had done something that violated his conscience:
4 The men said, “This is the day the Lord spoke of when he said to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish.’” Then David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. 5 Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe. 6 He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the Lord.”1 Samuel 24:4-6 (NIV)
David’s conscience was sensitive and aware of God. He talked to his men openly and engaged his heart right after cutting off the corner of Saul’s robe to resolve his guilt.
When I feel unworthy, unresolved, or unforgiven, and choose to ignore those feelings, I make decisions that are unspiritual. In those moments, I am driven by selfish ambition or fear. Over time, I become more and more disinterested in my relationship with God.
Just a few weeks ago, I was having a difficult time staying focused and interested when I was praying. Initially, I didn’t know why. But as I reflected on my week, I realized that I was purposely avoiding being honest with my wife about a topic that I knew she had a lot of feelings about.
This avoidance was deliberate and inconsiderate. I eventually chose to stop being selfish and fearful, and we ended up having a great conversation. And I immediately noticed a huge difference in my prayer life.
- Do you want to develop an emotional connection with God?
- How do you relate to feeling unworthy, unresolved, or unforgiven?
- How much do you think your disconnection from God is a result of having a guilty conscience?
- What may be negatively affecting your conscience, leading to a disconnection from God?
Do I see and treat God as a friend?
I had a friend in high school named Roy, who liked to get into fights. He was not the biggest guy, but people knew about him and would choose not to mess with him. They knew they would pay the price if they got on his bad side.
I also remember going to different parties feeling afraid, because there were people there who looked like they wanted to get into trouble. However, whenever I had Roy with me, I walked with a confident swagger that I usually didn’t have. I enjoyed those times because I wasn’t preoccupied with what could happen. His friendship gave me confidence.
From this example, I learned a simple truth: When we choose to rely on someone for confidence in areas we know we need help, we build a special connection with that person.
Though I am not much of a party-goer now, I still have plenty of things that make me afraid. I am afraid of meeting new people because I am worried what they will think of me. I’m afraid of not coming through on a project for work and letting the team down. And I’m constantly afraid of the future, worrying whether or not I will make the right decisions for my life and family.
My fear can control me so much that whatever I’m afraid of ultimately consumes all of my emotional energy. I often think back to my earlier example from high school to remind me where I found the confidence to overcome my fear.
At that time, it was a person, but ultimately God can be my confidence no matter what I face.
It is always helpful for me to read about Abraham’s example in this:
Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old —and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.  Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God,  being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.Romans 4:19-21 NIV
Abraham and Sarah wanted a family, and it looked like it would never happen for them. But Abraham chose to be confident that God would come through for him and have his back.
God tells us throughout the Bible that he has our back; however, it is up to us to believe him. By doing this, Abraham developed a special connection with God.
And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God.James 2:23 NLT
We can all be friends with God if we choose to believe him over what our fears and unbelief tell us. Sometimes I’d rather be proud and rely on my own effort because I don’t have to trust that God will come through for me.
However, as Abraham experienced, deciding to believe God allows us to gain a special connection with him as a friend and see hopes become realities.
- Do you see God as a friend?
- In what areas of your life are you afraid to believe that God will have your back?
- How have you been resistant to believing God will come through for you?
Do I connect honestly with God each day?
I became a Christian over 20 years ago, and I remember feeling so inspired that I could talk to God all the time, and he would listen to me.
However, as time has passed, it has been easy for me to lose that sense of inspiration. I can go through the actions of prayer and reading my Bible regularly but miss the focus on staying connected with God.
I believe it is easy for all of us who have gone to church or read the Bible for years to think we are connected to God when we are not. We can live by some set of rules we know and agree with, but we do not evaluate the level of attachment and enjoyment we have in our relationship with God.
They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.  Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”?  These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings.Colossians 2:19-22 NIV
Paul here describes people who are Christians but have lost connection with God. Similarly, we lose this connection when we live by “human rules” over a God-connection.
When we feel like we have to do everything right spiritually to be accepted, we have lost our connection. When we say “yes” to everyone because we want to be liked, we have lost our connection. When we are afraid to be honest because of what people think, we are in danger of losing our connection.
There was a time last year when there were some things I was afraid to talk to my wife about. I was afraid to talk to her about what I was feeling in our marriage and sins I was ashamed of. Through help from friends, we had a time where we were able to talk about it all, and it really freed up both of us in our marriage and our relationship with God.
I did not realize before this just how disconnected I had been from God. But afterward, I remember being far more motivated, grateful, and inspired about God than I had been for months. I had lost my connection with God when I was living in dishonesty.
To get our connection back, we have to identify when and why we lost it in the first place. After that, just remember that each day is a fantastic opportunity to reconnect.
“In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.Matthew 6:14 MSG
We can connect with God again in prayer when we make the right decisions. Before I talked with my wife, I had prayers with God about wanting my marriage to grow, how afraid I felt, and asking for help and confidence.
But afterward, I felt a sense of joy talking to God, feeling his acceptance and help. We can all experience this every day; in fact, God wants us to.
Don’t use prayer as a place to try to use God for help with everything going on in your life. God wants friendship and is seeking to be close. When we reciprocate, we can have an incredible connection.
- When you reflect on your relationship with God, would you say you are enjoying your time with him, or more focused on living the right way and not making mistakes?
- How often do you enjoy your times with God?
- What can you do today in prayer to strengthen your connection with God?
If you still need help figuring out what to read when you feel disconnected from God, try these additional devotionals to continue your Bible study and dive deeper.