Have you ever been to a restaurant and tried something that was so good you just had to tell your friends about it? The problem is that when you did, your words just could not fully convey the experience. Finally, you said: “You have to try it for yourself and you’ll see!”
The Psalmist was conveying that same enthusiasm for the Lord when he said:
O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. (Psalms 34:8)
There are three things that this verse tells us about our relationship to God.
First, it is proactive. The psalmist is urging his audience to action. James tells us the same thing: “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you” (James 4:8). The prodigal son could testify to this as well. When he finally came to himself, he went to his father (Luke 15:17-18ff). The father did not wallow in the son’s mess. The son left his mess and came to the father. That is a picture of repentance and submission. The beautiful thing about being proactive in our relationship to God is that God is not passive in His response. He, too, is proactive. When the father saw his prodigal son returning to him, while his son “was yet a great way off, his father… had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him” (Luke 15:20). We don’t always have to be returning from sin for God to be overjoyed with our fellowship. Every time we draw closer to Him, He draws closer to us.
Second, it is interactive. Imagine going to a restaurant and getting your order. It’s a beautiful, mouth-watering dish. You even take a picture of it and share it on social media. Then all you do is stare at your plate. You tell everyone you’re enjoying your meal, but you aren’t touching it. People would begin questioning your sanity. “Why order such a gorgeous meal and not partake of it?”
Why know such a beautiful Savior and not partake of Him? A relationship with God is something that is intimate and personal. Most believers spend too much time experiencing God vicariously by just going to church, just going to Sunday School (or just reading devotional blogs). That’s not to say those things are bad. Scripture tells us not to forsake “the assembling of ourselves together” (Hebrews 10:25) because we need fellowship with other believers to encourage one another and to keep each other accountable, but we also need to have personal time with God where we are actively in His Word and in prayer getting to know Him one on one. I cannot experience salvation or personal growth for you anymore than I can eat a good meal on your behalf and expect you to be nourished.
Finally, it’s work – but the blessings are guaranteed. It’s easy to sit and soak at church. I had a pastor who often said that we can be like kittens drowning in cream. We can be recipients of all kinds of Bible truth, but we never really grow. It takes work to develop a relationship with God just like it takes work to build any relationship. But the rewards far outweigh the effort. People who work at their relationship with God, who spend time on their own getting to know Him become mature believers. They’re the ones who always seem to know what God expects in any circumstance. They’re the ones who always are able to weather the storms of life. They’re the ones who always have just the right words of comfort and counsel to others who are struggling. Sadly, they are often the exception. We all can be that kind of exceptional believer and we all have a responsibility to be that kind of believer. All it takes is that first step toward drawing closer to God.