Relational intimacy grows in direct proportion to the amount and quality of time we spend with another person. This applies to our friends, our spouses, our kids, even to God. If we spend unhurried time with God, not just talking but listening, we can begin to relax in our relationship with Him and really get to know Him. When we learn to “be still and know that He is God,” we begin to pray without a checklist of things we want from Him.
Much of intimacy depends on the mindset and attitude of our hearts when we approach God. If you want to take a quick check of your status, here are a few questions to ask . . .
- Is my heart soft toward God?
- Am I feeling empathetic or judgmental towards others right now?
- When I think of my wife or husband, does my heart smile or frown?
- If I am frowning, am I willing to forgive, right now, whatever it is I am holding against them?
- Have I thought about or prayed today for anyone who is in trouble?
- Have I sincerely thanked God today for anything?
If the answer to any of those questions brought a sigh to your spirit, stop right now and talk to God. Tell Him how you answered the question. Ask Him to change your attitude . . . to help you forgive, to direct your thoughts to the friend who is in trouble. Thank Him for loving you, for adopting you into His family, for being so generous toward you.
That’s what intimacy with God is . . . constantly taking a check on your heart and constantly interacting with your heavenly Father to stay in step with Him. When we fail to do this, we miss out on the joy that comes from this intimate, minute-by-minute interaction with a kind, loving, understanding God.
Intimacy with God also means bringing Him into every situation we face. When it comes to relationships, it’s me, you, and God. “How would You have me react, Father? Give me the words you would have me say.” In every circumstance, it’s, “What are You teaching me here, Father?” . . . then listening to, remembering and acting upon what comes to your mind and heart. Intimacy is telling God when you’re afraid, telling Him when you’re tired, telling Him when you’re disappointed . . . even angry. God knows what’s in our hearts. He’s big enough and loves us enough that He isn’t going to be put off by us telling Him the truth about how we feel at a given moment.
When we develop and maintain an intimate relationship with our heavenly Father, we will be continuously filled with the Spirit of God. And when that happens, we are filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. A person who consistently exhibits these qualities will stick out like black socks with Bermuda shorts. People will notice. People will ask, “How do you maintain such a wonderful attitude, day in and day out?”
And then you’ll have the opportunity to tell them what you do every day . . . spend time with a heavenly Father who loves you (and them) deeply. How cool is that?
Scripture: The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. (Psalm 145:18)
Mentor Tip: Model this for your guys wherever you can, but especially when you pray. Don’t pray churchy, cookie-cutter prayers in front of them . . . have conversations with God. Show them it’s ok to honest with God and pause to listen for His response.