If you Google “intimacy with God”, there are 576,000 results. That’s a lot of people who are thinking about what it means to have an intimate relationship with our Creator. They want to know what this is, what it looks like and how to get there.
Think of someone in your life with whom you have an intimate relationship. I’m speaking of emotional intimacy, not physical intimacy. How did you develop that intimacy?
Time, time, time.
And then some more time.
I know. I saw you cringe; you wanted an easier answer. But it’s true.
How did you develop an intimate friendship with someone? You spent time with them. You invested life in them. You were intentional about making space for them in your life. And it took a while, right?
Developing an intimate relationship with Jesus takes time and effort. We need to grow not only in our knowledge of God, but in the ways we relate to Him.
“You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.” Psalm 139:3 (NASB)
God is intimately acquainted with our ways, and wants us to be intimately acquainted with His. How do we do this? Here are some possible ways to develop intimacy with God.
1. Read the Gospels.
One way we can invest in intimacy is to see how others invested in intimacy. How did the disciples develop their relationship with Jesus and how did Jesus develop His relationship with the disciples? Notice what both Jesus and the disciples say, see, experience and feel in the gospel accounts. Put yourself in their shoes as they walk along. Notice the things that Jesus says about life with Him and what it looks like. Notice the ways that Jesus reflects our Father.
2. Practice stillness, silence and solitude.
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
Make it a practice to sit quietly during your intentional times with God. Listen with expectation. Wait. Pause. Breathe.
Consider taking a silent retreat. Or create intentional times of solitude in your daily life. We read in the gospels that Jesus did this.
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16 (NIV1984)
If He needed it, then we certainly do to.
3. Talk to God.
Talk to God? Do I mean “pray?” Yes & no. Talking to God is part of prayer, but I think prayer for us can sometimes look like giving God our laundry list of daily requests or crying out in a time of desperation.
This is not what I’m talking about.
Think of it this way. Imagine a good friend of yours, someone you speak with regularly. Imagine your day, the things you text to each other, or the funny stories that remind you of this friend.
Now imagine that friend to be Jesus. Talk with Him as if you were talking on the phone with that friend. Tell Him the funny stories or the little things that happen. Share with Him your thoughts, dreams and fears. Pause and listen and wait for His response.
Our God is a jealous God. He desires to work and reign in every area of our lives. Ask God to open your heart and reveal to you areas where you need to draw closer to Him. We need to be jealous of our time with Him, just like we intentionally carve out time for a friend, a spouse or our kids.
Pause. Talk to Him. Read about Him. Listen. Invest in intimacy.