An intimate relationship takes time to build and time to maintain. Intimacy is close, personal, dynamic, and powerful.
It takes truth, in order to grow and maintain my intimacy with God. I need to be real with him, honest with myself and others. Specifically, I need to be real about the parts of my life that are hard to let God into; I need to give those parts over to him. Sometimes when things are going well in one aspect of my life (i.e. professionally), I can tune out the parts I feel are not going all that well. I do not connect and let God into those parts. I’m simply letting the fumes of a present success form a large smoke screen. I’m keeping busy, too busy for someone who I always should make time for; for the one who knows me best and gave me my success in the first place.
Hosea 11:3-4 “It was I who taught Ephriam to walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them; I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them.”
v8-9 My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused. I will not carry out my fierce anger, nor will I turn and devastate Ephraim. For I am God, not man.”
In order to see God’s hand in my life, I must put time into my relationship with him. If God doesn’t have first place in my life I will never be fulfilled. He offers me power through intimacy with him; power over the very things I want to drown out some times. Through His strength and wisdom I am able to change my thinking and my actions; I am able to recognize his ways are better than mine.
Eph6:10 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power”
The amplified version of verse 10 reads, “be empowered through your union with him”
Jesus did spiritual warfare by spending time with God. While listening to a recent Christian podcast I was ironically reminded that listening to a message by a preacher is not time with God. In the past I have tried to substitute it as such, but when I think more about it, I did this out of laziness. I only cheated myself in the process. From a sermon or a message I only get pieces of that time. I need to go back and take it to God to make it personal. Personal bible study builds this intimacy. Listening to a lot of other stuff can result in hearing too much, too fast, and none of it getting below the surface.
The first commandment is to passionately love God. He wants to be involved in every area of my life. When I let him, everything becomes sacred because he is in it. God waits for me to determine the level of intimacy I want with him. He listens and allows me to influence him. It’s not a one way relationship. I constantly need to return to this perspective when I cannot see what his plan is or when like a spoiled child I don’t get my way.
Is 1:18 "Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”
God is open to reason. He is waiting to talk to me, to have a conversation. I know if it was a matter of making time for a man I liked or something happened I desired to share with my closest girlfriend, I would make time to communicate with them. To cultivate intimacy I must set time for God first; he has to be the priority or the intimacy will fade. So as the work goes smoothly and I long to share stories of my experiences, I fight to put God first. I know time with him is essential for this relationship to grow.
Col 3:1-4Since then, you have been raised with Christ, set your heart on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. For you died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
Originally published at http://www.liveasif.org/. Used with permission.
God's brought me a long way from the New York City Housing Projects. I studied the Bible, repented, and was baptized for the forgiveness of my sins when I was 17 and have been repenting and striving towards heaven ever since. The hardest thing about becoming a Christian at 17 was trusting that God would take care of me, meet my emotional teen needs, and help me overcome my enormous insecurities...what else would a teen girl have trouble with?
Since those first days, I have made it out of the Projects, finished my Masters degree in International Development, and moved to DC to work in my field. As a young single Christian woman my struggles today are a little different than they were when I first came to know God, but who am I kidding, not much. It's the every day battle for my heart to be pure before God, to strive to please him, and help others to seek and know Him.
Over my years of a faithful walk with God I have received much grace and compassion and have been blessed beyond my wildest dreams. Throughout it all one thing has stayed consistent: God's word. Through His word I have been inspired and it has kept me faithful even when faith seemed like a foreign concept and God seemed deaf to my prayers. I started emailing my Quiet Times which helped me stay accountable as I shared my struggles and fought for understanding. Some wrote back and said they too were inspired and could relate. I hope some of my times can help inspire others who are seeking and fighting just like I am, to get to heaven and take as many as possible with me along the way.