It is interesting to read the various books out today dealing with building a life of purpose and significance. My last book, Finishing Well – Finishing Strong, also attacked this subject but from a little different perspective. In researching Scripture for this book I was challenged to look more deeply at the topic of building an intimate relationship with God.
As men we don’t usually use the word intimacy. That is something usually saved for a deep conversation with our spouses; however, Scripture tells us that the purposeful life, the life of significance, and the life modeled after Christ comes from intimately knowing God. God’s ultimate desire for you and me is to know Him and make Him known.
I can’t get away from the power of this theme. Years ago when I wrote The Ultimate Hunt, an in-depth exploration of God’s character, it wet my appetite to know more about our Loving Father. In his marvelous book, Close to His Majesty, David C. Needham speaks of the great intimacy that results when we focus our gaze upon God: “It is so easy to forget that God saved us above all else for love, for intimacy in relationship, for response. To fail to have time for this is to fail at living. Certainly His intentions are that everything else – service, witnessing, practical holiness – be an outgrowth of our love for Him. Nurturing a lasting love takes time.
Our finite minds will never fully grasp the depth of understanding needed to completely know God. Just think about two traits of God: His omnipresence and His omniscience. I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around those topics and yet we are asked by God to know Him more each day. Charles Stanley once addressed the question of God’s desire for you and me by stating that “God created us for a personal relationship with each one of us. Many people do not understand how God could possibly love them. They feel as though they have fallen too far to be loved by God. Or perhaps they mistakenly believe that they have sinned in some way that would keep them from experiencing God’s intimate care.”
Stanley went on to say, “But this is not true. God loves each one of us with an unconditional love. He accepts us when we come to Him and He forgives our sin when we turn from it and tell Him that we need Him.” The reality is that God actually desires to know us and build a deep and abiding relationship with us. In John 15:14 we read, “The more we know Him the more we love Him and desire to become more like Him.”
The Apostle Peter tells us that the Lord is holy; in fact, we even read the command, “Be holy, because I Am holy” (1 Peter 1:16; Leviticus 11:44; Leviticus 19:2). And Paul in his letter to the Ephesians reminds us that we were called to a new way of life. “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:22-24).
Yes, my friend – our response to God’s love is to become holy. For me that requires that every day I must consider my failures in light of His grace and repent of my sin so that I can grow in godly character. I don’t know about you, but I feel like I need several life-times to work through all my stuff. Thank God for the sacrifice of His Son on Calvary’s Cross that allowed imperfect man to become perfect in God’s sight.
Have a good week thinking about how you can better know God and His plan for your life.
- Building an intimate relationship with God requires time. How much time do you set aside daily to explore a deeper relationship with your Creator?
- How can you impart your knowledge of God to someone who is going through tough times?
- What verses come to mind when you think of God’s majesty, power, love, and grace?
Jim E. Grassi, D. Min.