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Facts of the Matter

A weekly letter of encouragement and challenge to business and professional men and women
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Dear Colleagues,

INTIMACY WITH GOD (Part 1 of 4)

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For most of us the idea of intimacy with Christ is a difficult concept to get our minds and hearts around.  Especially for men, many of whom are rumored to be relationally challenged!  Competition, getting projects done, or banging heads and egos on the gridiron come naturally.  But intimacy?  The truth for most of us men (and women?) is that we would rather be busy for God than intimate with God. 

Here are four reasons why intimacy with God is essential:

To fulfill the purpose for which we were created.  I concur with The Westminister Confession which states, God has made us for himself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee. Think of it:  The purpose of creation and the purpose of the cross is about our intimacy with God. Unless and until intimacy with God becomes our reality, we, like Cain we will continue to be restless wanderers on the earth. (Gen. 4:14) In James 4:4 we are cautioned not to commit spiritual adultery with the world by cultivating its friendship. Why? Because, as verse 5 puts it, God is a fiercely jealous lover of our soul. The picture of Jesus weeping over Jerusalem forcefully drives home his desire for intimacy with us: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalemhow often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing  (Matt. 23:37) (See Isa. 65:2; Matt. 22:1-14; Lk. 22:15; Jn. 17:21, 23)

 

The tragedy is that most of us are unwilling, as evidenced by our running here and there, hungrily seeking this or that experience, forever searching for something other than Christ to quell the restless vacancy of our callow souls. In our affluent, pluralistic society our options for multiple choices leads us to decrease our commitments to everyone, including God.  Thus, we live with a sense of fragmentation, saturation, overload, and incoherence. There is simply too much to do and too little time to do it. So, the first thing that goes is our time with God. Pope John XXIII wisely stated, "The older I grow the more clearly I perceive the dignity and winning beauty of simplicity in thought, conduct and speech: a desire to simplify all that is complicated and to treat everything with the greatest naturalness and clarity."

 

To glorify God.  Picture a man on earth gazing at the moon.  The light of the moon is reflected from the sun.  We could say that the moon glorifies (or reveals) the sun.  Remember Moses, returning from 40 days on the mountain with God, and putting a veil over his face to mask Gods glory?  The glory manifested on his countenance was the result of spending time with the Holy One. (2 Cor. 3:7-18; Ex. 34:29-35)  In like manner, as we engage with Christ, obediently living out his mandates, we naturally reflect his beauty to others.  (Mt. 5:16)

 

To control our lifeAt age 18 while in the U.S. Marines in Japan, a young prostitute approached me, asking if I would like to spend the night with her. You can imagine the jolt and the rush. At that moment, 2 Corinthian 5:14 flashed into my mind, The love of Christ constraineth us  (KJV) Lord, I breathed, Lord, if I go with this woman, I will destroy the love and intimacy we enjoy with each other.  I cant do it. And with that, I slowly walked away.  As His follower I made it a regular practice of storing His word in my heart. Thus, in that time of testing I experienced the reality of Psalm 119:9, 11: How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your wordI have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

To bear fruitIt is the man who shares my life and in whose life I share who proves fruitful. The plain fact is that apart from me you can do nothing at all. The man who does not share my life is like a branch that is broken off and withers away… This is how my Father will be glorified in your becoming fruitful and being my disciples. (Jn. 15:5b, 8 Phillips)  The fact is that fruit bearing is the natural result of intimacy with Christ. No intimacy: No fruit.

QUESTION: Is it your sincere desire to know Christ intimately?  The proof is in whether you make brutal choices to make time with him your first priority. Are you man or woman to just do it?

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