Some people are hyper-religious and super-spiritual – and obnoxious. If that’s what “intimacy with God” produces, who wants it? Others have experienced such intimacy with God that they are changed forever, and you just want to be around them. You can sense that “they have been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13) Isn’t that what you want? How can you find intimacy with God?
Intimacy with God is not something only available to hermits and saints. Or more correctly, in the body of Christ we are all called saints! God created us for intimacy with Himself. And much of that we can experience here and now.
So how do you find that? How can you experience intimacy with God?
Intimacy cannot exist without relationship. Taking the clothes off your body (hopefully with your spouse) does not in itself mean intimacy. Intimacy means understanding, seeing and being seen, having no barriers between, being “naked” together physically, emotionally, and spiritually. And that takes time to develop.
Intimacy with God takes time to develop as well.
Don’t mistake what someone else describes as intimacy with God as necessarily the way it will look between you and God. You are an individual, and God will relate to you as an individual.
Intimacy with God will develop as you go through life together with Him. Experiencing Him with you as you go through tough times will increase your connection with Him. Spending time in His presence both alone and in corporate worship will increase your ability to hear Him.
In your daily time with God, don’t just read something and recite a prayer listing your requests. Those things are good, but are not enough. Take time to share your heart with Him. And then stay a little longer to be quiet and listen.
Open Every Door
You can’t keep God at arm’s length and experience intimacy with Him at the same time. Asking God to “fix” a problem, and then resisting when He wants to deal with something in your life, won’t work. Intimacy with God requires that He have access to all of you.
In the allegory My Heart – Christ’s Home, our life is compared to a home with many rooms. Jesus wants complete access to it all! Yes, even the junk closet that you’d prefer to keep hidden. That’s the only way intimacy can happen.
Are you keeping any rooms off limits to Him? What about the entertainment you engage in, or the guests you invite into your life? Are the appetites you engage in, and the way you care for both your body and your mind, open to His input? The wounds you have experienced in the past – does He have access? What about your work/vocation?
If you want intimacy with God, He needs access to every room in your heart/life. In 21st century English, that especially means your schedule, your bank account, and your sexuality.
Follow Where He Leads
When Jesus has access, He changes things. He loves you just as you are! But He also loves you too much to stop at anything less than recreating you to be who He originally designed you to be. The closer you come to Him, the more you are changed. (See 2 Corinthians 3:18)
Throughout your life on earth, the Holy Spirit will regularly put His finger on something in your life, pull it into the light, and say, “Here, this needs to change. Let Me change you here.”
When He does that, agree with Him. It’s not a matter of trying harder! When you sense an area God needs to change, run to Him with it. Intentionally give Him access to that part of you. When He tells you to do something, do it.
He is a Good Father, a Good Shepherd. He has a good future for you. And the way to experience that good future is to follow Him in each small step along the way.
Listen for His Heart
Intimacy with God means caring about what He cares about. The closer you come to Him, the more you sense how He feels. You smile when He smiles. You cry when He cries. Your heart breaks at what breaks His heart.
Keith Wheeler recently talked about this on our podcast. In walking with Jesus, following Him, your heart becomes like His heart.
That will always lead to something bigger than you. Intimacy with God is not for goosebumps; it’s for the benefit of His children. Who is He putting in your sphere of influence to impact for His kingdom? Whose pain has He allowed you to feel?
As you listen for His heart, you will naturally become His hands and feet to people around you.
Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
Intimacy with God is not a one-time thing. Oh praise Him for the moments you and I have felt His presence close! A true encounter with God will leave you permanently changed. But true intimacy is a lifestyle.
As with human relationships, relationship with God has seasons. There will be times of sweet presence, where it’s you and Him together in solitude, and you feast on His goodness. There will be times behind enemy lines where you sense His strength empowering you as you work with Him to press back the kingdom of darkness. And there will be seasons where you are being poured out in ministry to others, fulfilling the Great Commission as you help others come to follow Him and develop their own intimacy.
Stay close. Keep coming back into His presence, allowing Him to keep changing you, and showing you His heart.
And your journey of intimacy with God will just be the beginning of an eternity more satisfying and joyful than you or I can now imagine.
Your Turn: Have you experienced intimacy with God? For just a moment? Or are you experiencing that now? Which of these steps might you need to focus on next? Leave a comment below.
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Can’t Talk to Anyone?
We were created for intimacy. Feeling lonely is a natural result when you don’t have intimacy. So what DO you do when you feel you can’t talk to anyone?
Get our free download When You Can’t Talk to Anyone (Even at Church). And you’ll get some follow-up suggested steps you can take next.