A deeper intimacy with God has tremendous benefits. We can often find it difficult to maintain a pure and undivided relationship with God, if we allow it. And there are reasons for it. There are so many weaknesses of the flesh that often hinder our relationship with Him. Many of them can be avoided when we realize it is we who deliberate them. Again, for others we simply do not have the strength to overcome. For this reason also, no one should think they can lead their life or they figured it all. Then, there are the temptations and worries of Satan. He uses our weaknesses to fulfill his intent. All he wants for us is to fail and fail utterly; he aims to destroy or stop furthering our intimacy with God. He causes various omens to put fear in us. He has other resources, such as the actions of people that create uncomfortable and disappointing times to put great doubts in us. Yet, a wonderful feature of a deeper intimacy with God is to explain to us that these reasons can be overpowered.
In this article we will discuss the steps involved for a deeper intimacy with God.
1. Our faith must be sincere. Paul writes to Timothy saying, “For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well” (2 Tim. 1:5). We ought to be honest in our faith just as Timothy was. Often we see Christians not acting by faith. It surprises us to see the way they act. It is the result of not giving themselves to faith in Christ. The motive of their faith is to fulfill their ways and desires. The flaw in it is that it does not take God’s will, obedience and trusting Him into consideration. Examining ourselves to see if our faith is for Christ and His glory keeps us in a sincere faith. It was not superfluous that Paul amplified Timothy’s faith. He has seen quite a few with insincere faith. The likes of Phygelus and Hermogenes in Asia turned away from him. Hymenaeus and Alexander were two others with insincere faith. Many members of the church in Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus and Rome lived with one foot in the world. Having seen such tepidity, he amplified Timothy’s faith. So, what is sincere faith like?
• It takes nothing but God and Christ into consideration
• It has no viewpoint other than God’s
• It leads a person to entrust himself wholly to Christ
2. With a sincere faith we facilitate the next step. We permit God’s Spirit to dwell in us. The outcome is God in His holiness lives in us. A sincere faith is an omen for God’s righteousness in us and hence, a reason He dwells in us. The benefit is confidently carrying out the qualities of sincere faith. All things of God pertaining to us and Him are in us. We just have to extract them that our heart and mind are enlightened. When this did not happen, the Spirit in Paul called the wisdom of Christians into question. “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16).
3. Having an attitude that pleases Him. Our heart should respond to all His grace and mercy. It reflects the kind of faith we have. It must never be an outward act alone, but an outward act with an inward emotion. God first takes pleasure in our feelings for Him before He regards our outward praise. A heart filled with sincere emotions for Him will do just that which glorifies Him. It does not consider anyone’s views, place or time. It adores Him due to it being captivated by Him. “Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume” (John 12:3). The effect of adoring God will be His public testimony of us. All those pompous works that many have been doing and suggested we do the same will fall behind us.
4. We must store in us the wisdom of all the good things and marvelous works God has done. This is an intentional practice. It is easy to forget how powerful God is when we do not store in mind His deeds. Then, we tend to think He has limitations. The result is we hardly grow in intimacy with Him. We become like an old car that always needs a push to start, i.e. our heart is frozen. The disciples too had it. “For they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their heart was hardened” (Mark 6:52). It is one of the weaknesses our flesh concocts. It causes God sorrow, though He goes on to relentlessly work that we overcome. The sooner we overcome, i.e. the sooner we store the wisdom of His deeds, the greater the opportunity to be intimate with Him. Then, by believing we can believe all things are possible for Him toward us.
5. Hold on to the work Jesus did for us, and is willing to do, if we are willing. “For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth” (John 17:19). He consecrated Himself, possible only to God, so that we are made pure in truth. He did it by remaining in truth and without sin. This further reminds His suffering for us. His primary desire is we are filled with truth, the substance that cleans our heart, mind and soul. It is His truth in us that sets us apart from sin and the world. For this reason, whatever He says is righteous and we will do well to obey Him. When in truth God is intimate with us.
6. Finally, we must never trust in ourselves. This is contrary to the teachings of the world. Trusting in ourselves brings disappointments with no reversals. The world is a fine example for it. To not trust in ourselves means the only backdrop is seeking God’s wisdom. It is emptying our minds; reject all the thoughts that drift in it. Because honestly, they do not guarantee a good outcome; there are only assumptions. The more our mind thinks the greater the certainty of encumbrances. So, the best thing to do is to become foolish like Paul said. “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise” (1 Cor. 3:18).
When these steps are ours, we can absolutely be deeply intimate with God. God communicates with us with higher things, which also helps us overpower all hindrances. An example of how intimate God can be with a believer is seen with John. “After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, ‘Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things’” (Rev. 4:1). He was just a man, but he took the steps for intimacy with God. God can and wants to be intimate with us. The question is how willing are we.