By Bill Gaultiere
Intimacy with God is the source of your joy in life and your strength to do good work.
That’s why Paul gushed, “Nothing is as wonderful as knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have given up everything else and count it all as garbage. All I want is Christ” (Phil. 3:8 CEV).
He says this because Jesus makes intimacy with God possible. In John 14, our Savior shows us that God is emotionally present to us as a loving Papa (vv. 6-7).
But how can you experience this? What does it look like to trust Jesus to minister his Papa’s love to you?
Jesus taught 3 steps to greater intimacy with God:
1. Believing Jesus’ words
To believe Jesus’ words includes intelligent study and blossoms into heartfelt trust.
2. Joining Jesus’ works of love
Our faith is shown if we do the kind of things that Jesus did in the gospels, like loving well, ministering healing, and making disciples (v. 12). We do this not with self-effort or strain, but by participating with what our risen Lord is doing right now in our midst.
When we talk with Jesus about the works of love that we’re doing together, we experience greater intimacy with God.
3. Asking Jesus for what you need from God
Jesus promises us, “I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” (vv. 13-14).
This is a step of being emotionally vulnerable in prayer and community with other Christ-followers.
Recently I practiced these three steps of intimacy with God.
In my morning meditation, I was looking at the lake near my home and imagined Jesus walking on the water to me, as he did to Peter and the disciples in the boat at sea (Mark 6:48).
I recalled Jesus’ words “Peace, be still” (Mark 4:39) spoken during another storm at sea. I repeated this verse with deep breathing over and over. I trusted that these words were true for me.
Later that day as I engaged in a full day of ministry, I did my work with Jesus. I resisted trying to make things happen in my strength and instead, I periodically paused to pray and kept seeking to act in the presence of Christ.
Then a storm of conflict blew into my life. It made me so anxious that I took three antacids! Then I remembered Jesus walking toward me on the stormy seas.
I asked a few people to pray for me and with one I shared in depth about what happened and how anxious I felt. This helped me put words to my underlying feelings of frustration, fear, and shame and go even deeper into the sadness about what I’d lost.
Being emotionally vulnerable helped me to trust Jesus and receive comfort and strength from his Papa.
That in turn helped me to pray for others affected by the conflict and look to God to guide us through the storm.
Intimacy with God is like that. It’s not always sweet and affectionate — it often includes working through stress, confessing sin, and taking courage to follow Jesus into an unknown outcome that’s messy.
You can find more resources to help care for your soul and increase your intimacy with Jesus at soulshepherding.org.
This article is submitted by Carolyn Trevino of Soul Shepherding. Soul Shepherding is a Missio Nexus member. Member organizations can provide content to the Missio Nexus website. See how by clicking here.