We all know about our basic needs, food, water, clothing, shelter. It's been said before however, that the greatest human need is an intimate personal relationship. But what about desires? We go to God all the time about our desires, but how often do we consider His desires? He has them and they are always specific, no generalities. Specific desires concerning you and me. What do you think God's number one desire is for each of us? For all mankind for that matter. I'll give you a hint. It's the same for everyone. It's to have an intimate personal relationship with us. For us, it's a need. That's the way God made us. But for Him, it's a desire. He has no need for anything. He is the all-sufficient One. But He desires relationship with each of us. So how did He create us for relationship? Let's look at Genesis 1:26. This shows us we are His prize creation because He did not make anything else like that. He gave us the highest possible honor He could give us by creating us like Himself. Giving us attributes, reason, will, intellect, morality. He's given us the ability to have a relationship with Him. So if we have a right relationship with Him, or even a poor relationship with Him, out of this flows everything else in your life. The quality of that relationship determines how you live your life. And it determines your impact on others.
Let's say I have no knowledge at all about relationships. I'm clueless. How would you describe intimacy? Nowadays people associate intimacy with sex, or what they can see, touch, and so forth. But all of that is surface. It doesn't satisfy that deep, yearning hunger for God that He has placed within each of us. Let's look at Psalm 63 because if anyone in the Old Testament had an intimate relationship with God it was David. A person can't say things like this without having a hunger and a thirst for God. David didn't care about anything else like he did his relationship to the Lord. But all of us have a relaionship with Him, one way or another.
1) Direct Relationship- Some may say well, I don't even believe in God. That has nothing to do with it. That relationship stems from Who He is. Who is He? He's the creator of the universe and everything in it. He's the sovereign Ruler and Sustainer of everything and every need. He is the Judge of all mankind. So from that perspective, whether a person believes in God or not doesn't have much relevance. You say, how could it not make any difference? Because God is who He says He is. Now whether we all relate to Him or not is a different story.
2) Distinct relationship- This is for believers. We've recognized that we are sinners in need of a Savior. We've tried it our way and it didn't work. So we accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord and we want Him at the helm, not just involved in our lives. We want Him ruling our lives. We want His will, purpose, guidance, direction. That makes our relationship with Him very distinct because we are His children.
3) Distant relationship- This refers to believers who have enjoyed a distinct relationship with God in that they accepted Jesus as Savior, but it's more like, well God's way up there. They don't have that sense of Oneness with Him. There's a distance there and they feel it. You can see that in a number of ways. They may go to church frequently or every once in a while, or tip God every now and then when the offering plate passes by. God's Word doesn't have a priority in their life. It's like they wanted to get the issue of their eternal security settled, but failed to pursue the very purpose that they were created for and that is to have an intimate relationship with God. So what they're doing is not only cheating themselves, but they deny God of the one thing that He desires above everything else.
4) Those who are developing or have a personal, one on one, intimate relationship with God, and that's an ongoing process. So what does this process look like, what does intimacy look like.
- It's a relationship of spiritual intimacy- That's the deepest intimacy. Because the Holy Spirit indwells us. We have the ability to relate to the Spirit of God. When we submit to the Holy Spirit, we can develop our relationship because it's the Holy Spirit and our Spirit joined.
- Open, honest, free- Free to be who we truly are, holding nothing back because God already knows. What are you gonna hold back from omniscience? But we're all guilty of it. Think about the times we talked to God about something and told Him only what we wanted Him to know. We confessed up to a point. We repented up to a point. Intimacy says here's my heart. I'm willing to lay it all out there, Lord. Warts and all. We don't have to worry about rejection.
- Trust- If there' s no trust, there is no intimacy. That's etched in stone. There can be a surface relationship, but it's not going to be a good one. It's not going to be a relationship that satisfies. Look at all the times Jesus said "Ye of little faith." People don't tithe because they don't trust God to do more with 90% than we can do with 100%. People think that if they live a life of complete surrender to God, then Boom! They have to go be a missionary in Zimbabwe or that God is going to make their life miserable. Nothing could be further from the truth. Trust is the heart of a healthy relationship. Intimacy say's I'm willing to trust you, and having not just a head knowledge but a heart knowledge that God desires for you, His very best.
