4 Paths to Deeper Intimacy with God
4 Paths to Deeper Intimacy with God
Nylse Esahc iBelieve Contributing Writer
What if I told you that more peace, joy, hope, and love were possible for you, today? What if the key to those things wasn't in anything you do, but in who you pursue? Intimacy with God, closeness to Him and His Son, gives us gifts that far exceed anything we could chase here on earth. If you want this kind of closeness with God but aren't sure how to gain intimacy with Him, here are four paths to deeper intimacy and connection with our great God.
What do you think of when you think of intimacy? When you feel an intimate connection with someone, you feel:
Usually, we feel this kind of intimacy with a significant other – our partner, our parents, close friends and sometimes our children (when they are grown). But, is it possible to have these feelings with a sovereign divine God? I would say yes.
There was a time in my life when I felt so close to God, it was as if I could reach out and touch him. The closeness marked by intimacy was evident to me. His voice was audible to me, providing direction each step of the way, just as he said in his Word. I knew he guided me whether I spoke to my coworkers or my children. This deeper intimacy gave me confidence and peace. But then it seemed life got busier, and I became distracted by responsibilities, hobbies, even ministry. My priority changed, and I felt it; my confidence waned, and peace was fleeting. As life grew more complicated, I grew less satisfied. Recognition hit me, and I started the process of refocusing my eyes on the only thing that matters – God and God alone, and the intimacy my relationship with Him brings.
God Desires Intimacy with Us
Throughout the Bible, intimacy with God is encouraged. God wired us with the desire to be drawn to Him (John 6:44). Adam and Eve fellowshipped with God daily before the fall. Moses spent significant time with God in the Tent of Meeting, where the Lord spoke with Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend (Exodus 33:11).
Those our intimacy with God looks different now, we still have this personal access to him. When we dwell in the secret places of the Most High (Psalms 91:1), we are practicing intimacy. When we abide in Him, intimacy is forthcoming (John 15). When we draw near, we experience the mutuality of intimacy because when we draw near to Him, he will draw near to us (James 4:8).
Do You Have That Kind of Intimacy with God?
If you've not experienced deeper intimacy with God, this is where you start. If you have but lost it, this then is your starting point. The desire to know him more increases as the relationship deepens. You want more, you need more, and Jesus commands us to know him more. The psalmist puts it this way - My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me (Psalms 63:8).
Here Are 4 Paths to Deeper Intimacy with God:
1. Know God by Studying His Word
Intimacy starts with knowledge. Knowledge of who God is and knowing Him. It's hard to have intimacy with someone you don't know. Without knowledge of each other, intimacy will not grow. If you are not a Christian, step zero is to make him Lord of your life. The path to intimacy starts with believing in Jesus Christ. When the Philippian jailer asked, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? The apostles told him to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved (Acts 16:30). Belief in Christ initiates your knowledge of Him. By accepting who he is, you begin to see that he is a God who cares for you, God who loves you, and a God who wants what is best for you. You know this by the simple change in your life, but now the journey begins for greater intimacy.
2. Commit to Living for Him
The more time we spend with someone, the more we know them, and if we like them, the more we want to spend time with them. God built us for relationship; He wants to spend time with us; he wants our time and attention. There are no shortcuts to spending time with God. Start by spending time reading His word – the Bible. I always like to recommend that you read the Psalms in particular Psalms 119 to see how knowledge of God's word and, in turn, Him, can change your life. As you read, pause and think about what each word means. Because God's word is the Living Word, it will influence you and change you. I've found it helpful to pray a simple pray each time I read God's word – "Lord speak to me through your word; open my eyes and ears to understand what is written and then show me how to apply it to my life. Amen." The desire to hear from God and broaden my understanding of Him always yields a deeper understanding of Him. Which leads me to my third point.
3. Trust Him
My knowledge of Him grows through his revelations in my life. God is my friend, but he's not like any friend I've ever had. In human relationships, sometimes, our trust is not warranted, or our hearts are broken, not so with God. I want to be in his presence, not only receive his presents. This is what keeps me going. Deeper intimacy means that the quest continues forever, for our hunger and thirst is infinite and is only satisfied in eternity. The more we know of God, the more we want God. Our trust in God is not futile, neither is our faith for he alone is our hope. Yet because we live in this world, I'm so glad he left his presence with us in the form of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit. He is always with us, and we can always call on him. Life's situations will test us, but because we have an intimate relationship, there is nothing my God and I can't face together.
4. Prioritize Him
Deeper intimacy requires prioritizing our relationship with God as the most important thing in our life. It means removing distractions. Distractions hinder, making the journey longer. Distractions fool us into thinking we're doing all the right things, but we see no spiritual benefit or growth in our lives. Distractions produce dissatisfaction because our focus is no longer on He who is the author – the creator and finisher of our faith. We may make excuses for our distractions, but ultimately if we crave deeper intimacy with God, we will slowly remove them, or He will prune us and remove them for us.
Solomon was asked by God, "What do you want more than anything in the world?" He was assured that whatever he chose, God would give to him. He could have asked for wealth, or long life, or power over his enemies. But he asked for none of those things. Instead, He asked for wisdom, that intimate knowledge of God that strengthens one with the skill to guide and govern people in a way that pleases God. And so, because he chose intimacy with God over wealth, long life, or power over his enemies, God gave him what he asked for, and then threw in the other things as a bonus.
Solomon knew the importance of intimacy; he knew that apart from God he would not be a wise King. God chose to bless him profusely because of his desire but this is not the case for everyone who desires or has an intimate relationship with God. The blessing in going deeper is not always material but it is always spiritual. We become more like him – that's the blessing we all receive.
As I draw near, he draws near, like a puzzle that comes together, closing the gaps, smoothing out the edges. Once more, I've become more focused on the end goal - craving deeper intimacy with God. Though I've floundered, He was there. This is a God that deserves my all; when I'm close to Him, the harder it is for anything to come in between. Deeper intimacy with God is worth it and is the only thing that matters. Seek Him first, and everything else will fall into place (Matthew 6:33).
Nylse is a Christian wife and a mother of four who loves life and inspiring others. She likes to have fun but is very clear on who she is and Whose she is. A prolific thinker, she blogs to encourage others from a Christian perspective at www.lifenotesencouragement.com. She can be found online on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.