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Lots of young people ask me how I’ve managed to stay intimate with the Lord through the years. I often say is the grace of God. However, embedded in the grace of God are principles for staying connected and growing a deeper, richer and fuller relationship with God. It is those principles that I’ll like to share with you today.
First, I will need us to understand the concept of intimacy with God. Religious activities and philanthropy are not proofs/guarantee of intimacy. They definitely can be outflow of intimacy but are never in themselves (alone) proofs of intimacy.
God’s idea of intimacy is pretty simple. Like the Wikipedia definition which says, “Intimacy is close friendship”. Intimacy with God is actually close friendship with God. This close friendship is one that may or may not evoke emotional sentiments (evokes in me) but definitely involves the following:
· Allegiance to each other: God stands for you and you stand for Him in every situation.
· Oneness in mind: You think God’s thoughts and willingly surrender your opinions when yours seem not to align with His for whatever reason.
· Transparency: He reveals His decisions to you, Lets you in on secrets of the kingdom, nations of the world and other people’s lives
· Intense communication: He doesn’t do stuffs without seeking your opinion (Genesis 18:17)
· Bliss: Yes some kind of inexplicable joy that seems to live permanently in your heart in every season.
This is beginning to look like a marriage between a man and a woman right?
What we have with the Lord as believers is actually a marriage (union of spirit, hearts and souls). “But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him.” 1 Corinthians 6:17 (NLT)
Like other human relationships, there are codes of conducts/principles that are vital for the survival of the relationship between us and God. Below are the quick tips you need to know about
1. Keep a sincere heart
“Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled [clean] from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. “ Hebrews 10:22
In a performance based world as ours, it is easy to slip into a realm of operations where one thinks he/she has to outperform others in other to be noticed by God. God already knows you- past, present and possible future actions. Therefore, He is not impressed when we sign up to serve in 5 departments/ministries in church just because we want him to see us. Even before Zachaeus went up the sychamore tree, Jesus already knew he (Zachaeus) was there. Jesus already knew He was going to dine at Zachaeus’table. Jesus didn’t go to Zachaeus’ house because Zachaeus went up the tree (Luke 19).
Following the Lord with a sincere heart encapsulates the genuinety of the human soul, in that we turn to GOD as our ONLY and LAST RESORT IN ALL THINGS. It entails seeking the Lord not for what His hands give but first for who HE IS!
This means you will prefer and love him enough to stay with Him when you feel disappointed or when your hope seem dashed against the cold rocks of life.
Would you open up to a friend who is there in “good weather”only? Neither would God. People who come to Him for the good moments only would never experience the satisfaction that true intimacy with Him gives.
Watch your heart.
2. Die to Self Daily:
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. Mathew 16:24 (NIV)
A disciple is one who learns from a leader, who takes instructions and adapts to the convictions and lifestyle of his leader. One of the requirements of being a true disciple of Christ is death to self.
Earlier I said oneness/sameness is a component of intimacy with God. This oneness is brewed into maturitiy in a discipleship relationship that requires that we make daily decisions to give up our comforts, opinions, ambitions as often as situations present.
In what areas are you holding back on self? Give it up consistenly as embrace a new dimension of intimacy with the Lord.
3. Care about How He feels
The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant. Psalm 25:14 (KJV)
The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant. Psalm 25:14 (ESV)
The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. Psalm 25:14 (NIV)
Some people think to fear God is to not chew gum in church, walk sanctimoniously when entering a church building, kneel down one thousand times at the mention of the name Jesus in a song.
In as much as these things are okay if they help our minds concentrate during a service, they are not proofs of fear of the Lord. To fear God is to genuinely care about and prioritise his opinion, his feeling, his standard in every aspect of our lives.
Who do you think about when you're faced with decisions? Yourself, a significant other or the Lord?
Read: Diplomacy or Denial?
Fear doesn’t have to be associated with judgment. We don’t fear the Lord only because we don’t want to be consumed by His fire. God is not interested in burning anyone down. He is rather interested in bringing us to the point where we obey him out of love and not terror for His judgement. This is why the proof of love for God is in how we treat his instruction. “If ye love me, keep my commandments” John 14:15 (KB)
Earlier I mentioned that transparency was one of the components of intimacy with God. When God sees that you genuinely care about (Fear) HIM, He will let you into deeper things about Himself, the kingdom and the others.
Do you really care about Him?
I pray that the Love of Christ bursts through every opposition to the nature of God in you and that you consistently commit to growing in oneness with Him, until you truly be aligned in his will in every aspect of your life in JESUS NAME, AMEN!!!
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