Many of you have been walking with God for years but are not satisfied in your relationship with Him. You sense that something is missing. You’ve tried different techniques or adopted a particular theology with the hopes that you would find the key to intimacy with God only to discover more frustration. The problem is that you may have been sold a bill of goods that can be summarized as: you can think your way into experiencing God. For example: to know God, believe this information about God; or think about God’s attributes – His love or goodness; or imagine yourself as God’s child; or picture God as _____________ (fill in the blank). The problem? These exercises imprison God in our thoughts. Yet, He really wants to openly and easily live in our lives.
To know God is to experience Him in everyday life not just know about Him in your intellect and thoughts.
Let me state that in another way: Christianity is not a system of beliefs about God but a love relationship with God.
I believe that you want to know God better not just know more about Him. Let me give you some grand, jumbo-sized foundational realities that make experiencing God a reality. I’ll also give you some practical ways you can begin to grapple with each reality. These realities become a part of your experience as you struggle with each one.
- Intimacy with God begins with the Trinity. All that you want (as a Christian) is found in the Trinity. Learning to commune with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit needs to be the highest priority of your life. Suggestion: Let your heart and mind dwell regularly on the icon or picture of the Trinity depicted by Andrei Rublev (15th c.). Sit at the table with the Trinity listening to their conversation and entering into their life. Note: you are not worshiping this icon but using it as a means of communing with God. “The essence of the Trinity is relationship.” (Darrell W. Johnson, Experiencing the Trinity). Our relationship with God begins as we enter the relationship of the Three.
- Intimacy with God comes from the heart of a child. Only little children enter the Kingdom of the Trinity. Become childlike in your relationship with the Trinity. Truly I say to you, unless you turn from your sin and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18.2-4). It’s not a matter of progressively becoming smarter about God by learning more information. It’s a matter of beating down your insatiable ego and prideful intellect until the humble, innocent, and simple heart of a child begins to emerge. How? Daily repentance and fasting. Truth be told…you are too full of yourself. That’s what is keeping you from becoming a child. So, empty yourself by turning from sin, self (self-sufficiency, self-righteousness, self-centeredness, self-importance), and the world system to Christ alone. A practical way to do this is fasting – from food, electronics (TV, computer, phone, radio), print (newspaper, books) – AND prayer – being with God in simplicity, silence, and solitude.
- Intimacy with God is made possible by the grace, life, and love of God. We love him because he first loved us (1 John 4.19). Your efforts of prayer, silence, communion, and fasting are empty unless carried along by the energies of the Triune God. In reality, you are a participant cooperating with God in His work of drawing you closer to Himself. You don’t make intimacy happen. You enter into what is already happening within the Trinity and from each member of the Trinity to every human being. By his divine power, he has given us all that is needed for life and godliness through the knowledge [experience] of him who called us to his own glory and excellence (2 Peter 1.3). Saying the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6.9-13), daily coming to Jesus (Matthew 11.28-30), partaking of the body and blood of our Lord (John 6.48-58), and abiding (a dynamic relationship) in the vine, Jesus Christ, (John 15.4-5) are ways to open your life to the energies of the Trinity.
God invites you into an intimate relationship with Himself and provides all you need for it to happen. Begin grappling with these realities and see where this take you.
What hinders your relationship with the Trinity from becoming more intimate? What will you do, in light of these three realities, to draw closer to God? Share below.