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The True Way to Intimacy With God

November 29th, 2012 | 2 Comments | Posted in Miscellaneous

Recently, I discovered something about myself that startled me. I discovered that I don’t feel as close to God as I would like to.

I’ve had a personal relationship with God for decades, ever since I trusted Christ as my Savior when I was a child. But, lately, I haven’t felt a deep intimacy with Him. My theological knowledge about Him has been increasing, yet not my feelings of His love and affection for me.

Of course, I understand that our relationship with God should go deeper than emotion. Nevertheless, I don’t want to know just a lot of information about God. I want to know him experientially–similar to the way spouses or very good friends know one another. Indeed, human beings were created to have this type of intimacy with God–like Adam and Eve who walked and talked with God in the garden.

As I’ve spent time studying the Word of God, I’ve learned that Scripture is clear: The way to achieve intimacy with God is to obey Him.

The Quest for Intimacy

Apparently, I’m not alone in my desire to have a deeper experience of God. If popular books are any indication, then many Christians must feel that something in their relationship with God is missing. I’m talking about books such as Experiencing God, Jesus Calling, and Knowing God Intimately.

And teachings about intimacy with God are especially prominent in the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) movement–that is, a growing movement of people within Protestant Christianity who follow the teachings of present-day apostles and prophets. In fact, NAR teachings on intimacy abound to the point that NAR leaders have established a special vocabulary for those teachings. They go by names such as “The Father Heart of God,” the “Bridal Paradigm,” and “The Secret Place.” And people who desire to know God intimately are said to “hunger” and “thirst” for Him.

Of course, there is nothing wrong about desiring a closer relationship with God. In fact, this desire is very good and should describe all Christians.

But how do you get this intimacy?

False Ways to Intimacy With God

According to NAR apostles and prophets, the ways to intimacy include practices such as speaking in tongues, fasting, and “soaking” in God’s presence. The NAR practice of “soaking” involves spending time alone with God, seeking His presence in the so-called “secret place” (often with the aid of an NAR type of music known as “soaking music”). But the common denominator in all these methods is the idea that intimacy with God can be achieved through some type of ecstatic worship experience.

While it is true that ecstatic worship can be found in Scripture, this is not the way to develop intimacy with God.

The True Way to Intimacy With God

In contrast to the NAR way to intimacy, the Bible teaches another way: that of obedience.

Before Jesus’ departure from earth, he told his disciples that the key to experiencing his love for them was to obey his commands.

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. (John 15:9-10)

Notice that the way Jesus taught his disciples to experience intimacy with him is the same way he experienced intimacy with His own Father–by obeying Him.

Conversely, intimacy can be lost by disobeying God–as happened when Adam and Eve were banished from the garden.

Yet, if obeying Jesus’ commandments is the way to intimacy, then what are those commandments? Jesus answers this question during the same talk with his disciples: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12).

In other words, Jesus’ command is that we love other people. And, in another sermon, Jesus told his disciples that the requirements of the entire Old Testament can be boiled down to just one command. He said:

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12)

Summing up, then, we could say that the true way to intimacy with God is by obedience–specifically, obedience to God’s command to love people by treating them the way you want to be treated.

Two Different Paths

Thus, the NAR way to intimacy (through ecstatic worship experiences) and the Bible’s way to intimacy (through obedience) are very different paths.

Which way are you following?

 

 

 

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2 Responses to “The True Way to Intimacy With God”

  1. Stacey Says:

    So true Holly. Thanks for the timely reminder.

  2. ann Says:

    Good, post, Holly.

    Jesus also said, “Why do you call me Master when you don’t do what I say?” – which means that He is NOT your MASTER if you don’t do what he says – no matter how “religious” you are.

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