Monthly Archives: July 2010

INTIMACY WITH GOD

We’ve heard it said quite frequently that Christianity isn’t a religion, it’s a relationship, and this is a true statement. However, in the context of today’s society, this statement is woefully inadequate. With the wealth of technological communication such as texting, Twitter, and Facebook, relationships are, at best, shallow and impersonal. Face to face communication has been replaced by pounding the keys of a twenty four square inch “phone”, and heart to heart communication has been replaced by generic “current status” updates on social network web sites. The “personal” touch in human relationships is quickly barreling into extinction.

Thus, when we tell people that Christianity is a relationship with Jesus Christ their minds grasp the current definition of what relationships are – a distant, impersonal, shallow acquaintance, and this doesn’t seem like such a big deal to them,. But this is far from God’s definition of what a relationship with Himself really means. Nowhere in the Bible does one find God desiring a shallow relationship with us. On the contrary, He desires us to have a deep, intimate relationship with Him. The Bible says that when we trust Jesus as Savior, we are adopted into the family of God and become His sons and daughters, and we can thus come to Him as Abba, Father (Abba is Aramaic and conveys the idea of “daddy”). Galatians 4:6 says:” Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” 

One of the incredible realities of the cross is that Jesus reconciled us to the Father. This reconciliation brought us, who were alienated from God because of sin, back into fellowship with the eternal, almighty God of the universe. Romans 5:10 says: “For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life! “.  Jesus talked about this intimacy in the upper room discourse the night before He was crucified.  Jesus said in John 17:20-21: “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me. ” , and He said this in John 17:26: “I have made You known to them, and will continue to make You known in order that the love You have for Me may be in them and that I Myself may be in them.”  How wonderful is that!

The sad fact is, however, that very few Christians ever experience the depth of this wonderful relationship with God.  Far too many settle for a relationship with God that is shallow and distant. Intimacy with Him, which He desires us to have, eludes them all of their lives and they miss out on the greatest relationship one can ever hope for.

But, what is intimacy with God? It is not some mushy, hyped up, brainless emotion, nor is it just an academic understanding of facts about Him. Intimacy with God has its foundation in our intellect and then builds on this knowledge with our experience with Him. It is a healthy balance of our intellectual understanding which leads us to be in awe of Him  and our emotional experience which leads us to be in love for Him. 

Practically, intimacy with God is living each day in the reality and power of His presence. It is knowing Him, really knowing Him, and understanding just how much He means in your life. It is acknowledging who you were without Him, who you are now with Him, and grasping hold of the powerful truths of the cross. It is spending time with Him every day and talking with Him about everything throughout the day. It is having a hunger and thirst to know Him more and surrendering every aspect over life to Him. In short, it is falling in love with Him because of who He is and what He has done for you.

How does someone develop this intimacy with God? Well, it sure doesn’t come by osmosis. Like any relationship it takes time and effort. First we must want it, crave it, and not be satisfied with where we presently are in our relationship with Him. Then we must be intentional in doing the things that will build this intimacy: read the Bible – this is God speaking to us; pray – this is us conversing with Him; worship – this is us acknowledging His place in our lives as our All in All; serve – this is us experiencing His power through our lives as we partner with Him in mission here on earth; surrender and die to self – this is giving Him total control of our lives.  Those believers who walked in intimacy with Him practiced these disciplines, which made them hungrier and hungrier to know Him more.

Are you walking in intimacy with our marvelous God? Would you define your relationship with Him as shallow or deep? As “Facebook” or as face-to-face? Remember, intimacy isn’t reserved for only the “super saints”, it is God’s desire for all of His kids.
Are you hungry for God, and are you willing to be intentional in building an intimate relationship with Him? He’s waiting for you with open arms.