Building a Relationship With God - Are You Just Mowing God's Lawn - an image of a person in a red shirt pushing a red lawn mower in the grass
Spiritual Growth - Living a Life of Faith

Building a Relationship With God – Are You Just “Mowing God’s Lawn”?

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Personal communion is defined as “the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level.” It is friendship, kinship. Think about time you spend with family and friends. That is communing with them! Are we communing with God? Are you building a relationship with God or are you just mowing His lawn? Find out what I mean by reading on!

Building a Relationship With God - Are You Just Mowing God's Lawn - an image of a person in a red shirt pushing a red lawn mower in the grass

Personal Communion – What Communion Is

When we hear the word “communion”  we tend to think of it as the physical act of taking the bread and wine at church. But communion is spending time with someone in conversation, physical expression, and so on.

Every conversation we have with friends is communion with them.

When you speak to your parents, you are experiencing communion with them. Every time you spend time with your spouse, sharing your day with them, is communion.

It is a verb as well as a noun!

But many times, when it comes to God, we focus on the noun and not the verb. We focus more on the act of taking communion than building a relationship with God that we should also partake in.

Think of any meaningful relationship you have with someone, whether a spouse or child. When you are in a close relationship you naturally want to do things FOR the person do you not? Building a relationship with God will naturally cause us to do FOR Him, like in the story I am about to share with you about two sons!

Building a Relationship With God – A Tale of Two Sons

Picture a father who has two sons.

One son comes to the house each week and mows his father’s lawn. He goes and does the grocery shopping for him and runs errands for him.

The son may see if the father needs anything else and happily does what he can for him. The father, sensing his son’s desire to get on with his own business, tells him he’s good. They say their goodbyes and the son tells him he’ll be by next week to do it all again.

Sounds like a wonderful son right?

But then let’s look at son number two.

The Second Son

This son comes to the house and makes the father a cup of coffee, sits down in the living room with him and asks how his week was.

The father tells him all about the people he spoke to that week. They laugh and share stories about when the son was a little boy. They may talk a bit about Mom and how they miss her.

The son shares with his father how his job is going. He may talk about the girl he met that he really likes! The father may ask him to bring the girl by if “things get serious”. They chuckle a bit and share more stories.

The father mentions his shoes are getting kind of worn out, so the son drives the father down to the store and they pick him out a new pair.

When he brings him home, the son makes dinner for his father and sits down and eats with him. They watch a movie together! He knows his father loves to laugh and so he picked out a great comedy for them to watch.

Then the time comes for the son to go home. He gives the father a big hug and tells him he will see him next weekend and maybe they can go fishing if the weather is nice! They say goodbye and the father heads to bed, happy for the time he got to spend with his son.

Are You Building a Relationship With God or Are You Just Mowing His Lawn?

Both sons in this story are good sons! They both love their father, they both take the time out each week to go to his house and make sure he’s doing ok. The father appreciates BOTH sons and loves them the same!

But son number one was focused on DOING for the father. He was focused on the obligatory tasks he had to do as a son. He didn’t really stop and enjoy his father. There was no sharing; just doing.

But son number two took the time in communion with his father. He did do some tasks for him! He took his father to the store, he made him dinner, he thought ahead of time about what his father might like to watch.

But the most meaningful part of this encounter with the second son was the time spent laughing, telling stories, and sharing life together!

Are you just mowing God’s lawn?

Are you spending time on building a relationship WITH God or are you doing things FOR God?

Yes, there should be things we should do for the Kingdom! Even Jesus said, at a very young age in Luke 2:49:

“And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” KJV

The Word says in James 2:14-17:

“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.

If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (NIV)

A woman serving soup in a soup kitchen and a text overlay quoting James 2:14

Faith without works is dead. We NEED to have works so that we can be about our Father’s business here on this earth! We cannot just sit at home and take comfort in our salvation.

But if all we do is work FOR God without spending time WITH God, then we are not in relationship.

