I struggle with my intimacy with the Almighty. I know Scripture tells me that "…the nearness of God is my good" Ps. 73:28, NASB), but I find at the end of the day, the end of the week, that I have not spent nearly as much time with God as I desire to. Life competes for my attention…family, ministry, work…it’s all good, but it still leaves me feeling fragmented and missing time with my Lord.
As I pondered the issue of intimacy and what it means, the Lord gave me some insights that I am seeking to use to draw me closer to Him.
- Intimacy doesn’t happen in bits but in chunks – much in the same way that we can’t hope to get close to our spouse or our children or our friends if we only spend a couple minutes with them here and there, we won’t ever hope to grow close to God if all we give Him is a quick read of a daily devotional book and a couple quick prayers for those in need. Growing close and intimate with God requires that we be willing to break out the Word of God and read it for extended periods of time and set apart time for significant prayer that God would work deeply in our lives to bring about a closeness and would wash away all that keeps us from drawing close to Him.
- Intimacy happens in the present – Intimacy is not a bankable commodity. Yes, we can draw on our experience of what God has done in the past to give us strength for whatever is happening now, but His past acts on our behalf were not meant to replace being intimate with Him now. He wants to work in our lives now and to speak with us now and relate to us now, and not have us live on "good old days" Christianity. In Psalm 103:7, it’s written that "He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel" (Ps. 103:7, NKJV). We can joyfully and longingly look back on His acts from the past, but we’ll never know His ways if we aren’t with Him in the present. We need to ask if we want to be content with merely experiencing God’s activity, or do we want to experience God Himself?
- Intimacy must be intentional – We plan a weekend away with our spouse. We take our child out for lunch or to a special event they want to see. We meet a close friend for coffee. These events don’t happen without some prior planning. We look at our calendars, we make phone calls, we make reservations or purchase tickets, all so we can spend special time with that person. Sadly, we don’t and won’t do the same thing with God. Too often, we wear our "round-toit" buttons with God and tell Him we’ll spend some time with Him when we get "round to-it". We have no reason to really question why we aren’t as close to God as we’d like to be when we don’t schedule time with Him. Does it make sense to schedule a morning, a day, a weekend to retreat and be with our Lord? If we’ll do it to be with our family and friends, we should also be doing to be with Him as well.