Intimacy with God is the most valuable thing we possess. It must not be lost or neglected. From it God allows His desires to apply to us. A significant desire of His is to fill us with His Spirit. Through the Spirit He accomplishes all other desires toward us. He avails us the mind of Christ and the sanctification that keeps us intimate with Him. For these reasons, our life is very valuable to Him and our intimacy with Him likewise. The moment we begin straying from Him we begin becoming weak in mind. Continuing to stray from Him will make us guilty of deliberating to ignore Him. Our mind is fragile. Its robustness is entirely depended on whether or not we choose intimacy with God. There are many factors that lead to the breaking of intimacy with Him. But those factors do not come into effect by the choice we make.
The choice is listening to the right things proclaimed from the Word of God. By listening I mean embracing. We must stick to the truth of the gospel and not the teachings of unprincipled men. There are many gospels being preached and all are attributed to Jesus Christ. Yet, there is only one true gospel and we are to stick to it. There is a way to stick to it until our last breath. And the Word of God tells us how. “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). Intimacy with God is broken when men and women begin accepting every spirit. Again, one never acquires intimacy with Him if he or she has begun by believing every spirit; salvation never happens in them. To accept every spirit is the first step to step away from a perfect relationship with God. It is noteworthy point that all spirits that come with another gospel are very clever with stupendous knowledge and claims. They come with a gospel that is seemingly true, for they are able to disguise themselves as the master of disguise, the devil.
Intimacy with God must be sustained. It is done by actually using it. By using it we can test the spirit, who revealed himself to us. If in the days of the early church there was necessity for believers to test the spirits, it is only much more these days. False prophets have always been there and now in great numbers. Because of them, belief in God and Jesus is minimized in the saved while others perish. They give prominence to flesh and its works for serving God and the result of which is disaster. Keeping intimacy with God keeps us from them. We know how to do it. It is by keeping His commandments, walking according to His will, desires and seeking His counsel regarding the things we face. Intimacy with God details His trueness to us, since His Spirit indwells us. It is utter truth that intimacy with Him is lost by paying attention to every spirit and this in turn is the reason for losing His blessings. When I say blessings, it is not merely the physical, but the more important ones like the surpassing grace, the peace that exceeds all understanding and the mercy that protects us in all situations. By losing the more important ones life becomes miserable. God too will not fully interfere. As we made a wrong choice, He waits until we turn to Him.
Using our intimacy with God is being obedient to Him. Then intimacy is by obedience. Jesus was born holy and He remained perfect, i.e. sinless, because He did not lose His holiness. He never used His flesh for it, though He was in the flesh. He faced temptations that were sometimes remarkable. Many times men tried to trick Him that He should stray, but He stayed perfect. How did He do it? It is by obeying the Father at all times, i.e. He used His intimacy with the Father. So, the Spirit reminds us of Him saying, “And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation” (Heb. 5:9). We often use Jesus as an example. The most significant of them ought to be intimacy with God. It is by it alone He became an example for all the things of God. When He became the source of our eternal salvation, it means He became the source of everything that pertains to it including intimacy with God. It is the only factor that rescues us from all the evil that tries to fall upon us; for God is moved by intimacy.
As long as we keep Christ as example for intimacy with God, there is no reason to stray. We quite easily test the spirits and embrace those that are of the truth. The primary pitfall of not being intimate with God is compromising the truth. This makes us supporters of sin and thus, very much sinners. But God has called us to condemn sin and for this reason, has become intimate with us. As we are willing for it, He gives power, grace and mercy to work against sin. It is the lack of such willingness in Christians today that they tolerate sin in the churches. It is eventually catching up with them; even entering their homes and causing disaster. The power of the world is suppressing them. But, we who are chosen by God for Christ are to act contrary to them. “Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Cor. 5:8).
Paul referred Christ to the Passover feast. Originally Passover was celebrated by Israel to remember God exempting them from death when He killed all the firstborn of the Egyptians. Now, Christ has become our Passover, since through Him God passed over our sin and death bringing us life. To celebrate this Christ is to continually rejoice in the life God gave us. But here is the virtue that defines intimacy with God – celebrating Him without sin. So, when we test the spirits, we make righteous judgments. Celebrating Christ is the first step of intimacy with God; neglecting it costs us intimacy with Him. Those that preach another gospel never formed intimacy with Him. What does it mean? They celebrate Christ outwardly while still in sin. This indeed is their sin. If believers pay heed to them, they forego intimacy with God. For they bring back into them the nature of old leaven.
Now, when we are intimate with God, this is how we know whether or not a spirit is of God. “Therefore Pilate said to Him, ‘So You are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice’” (John 18:37). He who hears the voice of Christ, i.e. he who recognizes His Word and understands it, is of God. The channel for intimacy with God is the voice of Jesus. This is the way by which He becomes an example for intimacy with God. His voice is from the Word, an understanding given to the heart of one intimate with God. It is not concerning any man, but of the fullness of Deity; it is concerning the manner in which God works, and when, so that he or she also realizes the intent of men proclaiming the gospel. It educates for the truth to ably test the spirits. For none of the spirits that are not of truth and preach the gospel publicly deny that Jesus is king. In fact, they publicly embrace it. And, many are caught up in their deception.
When intimate with God, we can be sure of one thing. He leads us to the truth. The following can explain it. “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; otherwise the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear results” (Mark 2:21). God is wiser than men, even righteous. He does not give the truth to the deceiving men with whom it will not yield Him glory. The logic is obvious. God only looks for the obedient when He is willing to give His truth. Our continual intimacy with Him makes us the obedient. So, when we are in need of truth, when our inner man seeks wise discernment, God in Christ gives His unmatchable truth that we who are of the truth should know them. For He knows we face challenges about His truth; He knows we often face new ideas and philosophies that belittle our faith; He is aware we face men compromising the truth for works and teachings that seem to praise and glorify God.
After God has availed His truth we ought to stand fast in it. Do not doubt it. Though men may call it dubious, we should not forsake it for the fear of them. For it has come to us from the Almighty God who knows no evil; it has come for the sake of His Son, who has done no evil. He will give it victory, because He assuredly said, “But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known” (Luke 12:2). Let us not listen to every spirit. In doing so, at the right time God will reveal their disguise. As for us, He prepares a pedestal to set us on for the sake of His truth in us. The intimacy we maintain with Him through Jesus will reap us honor.
Therefore, let us be wary lest we lose our intimacy with God. He has great things planned for us both for our honor and His glory. Some of them are already in motion. He is eager to manifest their outcome to us. Intimacy with Him once had its fruit and bestowed honor when a man was spoken to in this manner. “The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear an utterance from His mouth” (Acts 22:14).