8 Keys to Grow Intimacy with God
My Journey to Grow Intimacy with God
Growing intimacy with God seems more accessible for some but not easy for others. I grew up in China, in a performance-oriented culture. Intimacy with God has not been easy for me. I tend to jump into action before asking God if this is what I am supposed to do or if it is the right time to act. Also, as a goal-oriented person, I quickly fall back to my default mode – doing before praying. However, I look back on my life; my relationship with God has been growing as long as I keep seeking Him and His righteousness.
What does Intimacy with God Mean?
Intimacy with God means a free flow of two-way communication with God. I seek to hear His voice in my daily life, be obedient to His voice, bless others, and have a blessed life. Seeking to hear God’s voice in everyday life is to honor Him as the Lord of my life. I don’t always seek Him because I am so used to doing life out of my default mode – self-reliance. It takes a deliberate effort to turn to Him for direction, answers, wisdom, or confirmation.
The Argument against Seeking God in Everything
As I started this journey many years ago, I heard this argument against asking God about everything. The idea is that God gives you a brain to think independently. Would it be annoying if you were 40 years old and still asked your parents what to wear, what to eat, and where to go? This argument sounds very logical. However, it gives in to the temptation of trusting our brain and relying on our ways or even self-idolatry. If we are trained to seek God for everything, our spiritual muscle of hearing His voice is strong, and that dependence becomes second nature. It would be fast and easy to listen to His voice daily.
Scriptures on Intimacy with God
Some of my favorite scriptures on intimacy with God are:
Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you
James 4:8: Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
God is the source of my satisfaction
Psalm 63:1-2: God, You are my God; I shall be watching for You; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and exhausted land where there is no water. So have I seen You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and glory.
The first and the most important step is to come to God
Isaiah 55:1: “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
Our level of abiding in God determines our level of fruitfulness
John 15:4-6: Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
Four Aspects of an Intimate Relationship with God
We usually turn to God when things and relationships do not turn out the way we want or expect. In our needs, we turn to God. I call this relationship transactional. A transactional relationship is a transactional and not a long-term committed relationship. I give you some, and you return the favor. And, there are no deep or meaningful relationships outside of the transactions. Transactional relationship is not an intimate relationship.
In our journey of growing intimacy with God, we experience four aspects of an intimate relationship.
These four aspects include:
Aspect #1: Master and servant relationship
It was natural to assume the master and servant relationship when I first came to know Jesus. In my eyes, God is the master of the universe and the master of our lives. It is a clear message in my mind, and the practical realization of having Jesus being the Lord in every area of my life took a lifetime of surrendering. Apostle Paul tells us, “But in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses (2 Corinthians 6:4)”.
Sometimes, we consider servanthood as slaves.
The master and servant relationship can easily be perverted as master and slave without intimate knowledge and experience of God. During the first 15 years of my faith journey, I served God diligently without knowing Him intimately. I did not know about hearing God’s voice. My understanding of hearing God’s voice was strictly the written words in the Bible. Now, I look back to that stage of my relationship, which is like Israelites with the Law of God. I experienced His blessings when I obeyed written words in the Bible (be honest, be kind, give financially, and diligently serve at church).
Slaves do not inherit abundant life.
The master and slave relationship did not bring contentment and fulfillment until something unexpected happened, turned my life upside down, and caused me to seek to know more of God (than just a taskmaster), as recorded in my book, the Lens of Love.
Proper understanding of the master and servant relationship helps us to be in reverence of God. Without the reverence of God, we would humanize our relationship with God. After all, He is God, and we are not.
Aspect #2: Parent and child relationship
People who experience childhood traumas may have difficulty trusting God as the father in heaven. In the perfect world, as in the garden of Eden before the fall, we depend entirely on God for His provision, protection, and affirmation. Before the fall, people trusted God and obeyed Him in His commandment and voice. This relationship aspect did not come as naturally as I thought after I became a believer. It takes time and work of the Holy Spirit for healing and restoration for me to trust God more and more. I am thankful that I am moving towards more dependency on God.
Aspect #3: Friends with God
In recent years, the Christian community has talked about friendship with God. The scripture that calls for friendship with God is John 15:15 “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” The father of faith, Abraham, is also called a friend of God (James 2:23). Jesus also said to His disciples that we are His friends if we do what He commands us (John 15:14). Friendship with God starts with reverence to God and seek His voice, counsel, and wisdom in every area of our lives. You cannot be friends if you do not fear God and don’t hear His voice.
Aspect #4: Co-labor or partnership
Finally, the last aspect of friendship with God is a co-laboring relationship. We are called God’s fellow workers in 1 Corinthians 3:9 “For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.” To me, this relationship is as meaningful as friendship, being children of God. It is the partnership with the almighty God in creating something new. This relationship aspect speaks of maturity in our relationship with God in my walk.
In summary, we experience all four aspects of intimate relationship with God is our faith walk. I am solidifying my identity as a child of God and growing my friendship with God through serving and co-laboring with God.
Seven Benefits of Intimacy with God
The benefits of intimacy with God are too many. Here, I am listing seven benefits of an intimate relationship with God.
- Know God as who He is
- Know ourselves as children of God
- Rest in the confidence that His ways are the best
- Find purpose, fulfillment, and contentment
- Live life with joy, peace, and hope
- Prosper in every area of our life
- Fruitful in all of co-laboring with God
Eight Keys to Grow Intimacy with God
Everyone walks a different journey in growing their intimacy with God. I have found that these eight keys have helped me grow daily.
1) Wait on God every morning
Make yourself available to God and starts your day in alignment with The Lord of your life.
2) Talk to God about everything
Talk to God as if you are talking to your best friend. There is nothing that He could not handle.
3) Seek to hear his voice in everyday lives
God is not limited to the church. He is God and the Lord of our daily lives.
4) Be open and vulnerable to God about your struggle
He will not condemn, shame, or guilt you. He builds and gently convicts and guides them to the right path.
5) Give thanks
Worship, praise, and thankfulness shift our focus from me to Him. He is worthy.
6) Repent quickly
Repent quickly to get back to God’s ways when the Holy Spirit convicts you,
7) Open to different ways of hearing his voice
It is fun to hear His voice in different ways and be surprised.
8) Serve to grow your spiritual gifts
We can grow by serving in ministry or people to stretch our spiritual muscles.
Prayer to Grow Intimacy with God
Lord, I come to you and desire greater intimacy with you.
Lord, God, my father in heaven. You are worthy of all my praises and worship. You created me to have an intimate relationship with you. In our relationship, I will discover your love, kindness, wisdom, guidance, provision, protection, and affirmation of who I am in you. I will find my purpose and fulfillment and thank you for putting this desire in me.
Lord, open all my spiritual senses on hearing your voice. Draw closer to me as I draw near to you. Increase my hunger and thirst for you. Amen
Now that you’ve gone through these steps, you’re on your way to a closer relationship with God!
So what comes next?
You may still struggle with hearing God’s voice, although you try to grow intimacy with God. The Healing Relationship Coaching covers why and how to hear God’s voice with examples and practices. You will be well-equipped to hear God’s voice in your daily life.