Are the following statements true?
- It is possible to acquire a great deal of knowledge about God without really knowing God?
- It is also possible to read about a person without ever knowing that Individual in a close, intimate way?
Please take a moment to reflect. I believe the above questions are certainly true.
Distractions from Knowing God
We are so easily distracted in our walk with God that I am fearful that we often mistake a quick read of our Bible with intimacy with God.
Many Christians do read their Bibles; yet, most will frequently leave scratching their heads, wondering what they just read. What causes this to happen?
I know from personal experience, in my time with God, that I have faced a myriad of distractions during my important time with God. I am writing these words at Chick-fil-A in Avon, Indiana. As I look around, I am amazed at how many husbands and wives are facing distractions in their walk with each other this very moment. Some are on cell phones; others have obviously lost focus on the conversation with their spouse; some are looking at other people rather than focusing on the one before them!
Do these distractions describe your time with God? If so,you must understand that the enemy of your soul conveniently places things around you, causing you to lose your focus with your Heavenly Father. Satan does not desire your personal time with God to become significant, nor for you to draw closer to God.
Christians often wonder why God appears so distant from them. One answer could certainly be found in the word “distraction.” Does this hit home with you today? Have certain distractions been robbing you of closeness with God? Have distractions stopped your ears so that you cannot truly listen to your Father as He speaks to you through His precious Word?
Furthermore, have distractions caused your mind to wander so that you have been unable to fully concentrate on God’s message to you? How can we build our intimacy with our Father, and how can we transform our devotions into something special and significant?
5 Steps to Intimacy
1. Intimacy comes with spending “Quality time” with an individual. As I look back over the time I spent dating my wife, I thought I really knew her prior to asking her to marry me. Yet, after all these years of marriage, I certainly know my sweet wife much better today than while we were dating . How has this happened?
It has come about due to the “quality time” we have spent together over the years. We have laughed, cried, shared fears, joys, hopes, and dreams. We have both spoken, yet we have also taken time to listen to the words as well as the heart of the other. Intimacy takes time, but the time, energy, and effort, are certainly worth the investment in the relationship.
2. Intimacy comes from carefully removing the distractions which have hindered the relationship. What happened at Chick-Fil-A yesterday happens on a daily basis with the Children of God. I encourage you to deal with these distractions immediately! You might not be aware of how much your Father desires to spend time with you.
3. Intimacy comes with having a clear focus on the other person. Paul had this focus when he wrote the words in Philippians 3:10: “That I may know Him…” God told Jeremiah how He would place a desire into their hearts to know Him. Jeremiah 24:7 says, “And I will give them a heart to know Me.”
Are you aware that your Heavenly Father thinks intimate thoughts about you? Jeremiah 29:11 reveals this to us. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
Amazing, isn’t it!? To know that God has positive and encouraging thoughts of me as well as you. He has thoughts with a specific plan for us.
4. Intimacy comes as a result of thinking of the other person, even during their absence. Once again, I spent one hour yesterday at Chick-Fil-A just thinking thoughts about God. How much time does the average Christian spend thinking thoughts about God?
I am certainly not an expert in this area, but this I do know: the average Christian spends two minutes a day in prayer. How can anyone develop intimacy with such small portions of time allocated to building the relationship? It simply will not happen! You must spend time with God, free from distraction.
5. Intimacy comes when one’s heart is focused on pleasing the other. The Bible says in Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”
For example, our faith pleases God. The question we must ask is, “how can I truly build my faith in God so that I can please Him more?” These are the thoughts which build intimacy!
Thinking Critically about Your Time With God
As I set my pen aside, I want to ask you a series of questions, which are raised to provoke thought about the quality of your walk with God.
- Have I rushed through my time with God recently? Has this time been marked by a spirit of intimacy, of closeness to your Father?
- Has this been time you long for and eagerly anticipate? Or, has it become a mere routine, characterized by lack of depth and dryness? It does not have to be this way.
James reminds us that as we draw nigh unto God that He will draw nigh unto us in James 4:8. The question is, “what price are you willing to pay in developing your relationship with God?” Do you have the same desire to walk with God as David who said in Psalm 42:1, “As the hart pants after the water brooks, so pants my soul after thee, O God.”