So yesterday I went to this amazing women's conference at Grace Community Church. One of the topics we learned about was intimacy with God. For the next couple of posts I will be sharing with you what I learned and I hope it is an encouragement to you.
Intimacy with God
We were created to commune with God. We were made in God's image. Being made in God's image we were given things.
1. Special dignity
2. Dominion over everything
3. Man is a rational being
4. Spiritual being and able to relate to God.
Nothing else was created to have intimacy with God. Adam and Eve died spiritually after eating the fruit. They were not satisfied with the intimacy with God but wanted to be like God. In the first Adam we fail but in the 2nd Adam who is Jesus Christ we are born again. Justification is the opposite of condemnation. When justification happens it allows us to have a relationship with Him.
There are several benefits of intimacy with God
It gives us peace with God.
Romans 5:1-11 says Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Peace with God allows us to have continual access.
We can not only enter his presence but we can stay there. We have open access to his presence. We can go in at any time. He'll never put you on hold. We have continual access. (Romans 5:1-2, Hebrews 4:15-16)
Peace with God gives us confident hope.
Hope in the Bible is an absolute certainty and not wishful thinking which is the way we think hope is like. (Romans 5:3-4, 1 Peter 1:3-5)
Peace with God gives us abounding love.
It is abounding love. God's love is unlimited and unending. (Romans 5:5) Love is lavished upon us. We will not be disappointed because it is about God's love towards us and not about our love for God.
He desires in fellowship with us. Our response should be that we find our contentment, complete enjoyment in Christ. We are in the most intimate relationship with God and we should daily rejoice in that. We have the ability of living far above the circumstance. We can exult in Him. (Romans 5:7)
Flesh never can change but as we can grow in our faith we are able to battle it.
There are however potential barriers for Christian living and intimacy with God.
1. Not seeing God's character rightly.
This is when we doubt God's sovereignty, wisdom and love.
2. Faulty appreciation of the gospel
This is when we minimize the gospel. Some people think that the gospel is only the beginning and then they can work really hard after that. That is not true. The gospel is the beginning to salvation but it is so much more and sanctification.
Parable in Luke about the two prodigal sons was an example she used. Both were far away from the Father. One never knew it (older brother) and one did (younger brother). The older brother obeyed to be accepted (get what we want). It should be I am accepted therefore I obey. Older brother may not be saved. You may have some older brother tendencies such as
a. Your obedience is mechanical or joyless.
You think it is useful to obey. It is a means to an end. You think it is a duty.
b. You are always frustrated with what God is doing in your life.
Don't set limits on what he can ask of you.
c. Lack assurance of God's love.
Another barrier is priorities
1. Favoring task above God.
Let ourselves get too busy. Only one thing really necessary. It is like the story of Mary and Martha. Martha was too busy preparing things. Mary was devoted to listening to Christ and what he was teaching. Are we a room full of Martha's?
2. Elevating man above God.
This is when we delight in other peoples opinion. Our satisfaction should be in Him alone.
3. Treasuring things above God.
When we are too easily pleased we are shallow people because God can give us so much more.
One question she asked was "If God took everything precious away from you is He going to be enough?"
You already have intimacy with God as a true follower of Christ.
She also talked about God's transcendence is his otherness. He doesn't explain everything to us. God's transcendence gives us a high view of God which leads to worship. God's immanence is his mercy, grace, love and his nearness leads to rest. You can not neglect nearness and transcendence. It will not work out.
The last thing she told us was that need to preach the gospel to ourselves every day. Don't look at your own circumstances but instead look at the cross.
This is all the notes I took for the session about intimacy with God. I hope you are all encouraged by this.