- Love- We talked about Psalm 63 earlier, so let's look at the first part of Psalm 42. David just can't get enough of the living God. God is his first love. He had wives, he had kids, he had his Kingdom, but God was his priority. David recognized that all that he had was a gift from God. Now let's talk about this as it relates to Christian couples. God still desires to be number one. He has that right. But it doesn't stop there. When we put God first, He honors that by blessing us with the capacity to love others more. When we love someone, we want to know them better. We're interested in what they have to say. And we get real interested when we sense that they're sharing their heart. We want to know more and we want that relationship to grow and to deepen. When the trust has been established, we begin to see the warts and the scars, but that's ok because we see their heart. A God blessed couple that has that kind of intimacy can face whatever gets thrown at them and still love each other no matter what. Because they have an intimacy that goes beyond what they can see and touch and so on. So it is with God. The more we get to know God, we want to know Him better. The more we know Him, the more we're satisfied with Him. The more we're satisfied with Him, the more we thirst to know Him even better.
- Openness and transparency- An intimate relationship and keeping secrets just don't go together. It goes back to the whole trust issue, because keeping secrets will adversely affect both persons' ability to trust each other. The only thing that will happen to that relationship is that it will degrade. So when you go to the Lord, are you open about everything. or are you kind of like, "well Lord I've sinned against you and I'm claiming 1 John 1:9, amen." That doesn't cut it. Transparency says "Lord today, I never should have opened my mouth and said those things, or I was very critical of that person and didn't really hear what they were trying to say." Openness, honesty, transparency. God is with us.
- A 2-way relationship- Lines of communication have to be open both ways. For instance, all of us pray, but how often do we pray? What do we pray about? How long do we pray? How long after we pray do we listen? We can't have an intimate relationship if we do all the talking. If we have friends and all we do is talk, talk, talk and it's all about us, what are they gonna do? They're going to close up. They don't want to say anything because to them, we've shown that we're not interested in what they have to say. Should we expect God to talk back to us? Absolutely. Remember, God created us for relationship, and we're not going to have relationship if we don't listen. How else would we know what the other person is feeling, their hurts, their needs, their pain. What do teenagers want their parents to do above anything else? They want them to listen. God's Spirit will speak to your spirit. But we've got to be willing to listen, to give Him time.
- Time and effort to know God- That right there tells us it's not overnight. It's an ongoing process. What's the effort? The 2 big things are prayer, meditating on God's word and obedience. This might be oversimplifying the issue a bit, but consider prayer as talking to The Father. Consider God's word as Him talking to us. Consider obedience as applying what God tell us to our lives. God blesses that. How? By His Spirit connecting with our spirit. By allowing us to sense that oneness with he Father. That no matter what I ask, He won't be disappointed or get upset. No matter what I ask, He's more than enough to satisfy that hunger for Him that He's placed there.
God is more than willing to show us the truth about Himself, not only in His word, but in life. So we need to develop a listening heart, a listening spirit. The reason people make wrong decisions is they don't listen to Him. Well, that's what intimacy looks like, so once we get that in gear, what can we expect.
- Stability- It's like there's an anchor so that no matter what comes, you know God is in you and with you.
- Security- Takes away the fears because He's not way up there, He's right here.
- Serenity- A quietness and calmness of the spirit, a peace because of a right relationship that's always growing because both God and you are cultivating it.
- Sensitivity- Not only to God, but you develop a sensitivity toward others, and that's God ministering to their needs and their huts through you.
- Understanding- You'll understand the Word of God in ways that you've never understood before. You discover that the Bible is not a mystery book, but rather, the map to discovering the heart and mind of God. 3 barriers:
- Pride- I can handle it. I don't need God. But you get what comes with that.
- Rebellion- Known sin in our Lives, a hurdle. It short circuits what God wants to do in your life.
- In a hurry or just not interested. If you're in a hurry, you won't take the time you need to spend with Him or in His word. But if people give Jesus just one chance, they'll find that just one chance is all Jesus needs. The more you listen, the more you're going to hear. The more you hear, the more excited you're gonna be to give time to listen to Him. He's willing to say far more than you and I expect. The reason I say just not interested is that some would much rather have this person or that thing or that opportunity than they'd rather have God. They want what they can see and feel rather than have a relationship with God, who is so much more. And if they're just not interested, then they seriously need to check their heart.
Don't be satisfied with less than a daily intimate relationship with God, which is His deepest desire for you.