I was tucking my nine year old son into bed, having spent a good deal of the day contemplating the meaning of life. The topic was heavy on my heart, realizing my own wanderings from God and how I continually seem to find myself drawn to other affections rather than Him. I wanted to pour some water on a seed I thought I had planted in my little guy’s tiny heart. Little did I know that he was about to plant a seed in mine.
“He was genuinely intrigued, and genuinely caught off guard. So was I. Without realizing it, I was failing in one of the key responsibilities I have as a parent . . .”
“Did you know,” I began, “that you were created for intimacy with God?” I made the mistake of thinking I had done a good job teaching and modeling this for him, but I was royally wrong. “What’s that?” he answered, perplexed by this new word and what it might mean in relation to the God he had already come to know as Savior. “Intimacy means to be close to someone. It means to walk closely with God,” I explained.
“Oh, I didn’t know that!” he whispered loudly, eyes wide open. The look on his face as he lay there on his back, wrapped in the warmth of two cushy blankets, matched his words. He was genuinely intrigued, and genuinely caught off guard. So was I. Without realizing it, I was failing in one of the key responsibilities I have as a parent: to teach my children life’s most important pursuit, intimacy with our Creator, Almighty God Himself.
THE TIME OF OUR LIVES
Time waits for no one. Eventually, we each slow down, time catches up, overcomes us, and we succumb. Life ends and forever begins. In that instant our earthy life and pursuits are signed, sealed and delivered, and we are unable to add a single thing to the masterpiece of the life God gave us. In that moment it will be said of us that we either walked intimately with God or missed the opportunity – or, should I say opportunities – of a lifetime. Whose life? Yours. You were created for intimacy with God.
The question is, do you know what it means to be intimate with God, and is this the pursuit around which everything else revolves? Would other people, those closest to you, say you are a man or woman, boy or girl, who walks intimately with God? More importantly, would God say so?
What is “intimacy”? Most of us have a very narrow understanding of the word, reserving it for the bedroom or an emotional connection we may have with a spouse or lover. The word intimacy means to have “a close, familiar and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group; to have a close association with or detailed knowledge or deep understanding of something or someone; it is an act or expression of serving as a token of familiarity, affection, or the like; it is the quality of being comfortable, warm or familiar.”*
We may be a lot of things in life, but if we’re not intimate with God, I’m not sure any other accomplishment will compensate. What is more important, more exciting, more rewarding and more eternally significant than intimacy with God?
MAKE IT SO
You and I must realize that we each captain the ship we ride. Yes, my theologically astute friends, I know and believe God is sovereign, but in His humility He also gives us the freedom of choice. The choice is ours as to whether or not we choose to pursue Him in genuine intimacy. Do you or don’t you want to know God? Do you want a close, familiar, affection and loving personal relationship with Him? Do you want a deepening understanding of Him, His ways and your connection to Him? Do you want to grow in your familiarity with Him, your comfort with Him and His ways and affections for you? If so, then you have to steer the ship of your life toward intimacy with Him. You have to stop dreaming about it. You must make it happen.
Create, find and go to your “secret closet” on a daily basis, and do this over the next thirty days. Why? Because it’s in that closet where you will develop intimacy with God by reading the Bible, praying, listening to Him and writing down what He is teaching you. Within its walls you will discover God’s heart, His ways and His affections for you and the people of the world. And in that closet, God will change your affections toward Him and others.
And what will you do once the thirty days are over? You’ll recommit yourself to another thirty days. Perpetuate the process and the rest of your life will take care of itself. You’ll have crossed over from dreaming about intimacy with God to actually being intimate with Him.
Everything in life hinges upon time spent in your secret closet, because within its walls you will become a person who is truly intimate with God.
CHILD OF GOD
My son taught me a valuable lesson the night I tucked him in – and he teaches it to us all. Intimacy with God is something we must learn. If you are a parent, you must teach it to your children – but the only way to teach it is to model it. You need to be intimate with God, not simply teach others that it’s important for them. Don’t you want to make the real purpose of your life, intimacy with God, a reality? You can. Make the decision right now.
God gently spanked me that night I tucked my little guy into bed, and I’m grateful He did. Through my son, God taught me that intimacy isn’t something just for others. It’s for us all. We can have as much of God as we are willing to enjoy. He’s ours for the asking.
What do you think? Chime in and share your thoughts.