Intimacy with God: obedience
The last few posts on this theme have focussed on why we should expect to hear from God, and some of the ways God speaks to us. Today I want to look at a different aspect of intimacy.
One of the keys to a truly intimate relationship with God is the issue of Lordship. We can only expect to have a truly intimate relationship with God if we are willing to do what He says.
We all want peace. When we first surrender our lives to Jesus, we have peace with God through the benefit of His sacrifice for us. We have a clean slate. There is no barrier between us and God, nothing that prevents us from hearing His voice and knowing His love.
So if there is no barrier between us and God, how does it come about that God’s voice gets obscured and hard for us to hear? How does it come about that we lose our peace and our confidence?
Some may say “Well, the Devil is attacking me”. Yes, but what basis does he have for attacking you if you are walking in faith and obedience to God? True, he will try to distract you with confusion, discouragement, and various other forms of temptation, but you can learn to overcome his attacks.
I’m convinced that one of the biggest reasons why we get discouraged is because we have not learned to embrace God’s will without reservation. In the Garden of Eden, the serpent tempted Eve to doubt God’s goodness. Ever since then, that has been our biggest downfall. Even after we come to Christ, we often still fall into old ways of thinking. We hear from God and set out on a course of action, full of faith. Then when obstacles come – as Jesus told us was bound to happen – we begin to wonder if God really knows what he is doing. This is called doublemindedness and it is one of our biggest enemies.
When we put our trust in Jesus and are born again into the Kingdom of God, our journey is only beginning. We still need to learn to think like citizens of the Kingdom. If we truly desire intimacy with God, one of the keys is to consciously retrain our minds to adopt the attitude of Jesus who said He could only do what He saw the Father doing (John 5:18-20).
To consistently walk in God’s blessing we have to believe that His will for us is good and we have to actively choose His will. A lot of people have the mistaken idea that being spiritual means passively resigning ourselves to whatever comes and calling it God’s will. In reality, the Spirit-led life involves actively discerning God’s purposes by reflection on Scripture and listening to the Holy Spirit, and then choosing to embrace that purpose with our whole heart.
We also have to recognize that there is another agenda at work in the world and that we are constantly being targetted by the Enemy to adopt his agenda. There really is no middle ground. The way to overcome Satan’s attacks is to be fully committed to God’s purposes. If we stay in that place, we will still get attacked, but when the day of evil comes we will be able to stand our ground and win the victory.
Intimacy with God is a wonderful blessing. It’s a free gift, made available through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross – but it’s also a daily choice. This choice will cost us our independence – but the reward is the glory of God.