"Developing Intimacy with God"
Of all the Scripture verses I know and love, it is John 17:3 that gives to us the greatest insight into what it means to have an INTIMATE and PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP with God.
Listen to these beautiful words of Jesus: John 17:1–5 (NIV84)
1 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.
2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.
3 Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
4 I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.
5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
Now listen again to verse 3… Now this is eternal life: that they may KNOW you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
In other words, Jesus is saying to us that Eternal Life comes Through an Intimate and Personal Relationship through the Triune Godhead: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
For God not only Wants a Relationship with You… He Desires a Relationship with You…
He Created You for Relationship.
It was on the last day of creation, that God said...
26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
2:7 “The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” Genesis 1:26–27 / 2:7 (NIV84)
Just think about it, when God finished His work of creation He did so with a “personal touch.” When God Created Man…. He took the clay of the ground, molded and shaped it and breathed into it the breath of life and Man became a living being. God gave a part of Himself to each of us. Unique in all of creation… the Imago Dei: A Finite Humanity with an Infinite Spirit and Soul within that Humanity.
God gave to each of us:
+ Faith: Something to Believe in
+ Hope: Something to Live for
+ Love: That we might share His very Nature – for God is Love
+ Creation: That we could share in the creative process
+ Reason: So that we could interact with one-anther and with His Creation
+ Free-Will: So that we might make our own decisions
God Created Man in His Image: Because of all of creation… It is man that God both Wants and Desires to have a Relationship with. There is no higher honor that God could have given to man than to be Made in the Image of God!
God created to each of us to have a Intimate and Personal Relationship with Him and
that each of us knows Him the way He knows each of us.
Now, if I were to ask you what an intimate and personal relationship with
with God might look like, “What would you say?” I would suspect you, as with most Believers, you would have some difficulty Expressing or Maybe Even Understanding what an Intimate and Personal Relationship with God would look like…
…so let’s take a look a man whom the Bible says was “a Man after God’s own Heart. A Man whose Heart Desired and Yearned for an Intimate and Personal Relationship
with God: David!” (Acts 13:22) as found in Psalm 63:1-8.
Psalm 63:1-8 (NKJV)
(You see His consuming passion for His Lord.)
1 O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water.
· Yearning for God: Our souls and spirits will never experience satisfaction until we discover the joy of devotion to the only One who can fill our emptiness.
2 So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory.
· Awakened Spiritual Senses. When we draw near to God, He will draw near to us.
James 4:8. As we seek God, God reveals Himself to us. There is an awakening of our spiritual senses.
3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You. 4 Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.
· New Values and Priorities. We seek first the Kingdom of God. Matthew 6:33 (vv. 3-4). No other pursuit is more valuable. All the possessions, power, pleasures, and prestige this world offers are empty after experiencing the fullness of knowing the Lord.
5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips. 6 When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches.
· Satisfaction and Fulfillment. He captures our thoughts and emotions (v. 5-6). Do you remember what it feels like to be in love? No one had to tell you to think about your loved one; your thoughts just automatically flew to him or her. That’s what it’s like when we love the Savior. The joy of being in His presence satisfies us as nothing else can. Can you sense God Calling in the Night? Ex. Eli and Samuel.
7 Because You have been my help, Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice. 8 My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me.
· Trust and Dependence. God becomes our shelter in life’s storms when we crawl under His wings of protection and cling to Him in total dependence (vv. 7-8). Those who know intimacy with Him feel the safety that comes with submission to His will. Since they know His heart and trust His goodness and wisdom, they have no cause for fear.
How do you Develop and Intimate and
Personal Relationship with God?
The first step in your quest for intimacy with the Lord is To Know Him—Who He is, What He does, How He thinks, and What He desires.
You cultivate a close relationship with God the same way you
cultivate a relationship with your best friend — through
Time Spent Together, Communication, Vulnerability,
and Shared Interests.
Time Spent Together. We will never achieve closeness with the Lord unless we invest time and effort in getting to know Him. A neglected relationship simply won’t grow in richness or depth. Are you too busy to spend time each day with Him? If that is the case, the immediate demands of your schedule are robbing you of an awesome eternal treasure—deep, satisfying communion with God.
Two-Way Communication. The most obvious way to become better acquainted with the Lord is through two-way communication. But often our prayers are often monologues rather than dialogues. We come to Him with our list of concerns, but how often do we take time to listen for His response? Although God delights in hearing our prayers, He also wants us to be still and listen to Him.
· Since He speaks to us primarily through His Word, that’s where we will most likely hear His voice. Try interacting with the Lord by praying as you read Scripture. Meditate on His words and ask Him questions: “What are You saying to me? How does this apply to my life?” Then be still and listen, giving Him time to speak to your spirit. Just remember that whatever He says will never contradict His written Word. The more you listen, the more you’ll hear His voice, and soon your time with Him will become your greatest delight.
Vulnerability. Another important factor is our willingness to be open and honest, exposing every area of our lives to the Lord. No one can be forced into an intimate friendship with God. In fact, the depth of this relationship is limited by the extent of our transparency with Him. Although the natural response is to shrink from such vulnerability, we need to remember that He already knows us inside and out and loves us more than we can comprehend.
Shared Interests. If we’re going to grow in oneness with God, we must learn to share His interests. He is always attentive to our concerns, but do we really care about His desires and purposes? Are you more interested in the Lord or in what He can give you?
· Self-focused prayers, neglect of His Word, and overly busy schedules send an unspoken message to Him: “I’m not interested in You!” If your relationship with the Lord seems stagnant, maybe you have drifted into a self-centered focus that is hindering your friendship with Him.
What are the Results of our Knowing God?
Transformation. No one can have an intimate relationship with God and remain unchanged. A “Sunday Christian” lifestyle will no longer satisfy. As we begin to understand who He is, our love for Him grows and motivates us to radical obedience. Our experiences with Him teach us that He is faithful and can be trusted. Recognition of the wisdom and goodness of His plans prompts willing submission to His leadership. And before long, time spent with Him becomes the best part of each day. Instead of watching the clock, we’ll want to stay longer because His presence satisfies our souls as nothing else can.
Influence. This kind of passion for the Lord is contagious and influences others. My granddad was a man who knew God intimately. As he told me about the things that Christ had done in his life, a desire to know the Lord like that captured my heart and shaped the direction of my life from then on. I didn’t change overnight, but today the most powerful and awesome experience I have is getting face down before God, sensing oneness between His Spirit and mine.
Preparation for Heaven. One day every believer is going to meet the Lord. Will He be a stranger to you? The greatest investment we can make in this life is a wholehearted pursuit of a deep personal relationship with Him. The immediate earthly rewards are greater than any sacrifice, but the treasure awaiting us in heaven is beyond imagination. Eternal life begins the moment we are saved, and the Bible gives a very interesting description of it:
“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and
Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3).
Eternal life is now. Don’t wait for heaven; get to know your amazing Lord and Savior today
through an Intimate and Personal Relationship with Him.