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Magazine > Content

His Life, Our Life

Walking closely with God is more wonderful than you could imagine, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Here’s a hint: You have to seek Him.

By Charles F. Stanley

 

How would you characterize your relationship with the Lord? Is He foremost in your thoughts and affection, or do you wonder how anyone could muster such devotion to an invisible God? Do you know Him personally, or is He merely a distant, vague concept? The Lord doesn’t want you to be uninformed about who He is. In fact, He desires to have a meaningful personal relationship with you that transcends all others in depth and richness.

Before we can enter into this kind of relationship with God, one of the first things we must learn is to relate to Him as a person. Too many believers approach the Christian life on a behavioral level. They go to church, read their Bibles, serve others, give generously, and try to be as good as possible, thinking that they’re doing what God wants. Although all these practices are beneficial, they’re not enough. He desires more for us than knowledge and good behavior. He wants us to know Him experientially—person to person.

You’ll never learn to know God intimately by listening to sermons. Even reading the Bible, on its own, will not achieve this goal. Although the Scriptures are foundational truth and the basis for confirming who God is, intimacy with Him isn’t possible unless He unveils Himself to us in the experiences of life. This means we must be willing to go through difficulty and pain, because some aspects of His nature can be understood only through suffering. For example, how will we ever learn that He is our Comforter (2 Cor. 1:3-4) if we never experience grief and pain? Those who are willing to walk faithfully with the Lord through the fires of affliction come to know Him in deeper ways and are able to speak with authority concerning His character, because they’ve experienced His faithfulness.

The Christian life is not ultimately about our comfort or satisfaction. It’s about the almighty sovereign God of the universe loving us so much that He’s willing to reveal Himself in a very personal way. We each have a choice: Will we invest our lives in getting to know the Lord, or will we squander the opportunity and live for ourselves?

God accomplishes His work through those who know Him intimately.

The most fruitful people in God’s kingdom are those who have a growing relationship with Him. That’s because He is able to accomplish His will and purposes through them. Since they know the Lord intimately, understand His ways, and have experienced His faithfulness, they’re willing to obey, no matter what. Those who don’t know Him very well tend to have a lower level of commitment and prefer to do as they please.

Building intimacy is a process.

After receiving Christ as Savior, we’d probably all like to instantly live in the richness of a deep relationship with Him, but this is not something that happens quickly. Like any human relationship, intimacy takes time to develop. Jesus begins this process with us much as He did with His disciples. After choosing the twelve men, He called them to follow Him. Then each one had to respond to His invitation. Over the course of three years, Jesus revealed Himself and His Father to them as they lived together. In the same way, God has invited each of us to enter into an intimate relationship with Him. When we say yes to His invitation, He immediately begins to unveil Himself and His ways and build that relationship.

Right after I was saved, I knew very little, but I sensed that God wanted to do something in my life—I just didn’t have any idea what it was. When I started reading the Bible, I couldn’t understand it, but God knew my heart and was using His Word to gear my mind toward Him. Over the years, I’ve seen how He’s worked in my life through difficulties and hardships of all kinds. During those times of utter helplessness and total dependence upon Him, He was deepening my relationship with Him, even though I didn’t yet realize it.

There’s an exciting realm of intimacy with the Lord available to every believer, but sadly, many have never experienced it. Some Christians don’t even realize it’s possible. Despite going to church, reading the Bible, and offering their petitions to God, they never feel a personal connection to Him. What does your relationship with God look like? No matter where you are in your Christian life, it’s never too late to grow more—or start growing—in Christ.

What is required for an intimate relationship with God?

Although the Lord is the one who initiates and builds a close relationship with us, He asks us to participate in the process. Intimacy is not a one-sided venture. The Lord can bombard us with revelations of Himself, but if we’re uninterested, we won’t see or hear Him. To develop a close relationship with God, here’s what is required:

Time: We must be willing to set aside time to meet with the Lord every day. Furthermore, we need patience, because a close relationship takes years to develop. If we’re just beginning the process, we can’t expect to have the same level of intimacy as someone who has walked closely with the Lord for 50 years.

