I have always wanted from the time I became born-again to know God in an intimate way. From the moment I believed in Jesus, I always knew God was a living God and that it is possible to live in very close fellowship with Him, hearing His voice clearly and obeying Him fully.
Yet that dream eluded me for the most part of my Christian life. The hunger never seemed to be satisfied no matter how intense I desired to know God more. Now I’m not saying a Christian should and can come to a place where they don’t desire or see a need for more of God, but I’m talking about coming to a place where relationship with God is not shallow. Where it is not just about going to church, being busy with activities, or even having knowledge of Scriptures. I’m talking of the place where you know that you know that you know, “God is with me, He’s my Father, my Friend, I talk to him, and I hear him talk back to me. I actually enjoy him.”
From my personal experience and from interactions with others, I know it’s a genuine desire of many of God’s dear children, majority of whom never come to know God in ways that are satisfactory to his fatherly heart.
Why did it take me so long?
It is worth saying that intimacy with God is neither instantaneous nor automatic for anyone who gets born-again. Salvation opens the door for relationship with God, yet individual Christians experience various levels or degrees of fellowship with God. Why?
- Intimacy is developed
Becoming more intimate with God is a process. You begin relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ, and you start learning about God and His ways through His Word and through developing a prayer life (style). Somehow, it is right to say you can’t microwave this stage, but it would be right as well to say there are things you can do to slow the process or to never arrive at knowing God more intimately, which is where the next points come in.
- Desire is not enough
Desiring to know God more will NOT make you know Him if the desire is not being matched with corresponding actions of fellowship with God and studying His Word. We must act on the desires springing up in our hearts in order to see the dreams realized.
- Prayer is not the solution
By prayer here I mean petitioning God to make you know Him more as if intimacy will come as an answer to prayer, without responsibility on your part. That was a big one with me. For years I prayed, “O Lord, I want to know you more.” But honestly my study of the Word and my prayer life were neither consistent with nor commensurate to the desire in my heart. I read Christian books and listened to audio teachings, and though that helped greatly, it still fell short of my desire as I acquired a head full of knowledge. And I would sometimes pray, “Lord, I want the kind of intimacy that So-and-so had or has with you.” and finally the answer to my prayer was point below.
- Intimacy is not given. It is pursued
As your God and Father, the LORD is withholding nothing from you that he desires you to have. And the primary purpose of our creation and salvation in Christ Jesus is to have children can relate with in very intimate ways. Therefore it is not God that determines how intimate with him you can be. It’s your responsibility.
I know that can be a little hard for some to receive, but it’s the truth. It would be great if we could aimlessly browse the internet all day every day, watch all the movies we can, attend to everything that demands our attention, and somehow still arrive at being intimate with God. But that’s not how it works.
One of the heroes I was looking at his life and desiring such intimacy with God has an account of his life where his family rejected him and he lived some time as a homeless young man, sometimes outside in the winter snow, and during those moments, he just loved on God. If he was chatting with others and it was time to go talk with God, nothing would stop him from doing so. He would quietly withdraw from the company and make time for God.
The question I asked myself when I realized intimacy is pursued was whether this guy never had the same human limitations I do. Of course, if he was human, he did. Yet how many times had I excused not spending time with God for various reasons, “I am chatting on social media, I might miss out on something important if I now go talk with God”, “the morning is too cold, let me sleep a little longer,” “My body feels weak, let me rest awhile” (only to wake up hours later to do other business). “I feel the Holy Spirit prompting me to pray or study, but…er…” and yet desiring more of God! That doesn’t sound anyway closer to a pursuit. It’s called wishing, and it won’t get the job done!
- Intimacy is a living relationship.
Busyness and service can never replace intimacy with God. Yesterday’s devotedness will never excuse today’s complacency, laziness and procrastination. Hearing God’s voice is imperative at all times. It’s not about having knowledge of God; it’s knowing him, becoming more intimately acquainted with him as we learn to recognize his voice more clearly. It is possible to have the right theological knowledge and yet not know God, therefore, while we need to have correct knowledge of God, we need to seek a daily living relationship with him. He is a living person, not some abstract force or power somewhere out there. We can know him. He wants us to.
- A pursuit is a conscious adventure.
It’s been said so many times that the message has been drained out of the statement, “you need to make out time for God”, but the reality of that encouragement remains till the Lord comes again.
If we do not consciously and intentionally make out time for God, our relationship with Him suffers, and no amount of desire or prayer for more of God will make us know God more.
Choose today to make relationship with God a priority. Spend ample time with him, in praise and worship, in listening to his voice, in prayer taking even the tiniest concerns of your life to him. He is your Father.
Psalm 27:8 KJV
When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.