Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness…”Genesis 1:26
God is Love. The ever flowing, ever giving, abundant and free life source. Everything He is, is Love itself. He is the meaning and the description of love. Without Him our word “love” is null and void. He is revealed as the God whose presence is the fullness of joy and whose hands hold eternal pleasure. But the greatest beauty of God, is His burning desire to bring us into closeness with who He is.
However, the truth is many of us have learned information about God, rather than meeting Him for ourselves. We may have heard some rumours about this God but did not find them attractive or even worthy of belief. This added to our growing confusion about His nature and character even after some of us started going to Church or heard the message of Jesus.
Though for me, this truth about who He is was not clear for much of my early life. I grew up in a more traditional church that, though it was community-focused and loving, allowed a creeping religious pride to take over my heart. Knowing Biblical information replaced truly knowing who he was. I remember clearly as a teenager, complaining with a friend of mind that we had so many “unknowledgeable” people in our study group at Bible Camp.
I found myself in the heat of this conflict by the time I was 18. I would read and recite facts about a God who was real and exciting but had a life experience of a very normal 21st century person.
But God was not content to leave me alone. He was very much desiring to show me who he really is! This came in a rather surprising way: I lost a debate.
My good friend John picked a theological fight with me one day. He challenged me, “Does God really speak to us today?” Armed with my best biblical studies, I tried desperately to refute his claims and put God back in the box of human knowledge that I had Him locked up in. Little did I know that John not only knew an awful lot more than me, but also knew who God was.
Later that evening, after being soundly out-debated, I committed to ask God if he would indeed speak to me personally. I began a process of praying each night, hoping that He would turn up like John had convinced me He would. For several months after this my life and experience of God had stayed the same.
One night I was sound asleep, when I suddenly found myself wide awake. More than that my whole body felt like I was in a bath of warm oil up to my neck. It kept rising and rising until, bam, it hit my head and I began to speak out with a heavenly language. I felt the arms of God around me physically for the first time. His hands holding my heart and mind so tenderly, pleasure flowing in torrents though my entire being. Here in this moment, I knew that I had met the God of Love.
I do not simply mention this story to claim to be some guru with a super spiritual experience. I tell this to encourage you that this is who God is and this is available to you as well. Since that time He has constantly led me deeper and closer to His heart every day. I have come to realise that this is my whole purpose in life: to be loved by God and to love Him in return. God’s attitude towards me is one of care and closeness. He values me as a son and would do anything to have me.
For some of us, we might still be suffering some confusion about who God really is. Maybe we’ve heard some things that just don’t make sense, we got disappointed or hurt by people who said they knew Him, or maybe there is just the inner longing for more. Maybe we have thrown ourselves at physical things that have not satisfied us, money, power, relationships and altered consciousness.
Beyond all that God made you, and He made you for him, to walk with Him in relationship and intimacy. So how can you grow in intimacy with God? Here are three keys I feel God has taught me on this wild journey.
1. Surrender – Giving Him back the same love He gave to you.
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us…1 John 4:10
Surrender is letting go – letting go of our own attempts to reach God or make something happen by our own power. Jesus came to introduce us to God and He came in perfect giving Love. He laid down His own life to save my heart. The first step I found in getting close to God is in understanding that He gave me everything and I get to give back to Him everything I have. I approach God through a relationship birthed by God’s saving love for me. Being willing to give up my own ideas, my own plans and my own control to receive everything that He is.
2. Humility – There is always more to know of him.
Be not wise in your own eyes…Proverbs 3:7
Following on from surrender, humility is our next position before Him. Many times when we come to God, it’s what we think we know that keeps us away from Him. Though it’s important to be grounded in the truth about who He is, He is always desiring to deepen and broaden His revelation to us. If we always connect to God in a certain way, or we’re believing something about Him that isn’t the truth, this can limit His ability to speak to us and bring first love intimacy to our hearts. Humility approaches God with a grateful heart from what He has said, but surrenders to God being God! He is unlimited and is willing to constantly bring new light and revelation to our souls.
3. Encounter – God desires to show Himself to us.
…to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.Ephesians 3:19
Encounter is what happens when the reality of God touches us in such a way that all our doubts and reservations get thrown out of the window. Like I experienced late that night, all of my questions about God and His nature were undone in a moment. When we approach Him surrendered and humble, He always comes close. He will always reveal Himself to the level that we allow Him to, and the result will always be a deeper and more intimate Knowledge of who He is. God made a promise a long time ago, that those that seek Him will find him. He longs to open His heart to us, to make doubt and fear a thing of the past. He does so by allowing us to encounter His unending Love for us.
I pray these three principles will help prompt you towards a deeper relationship with him. But keep in mind that just like falling in love, your story with God will be your story with Him. There might be principles that help, but ultimately it’s you and Him and He is ready and waiting. As you begin to explore the riches of His grace, you will develop your own beautiful journey with Him. He is both “Adonai Eloheynu” – King of the Universe, and “Abba” – Daddy, the closest of the close. May you grow in intimacy with the God of Intimacy.
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