Sharing: Since selfishness hinders relationship, we need to give ourselves freely to the Lord without holding back any areas of our life—and that includes our dreams, goals, family, friendships, extracurricular commitments, and finances.

Listening: Communication is essential in any relationship. The Lord has so much to say to us—through both in His Word and the inner convictions of the Spirit. That’s why we must be actively listening for His voice during the course of the day.

Attention: God is always attentive to us, but we’re easily distracted with the responsibilities, concerns, and pleasures of life in this world. Intimacy requires attentiveness in our times alone with the Lord as well as an awareness of His presence in every situation we face.

Openness: Transparency is a key characteristic of an intimate relationship. It requires an openness free of the fear of condemnation. Hiding areas of weakness from the Lord or trying to exclude Him from portions of our lives will never work, because He already knows everything. Confession is a privilege of cleansing that should never be avoided because of pride.

Trust: Without trust, there can be no intimacy. Sometimes distrust of God is the result of failure to understand His ways and purposes. That’s why reading the Scriptures is so important. We need to know what He says about Himself and His actions. Once that is firmly anchored in our minds, we can watch how He works in our life and discover that He is always faithful.

Love: As we grow in our knowledge of the Lord and experience His loving care for us, our love for Him will naturally increase. Instead of being a distant deity, He’ll become the primary focus of our devotion.

God draws near to those who draw near to Him.

The Lord desires intimacy with all of us, but the condition of our hearts determines whether we’ll experience it. If we’re careless or indifferent about our relationship with Him, we don’t have a heart for Him. But the Lord can build an intimate relationship with those who desire to walk in His ways and do His will. This doesn’t mean they never stumble, but rather, their focus is always on the Lord and on living in a manner that pleases Him.

Another characteristic of the kind of close relationship we’ve been discussing is a surrendered life (Mark 8:34-35). Those who are willing to yield control of their lives to the Lord prove with their submission that more than anything else, they long for a deeper relationship with Him. They’re willing to go through whatever circumstances are required in order to know Him more fully and love Him more completely.

If you’re willing to give yourself fully to the Lord, He will faithfully give Himself to you. His life will become your life—one of peace, comfort, joy, and transforming love. That’s what an intimate relationship with God is all about. This kind of ongoing connection will be costly, but I promise that once you’ve tasted its fruit, you’ll realize it was worth every sacrifice.

 

 Do You Know God?

If God seems like a stranger to you, learn how to begin a real friendship with the One who loves you most here.

Copyright 2014 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.


39 comments
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  • March 28, 2013 02:22 AM

    by

    precious words ...glory to God
  • February 26, 2013 02:04 AM

    by

    I Recently stopped drinking and thought it would be impossible, but i've always had a relationship with God but never knew how precious his love and understanding is and how much he wants us to have a relationship with him. Thank You Dr. Stanley Nothings Impossible! I know now. GLORY be to God and our Lord and SAVIOR Jesus Christ Forever and ever!! Im so happy!!!!!!
  • February 22, 2013 08:29 AM

    by

    The best article I have seen on intimacy with God. I shared it on FB. Blessings!
  • February 21, 2013 07:52 PM

    by

    I'm blessed after reaing ths artice..learn more about intimacy with our Father in heaven..
  • February 21, 2013 10:47 AM

    by

    This article has made me realize why we must go through pain and trials. So glad we have a Heavenly Father that comforts us through it all!
  • February 20, 2013 11:24 AM

    by

    A beautiful read! Here's an example of Gods amazing works!! I tapped onto my bookmark to begin my devotion and the above reading appeared in its place! As I read I find sumn many truths and an opportunity to touch the heart of someone so dear to me for it is a conformation and a call!! Amazed and amazing how God works in order His message be revealed, a privilege that we are apply to see an honor to walk in obedience. Thank you Dr. Stanley for if it weren't for your obedience, answering Gods calling for you we would not be able to share, learn and grow in the ways that we have. GOD BLESS YOU! Thank you God for giving us. Dr. Stanley and the eyes to see, the will to follow, the compassion to understand to share, the heart to love,to grow, to KNOW YOU, a wonderful Counselor, amazing Father, Our Lord and Saviour! All praise and Glory to God!! ""GBWY"
  • February 19, 2013 04:36 PM

