Friday, September 01, 2006

intimacy with God

(A friend and co-worker asked me to be among those, who would write for him- in a paragraph or two, something like, what intimacy with God means to you. This is to help him in a ministry at his church. So I thought I'd share this here.)

Of course that comes through Jesus Christ, and in fellowship with his Church.

I think it comes from obedience. If we don’t obey, than our faith is spurious. We seek to follow Christ, and express love for him by keeping his commands. I don’t mean to sound legalistic here. Anyone who knows me knows also that I make an effort to avoid that, and sometimes get carried away in doing so.

But the friendship we receive from God in Christ by the Holy Spirit in the communion of the Church, is one that, while having similarities with our friendships, also has stark differences. Look at the life of Jesus. Also look at people in Scripture like Job, Joseph (both of the OT and NT) and Mary, the mother of our Lord. And read “the Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5-7), which tells us what our kingdom living is all about (as well as the rest of the gospels and the New Testament).

Intimacy with God means to begin to truly walk with him. It’s a path, by the Spirit, that shares in his sufferings and becomes like him in his death (Philippians). But that is the path on which we begin to see his glory. And know he is present with us, even when, at times, it seemed he wasn't.


Dr Mike said...

At the risk of sounding dogmatic or simplistic, let me offer my own take on intimacy with God.

Intimacy with God, as with intimacy with any other person, is the experience of knowing and being known, of understanding and being understood. We know God as we read and seek to understand Him as He has revealed Himself in His word; we experience being known by God as we open ourselves to Him and allow Him to reveal our innermost being to us.

This is intimacy and this is love. Love, in return, fulfills the Great Commandment: to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Intimacy, a noun, produces love, a verb, which results in actions. If actions do not follow, then there is no genuine love; if their is no genuine love, then there is no genuine intimacy.

To know God and be known by Him is to love Him and be loved by Him; to love and be loved by God is to love others; to love others is to act for their good. The act of loving others in this manner results in increasing intimacy with God.

Ted Gossard said...

Dr. Mike,
Thanks for your excellent words. You go into what intimacy with God really is.

I have been thinking in terms more of how we get there. And also impacted by my recent reading of Bonhoeffer. The righteosness (sense of rightness, or things being right), peace, joy and love that accompanies this intimacy is known by God's loved ones in Jesus. But so often we're tuned into a kind of poor substitute (feel good religion, at times; or something supplanting it). Intimacy with God, in my thought, leaves with it a limp, and a new kind of relationship than what we're accustomed to, I think.

But your words are so true and powerful. And I hope readers, as well as myself pick up on them. To see just how very much they are at the center of true intimacy with God.

Thanks much.