Jun 19, 2024 by Colleen C Orchanian

All of us can say we are not close enough to Christ. We will never be close enough until we leave this life and are fully united to Him in Heaven. Our longing for Him will remain with us while we still have breath. So the idea of not being close enough to Jesus is a given. But there is more.

A. G. Dorronsoro wrote: When any of us realizes he is sad, he must think: It is because I am not close enough to Christ. When one of us becomes aware, for instance, of an inclination towards ill humor, towards bad temper, he must similarly remind himself.

The point is that when we are weak or succumb to temptation, we are not close enough to Christ.

I might want to reject this idea, but that would be a mistake. The closeness I lack with Christ is often my fault, and when that's the case, it means that I can do something about it. But first I have to recognize the problem. I have to see the situation – my weakness – in light of my closeness to Christ. For example:

When I am wasting time with mindless diversions or useless activities, I am not close enough to Christ. If I were, those distractions would have no interest for me.

When I am annoyed by others – the way they speak or walk – I am not close enough to Christ. If I were, I would be able to see their humanity and their needs. My personal likes or dislikes would be irrelevant because I would see them with the eyes of Christ.

When I begin gossiping with someone, it is because I am not close enough to Christ. If I were, I would resist the temptation to spread stories about another person. I would have more compassion for them.

When I am tempted to sin and give in to temptation, it is because I am not close enough to Christ. If I were, I would call to Him to help me resist temptation. Instead, I turn further away and surrender to the sin.

When I don't feel like going to church or reading the Bible, it is because I am not close enough to Christ. If I were, those activities would be my spiritual food and I would realize that I cannot live without them.

Each of these examples is a time when I am not close enough to Christ – and I have the power to change that fact. But do I? Sometimes yes. Sometimes no.

This idea – that I am not close enough to Christ – is not a condemnation – but an invitation. It's not about calling me out for my failure (even though I have failed), but opening my eyes to what I need and am ignoring. I need Jesus. And I'm choosing something or someone else.

So what's the fix?

  1. Recognize that I am not close enough to Christ and I can change that. It's not God who is holding back. It's me.

  2. Stop and change direction. If I need to repent, I do it. I come before God with a humble and contrite heart and confess my sins. I ask for his grace to change and the strength to overcome temptation.

  3. Take steps to grow closer to God.

Here are some ideas from my first book, Nearer My God to Thee: Practical Ideas for Spiritual Progress.

Spend time in the Word. Read Scripture (especially the Gospels) so you can know who God is and destroy the false images of God that keep you distant. If you perceive God as impersonal, harsh, uncaring, or unpredictable, you have a false image of God. That isn't the God of the Bible. Jesus came to reveal the Father to us because people didn't know who He was. We will not grow closer to Him if we don't know who He is.

Spend time with others who are close to God, who walk the talk, who live their faith. Read the book of Acts and notice how the early Christians lived. Find people today who live the same way – who live The Way. They can help you grow closer to Christ. Our Sisters in Faith group is a great example of that happening in real life. People share how God is working in their lives and others are inspired and want to grow as well. And they do.

Meditate and Pray – which means to think – about God and carry on a conversation with him. Share your day. Ask for help. Talk through a problem. Praise him. Thank him. Sit quietly in His presence. I can read through the Bible in a Year, which is great and I've done it several times, but if I don't reflect on what it means to me in my life today, I'm just checking a box, not trying to get to know God. I may be able to quote chapter and verse from the Bible, but that doesn't mean that I know God. Meditation takes me beyond just reading. I apply what I'm reading to my life and let it transform me.

Repent. Be willing to accuse yourself so you can grow closer to God. Too often pride leads us to excuse our faults and sins. We have good reasons for what we're doing. We know the commandments but have a reason why they don't apply in our situation. Until we are willing to acknowledge our sins, our faults, and our weaknesses, God can't help us. We will not grow closer to Christ. Humility is the remedy.

Christ wants us to be close to Him. He said, Seek and you shall find; Knock and the door will be opened to you. When we are not close to Christ, we aren't seeking. We aren't knocking. We don't think we need him or we don't think it's possible to have a personal relationship with him. Those are lies from Satan, who does not want us to grow closer to Christ.

If you are closer to Christ today than you were five years ago, that's great! And you can grow even closer to Him in the next five years. Today I am light years from where I was 20 years ago, at the beginning of my spiritual journey. And yet, I know that I have so far to go. That can be discouraging, but it's not for me. Instead, it is exhilarating. I am excited to see where God will take me in the next 20 years. How will he draw me closer? I don't know, but I want it. And I am open to it. I want to allow Him to heal my blindness. What am I blind to in my life, my thoughts, my preferences, my words, that keeps me distant from God? I pray that he will heal me of that blindness just like he healed the apostle Paul. That is how I will get closer to Christ.

Questions for prayer:

  1. What are the situations in your life that indicate that you are not close enough to Christ?

  2. What action can you take this week to grow closer to Christ?

  3. What obstacles keep you from growing closer to Christ?