Investing for Intimacy
January 19, 2021
Come close to God, and God will come close to you. James 4:8 NLT
An intimate relationship with God is His desire for all of us. He knows that is where we flourish. We know the reason for our flourishing relationships is because we have invested purposeful time in them. Our relationship with God is no different. How do we invest to flourish in intimacy?
We must have a prayer life. No relationship can grow without communication. So, we develop a practice of regular, natural communication with God as we would talk with a loved one. Nothing fancy, no formula—just natural conversation with One we deeply love and know loves us. We start in the morning, and we communication all day long. We tell God our joys and sorrows, questions, and hopes, whatever. And then we listen. We let Him speak to our minds and hearts through impressions and thoughts we recognize are not our own. When we are deeply intimate with God, prayer becomes so natural, we don’t always decide to “pray.” We just begin speaking to Him, as Moses said, “as friend speaks to friend.” Invest in your relationship with God starting in the morning and engaging all day through, and then ending the day in conversation.
Then invest time in Bible reading and study. The study part is important. I remember when I made it a goal to read the Bible through every year. I did that for 30+ years, and I don’t regret it. But in retrospect, that was more about personal accomplishment than becoming intimate with God. I wanted to accomplish a goal that made me feel satisfied. While it didn’t hurt my relationship with God, it didn’t cause me to flourish either. One year I felt God nudge me in the direction of reading less and studying more. I began to read smaller portions of the Bible, spending time thinking on them, asking God to illuminate them to my mind and show me what He wanted me to know.
What we call the Old Testament shows us the need for a Savior; a need for the Messiah who would write God’s ways on our hearts. There are places, notably the Psalms and Proverbs, where our hearts are moved to worship. And there are many illustrations of real people whose lives are examples to us of either listening to God or rejecting His wisdom. The four gospels are the eyewitness reports of how Jesus lived, saved, and changed lives. They contain specific directions on how we can live like Him and find strength. Most of the rest of what we call the New Testament are letters from Jesus’ friends who became leaders of the early church, guiding them in what living as Jesus would look like in their circumstances. When I read Scripture in small portions, and concentrated on studying in prayer how it might apply to me, I began to flourish in my relationship with God in new ways.
A deep, flourishing intimate relationship with God requires investing time in conversation and getting to know Him. How will you make certain that happens for you?