    by

    Thank you Dr Stanley for your ministry I'your sermons to me are truly blessing, thank you and The be with you always
  • February 18, 2013 03:09 PM

    by

    THANK YOU FATHER FOR DR. STANLEY I NOW KNOW WHAT I MUST DO. I LONG FOR A INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE FATHER AND NOW I CAN LIVE IT HONESTLY. THANK YOU JESUS
  • February 18, 2013 03:27 AM

    by

    Very inspiring, the Holy spirit is at work, when one desires not to live an empty christian life
  • February 13, 2013 11:08 PM

    by

    It's so hard to give up your dream, it's very painful, especially if you don't know what will be your next move.Trusting God seems "from known to unknown future" but praise God because He is Sovereign. Upon reading this article I realized that I need to have intimacy with God. I pray I will be able to pay the price n order to achieve God's will and plan in my life. Thank you Dr. Charles Stanley for sharing your personal experiences it gives enlightenment, encouragement, hope and courage though it sounds challenging. May God gives you more meaningful and fruitful years! I love you Dr. Charles your like a father to us!
  • February 13, 2013 06:05 PM

    by

    The Lord is merciful and want's an intiment relationship with us. Devoting our time to Him enables us to surrender every part of our lives to Him. He is willing and compassionate towards us. ''Seek the Lord diligently and all these things shall be added unto you." Open up to Him, He' looking foward to hear from you. He cares ALOT.
  • February 13, 2013 10:08 AM

    by

    Awesome message, I'll share it with my family. Thank you and God bless In Touch Ministries!
  • February 13, 2013 07:34 AM

    by

    Very powerful message. Thank God for Dr Stanley, his teaching has changed mylife! I always find an answer to my questions every time I listen or read his Mesage. God has really used Charles to heal my heart and bring me closer to Him. God bless you always.
  • February 12, 2013 04:20 PM

    by

    Nice and easy to understand thankyou for a wonderful
    Message of hope
  • February 12, 2013 09:08 AM

    by

    Life changing words for my relationship with Jesus! Dr Stanley thelord has blessed you with the words to lead us in our walk with him. I read you everyday and you always increase my desire to grow in my relationship with my Lord.
  • February 11, 2013 07:45 PM

    by

    Its really a reminder for us that His life is also our life. So, we should always abide in Him everyday....

    Thank you for this inspiring message....
  • February 11, 2013 12:54 AM

    by

    THANK YOU DR. STANDLEY FOR THER TRUTH. THIS IS JUST WHAT I WANT TO DO, TO HAVE A CLOSER INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP WITH MY LORD, I LOVE YOUR MINISTRY. GOD BLESS YOU FOR TEACHING SO MANY PEOPLE ON A DAILY BASIS
  • February 09, 2013 11:21 AM

    by

    Thanks for a wonderful and life changing article. Ps. JL
  • February 09, 2013 07:50 AM

    by

    Such an inspiring article.
  • February 09, 2013 07:49 AM

    by

    Thank you for this article. It really inspired me.
  • February 08, 2013 09:55 PM

    by

    Beautiful words of inspiration, thank you. Sometimes the going gets very rough
    and often confusing but I know the Lord always has the best in mind for us, he is the most faithful.
  • February 07, 2013 02:05 PM

    by

    YES & AMEN!!!!
  • February 07, 2013 01:22 AM

    by

    On Monday 2/4/2013, I took my RN nursing boards. I didn't pass. I long to become a nurse. I felt like a failure and wanted to kill myself. I questioned Gods love for me.He new I needed to pass this exam so I could have a better life and to be a blessing to others. I prayed and prayed to pass this exam. After reading this article.....I want to live. I want to have an intimate relationship with God. Thank u C. Stanley for this article. I will not give up on my dream of becoming a nurse.
  • February 05, 2013 10:23 PM

    by

    Thank You In Touch Ministries for your daily surrender,
    and devotion to Christ. Truly blessed by the message of this article.
  • February 05, 2013 12:24 PM

    by

    I'm blessed by this article. Thank you Ps. Chuck.

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