Are you spending time with the Father or just ‘mowing His lawn’?

As a blogger, I can tell you I have to be VERY careful about how my time is spent. I could easily fall into the “doing” of my ministry and feel like I am serving God well, but God wants His daughter to spend time WITH Him too.

3 Key Ways to Build a Relationship With God

1. The Ultimate Self-Care Guide – Prayer

There is so much talk these days about the importance of self-care. Whether you are Christian or not, you have likely seen and read articles about self-care.

Let me offer to you here the ultimate self-care guide. This is the self-care guide that should come before any other! A self-care guide that should be the foundation of everything you do to take care of yourself or others.

Are you ready? This is big!

Prayer!

Shocker right? (I am being facetious of course!)

Prayer is the ultimate self-care guide. It is (or at least should be) the foundation for everything else we do in our lives.

Prayer is spending time with our Father, not just doing for Him!

When we spend that time with Him in prayer, we can be filled! We can receive the help we need!

Prayer is the Master Key and the Key to the Master

Prayer, along with a study of the Word, is not only the master key to all things but it is the key to the Master Himself.

We grow in building a relationship with God, not by doing things we think He wants us doing, but by going to Him and being fed.

How do we know if the works we are doing are what God wants us to spend our time on (or if we called to them) if we don’t seek Him first?

Prayer is the master key and the key to the Master!

We can be like the first son and believe “doing” for our Father is showing love or we can take the time out to have personal communion with Him AND doing for Him!

Like most other things in life, balance is needed. God is not telling us to be so heavenly focused we are no earthly good. He is telling us that to be effective IN the world, we need to go to the source to be refreshed and renewed.

How did the second son know his father liked comedy movies? By spending time with him.

How do we know what direction God wants us to take? By spending time with Him, through prayer and His Word!

Let’s not just “mow the lawn” but stop in and spend time with our Father in personal communion with Him. Let’s just rest in His presence, put our head on His shoulder, and just love on Him! Let’s be about the business of building a relationship with God and not just doing FOR Him! That part will come naturally from relationship!

If prayer is something you struggle with, learn more about the ACTS Prayer Method below!

2. Study the Word

Getting into God’s Word helps you learn more about Him and His character.

The way we get to grow close to another person is to spend time with them and also by observing them. I know how my husband will react in certain situations, what opinions he will have, how he will feel about things that come up in life.  I know this because I have observed him a long time.

When it comes to God, the way we “observe” Him is through His Word. We see how He responds to people, the instructions He gives, the blessings He promises. It is our lens into His character and His great love for us.

Studying the Word and not just reading it is a great way to really dig in to who He is. Memorizing scripture helps us to recall His words at any time when we may need them. I have God speak to me through a verse I was able to recall that fit the situation I was in.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 says:

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. NKJV

An image of a Bible on a wooden table with a red coffee mug on the right and purple flowers on the left with a text overlay with 2 Timothy 3:16 quoted

If you find Bible study intimidating, I have a great, free method to share with you called the SOAP Bible study method. You can learn more about it at this post and you can sign up for a free SOAP Bible study workbook below!

3. Learning the Roots of Your Faith

Now, I admit I am partial to this one because of being a Messianic Jew, but this TRULY is a way to go about building a relationship with God and learning more about how Jesus was all throughout Biblical history, not just the New Testament.

By learning about the Passover, you understand more of the Last Supper and communion. By learning about what happened on the Day of Atonement you understand the significance of the veil of the temple being torn in two.

These festivals tell a story of a Savior. They were foreshadows of a Messiah.

All these things work together to give you such a deeper understanding of who He is and all He wants for you as His child.

Building a relationship with God is simple. It is devoting time to Him as Father and just basking in His presence.

Share with us in the comments different ways you have found to help with building a relationship with God and drawing closer to Him and just being in His presence! 


Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

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41 Comments

  1. Well, there’s certainly enough convicting material in this post to fuel a long ponder over my second cup of tea this morning. Thank you, Diane, for this thoughtful offering.

  2. I love words that are both verbs and nouns (it’s one reason I chose Lisa ‘notes’ as my blog title since ‘notes’ is both a verb and a noun). Thanks for expanding my view of communion. I want to actually be in communion with God!

  3. Love this! Prayer truly is the BEST self-care, I think that is the point of having a day of rest. We renew when we stop and spend time with our Creator. My favorite line though is
    “Prayer, along with a study of the Word, is not only the master key to all things but it is the key to the Master Himself.”
    I feel so luck to write about God’s Word as it gives me more time to study it and spend time with Him! Many Thanks 8)

    1. Thank you so much Debra!! You’re correct! That is exactly the point of the Sabbath! To renew ourselves by focusing on God without all the distractions of life! Thank you!

  4. You have written such valuable truths,Diane ! I have always made sure to be intentional in prayer and communing with my Heavenly Father and not be superficially mowing the lawn.

    Great post – tweeting and pinning as well

  5. My favorite sentence: Every conversation we have with friends is communion with them. Will try to keep that in mind. Thanks for sharing you gift with us.

  6. Yes, it is so easy to get busy doing for God and not spending time with him. I try to make it a habit to put him first. Today I was debating whether to get out on the mountain or stay home and get work done. You convinced me to get out and commune with God in a place I love to meet HIM. Thank you, Maree

  7. When I first read your metaphor of the two sons, I was skeptical because I thought they were both loving their father in two different ways. But as I continued to read, I think you made a really good connection to communion. I definitely feel more connected to people who take the time to sit with me and know me versus people who just do tasks (a certain loved one comes to mind whose love language is “acts of service” – and I’m working on choosing to believe the best instead of focusing on what is lacking 🙂 ). This is also very convicting to me about spending quality time with God. Thank you for writing this.

  8. This is so well put. Both are necessary, but ‘mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken from her!’ personal communion is necessary, or we can become works based and legalistic

  9. Wow! So much to mull over here, Diane! I love that analogy! I really want to find that balance; may the Lord help me. Thanks for your insightful post.

  10. I love this post. In my relationships with people, I can tend to concentrate more on doing for them rather than just being with them. I need to make sure that doesn’t happen in my relationship with God, and I need to work on it in my relationship with others as well.

    1. Yes it is SO easy to do that in our relationships. I know it happens in my marriage as well. We can get so focused on doing FOR each other that we forget the other person just wants us to be there. So yes, we have to watch that we don’t do the same with God too!

    1. LOL We all tend to get behind that mower now and again! I chose this post this week from a conversation I had with a friend on this topic so we all take turns cutting that grass from time to time LOL

  11. Diane, I’m sharing this in many spaces today!! I needed this reminder of keeping my “doing” in perspective. I think I’ve been a bit of a Martha lately and the Holy Spirit moved my heart as I read. One thing I try to do in my personal prayer time, is take pauses to listen to the Spirit lead me in my prayer. To listen to His leading through prayer is so often when He lays a person on my heart that I need to reach out to. He is so faithful in leading us. He is so faithful in pouring out His love through my prayer time.

    1. April I am so glad this encouraged you and that you found it helpful. I normally write from a place of “this is what I am struggling with myself” so I know how you feel! That is why I love being in a community of women who can encourage each other as we all move from one place in our walk to another!

  12. Diane,
    You have me thinking and realizing I need a readjustment. I’m in a small group right now, and we are in the old testament quite a bit. I am fascinated with learning about festivals. However, the homework is quite a bit, so I have cut way back from communing with God. I miss him.

    I usually pray using an acronym I came up with T.R.U.S.T. The S stands for sitting still with God and listening. I have not been doing this. I think a balance has a lot to do with it too. I can get so intrigued by learning about God and doing that; I skip the opportunity of being. Thank you for pointing me back to communing with God.

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