Intimacy with God
Intimacy has many forms and expressions, as you know — familial, romantic, sexual, and many others. You’ve got intimacy down pat, right? Now go do a Google search using the word intimacy and read a few of the articles concerning human relational intimacy (But skip the porno sites that may have gotten into your search results). After doing this I suspect you have found yourself questioning whether your mastery of intimacy is as thorough and complete as you thought it to be.
Now take this little self-reflection exercise a step further (provided you are a believer): do a Google search using the phrase (in parentheses) “Intimacy with God”. I did it just now and turned up 524,000 websites, blog entries and what-have-you. Now read through a few of the top ranked articles on this subject.
You probably read a lot about “surrender”, “transparency”, “obedience” and such (All consistent with what the Bible articulates about the God-human relationship).
What intrigues me is that many writers on the subject have a lot of “how to” steps based, in whole or part, on biblical examples and notions of what tends to draw us closer to the Almighty as well as those things that can throw a monkey wrench in the achievement of intimacy with God or complicate its development over time. Some of these writer-pontificators draw on personal experience. All this is fine and good and is generally valid at various levels and in various ways, I’m sure. And, I suspect, few (if any) believers are so instinctively and spiritually adept (gifted) at establishing and maintaining intimacy with God as to obviate the need for biblical and extrabiblical guidance or other input, such as “how to” guides and personal accounts (I invoked “I suspect” because it is hard to know for sure without surveying all believers).
In addition, I also suspect that many believers either think intimacy (at least the deepest, most profound expression of it) with God is something that he unilaterally ordains, decrees and facilitates, or is a matter of individual volition in the sense of approaching God and having faith he will respond to this and then help or enable us to wade into the waters of intimacy with him (starting with “toes first” and then progressing slowly over time as millimeter by millimeter of our being is submerged), or is a mix of both.
Some may argue that truly genuine intimacy with God is something attained and sustained only by extraordinarily pure (holy), obedient and selfless souls, which naturally tends to bring to mind certain believer saints, prophets, seers, mystics and such.
Maybe intimacy with God has a bell curve aspect to it: you know, some folks fall at extreme ends of the curve with most believers falling in the middle.
If this is how things pan out over all, I do not for one minute believe that someone on the zero intimacy end of the curve cannot progress to the middle, or that someone in the middle cannot advance several standard deviations forward.
Is there some shortcut or way to quantum leap from “lowliness to holiness” (To borrow a phrase from one of my favorite movies, “Leap of Faith”)? I (ahem) suspect not. I do not think God makes available “instant sanctification (holiness)” (Would that he did! This naturally holds special appeal to we Boomers as well as later generations, all of whom who grew up with instant everything and books galore – now digital — to inspire and pop psych us from “zero to hero”).
It has to take hard work, otherwise why did Messiah Yeshua command us to “Take up your cross and follow me”? There isn’t anything about dragging a heavy wooden cross through life that suggests instant sanctification, is there?
However, what I have seen and experienced are those moments of intimacy with God that are so rapturous that one is sorely tempted to believe “I’ve got it, by George”. Of course, disappointment follows – mainly that it wasn’t sustained without let up, day in and day out – but also because there is the awesome realization that intimacy with God is very likely infinite in the sense it unfolds and deepens without there being any oceanic end point or completion (There is no destination, just the eternal process).
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© 2017 by Dr. Anthony G. Payne. All rights reserved.
Posted on July 19, 2017, in MINISTRY OF ENLIGHTENMENT, Philosophic & Religious Musings, PHILOSOPHY & SPIRITUALITY, RELIGION, RELIGION, PHILOSOPHY & SPIRITUALITY and tagged Bert M. Farias, Dr. Michael Brown, holiness, Intimacy, intimacy with God, Leap of Faith, mystics, obedience, purity, saints, seers, transparency. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Intimacy with God.