INTIMACY WITH GOD
Intimacy needs to be cultivated in any relationship we desire to have it in. Intimacy is a function of love. The scriptures say “You shall love the Lord thy God with all your might, and mind”, (Matthew 22:37) and “If you love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) The proof of love is keeping the commandments. Our love for God will drive us to obedience. Loving God should be the basis of our obedience to Him. Real intimacy with God is guaranteed when we balance our love for God with an honour and respect for Him. This comes as a result of our fear of God. There are things that hinder intimacy. These include; not wanting to be vulnerable before another, fear of rejection, fear of being taken advantage of, suspicion and fear of ulterior motives. The love of God and the love for God are antidotes for these hindrances. When we get born again and filled with the Spirit of God, the love of God is shed in our hearts and by revelation, the Spirit of God impresses on our hearts just how much God loves us. As we study and apply God’s Word in our lives, our knowledge of Him increases and we grow in confidence towards Him. We cultivate intimacy by desiring to communicate regularly through all kinds of prayers: adoration, supplication, thanksgiving and worship. Then we ask Him questions and maintain communion with Him. Intimacy does not just happen; it takes time to build it. All the factors mentioned here will lead us to intimacy and our discernment will be sharper as we grow in grace.
LIGHT UNTO MY PATH
When the Word gains entrance into the human heart, light from God breaks into the life of the person. That light now shines and reveals the path to tread upon. This usually happens in many ways. One of these ways is when the Holy Spirit quickens verses of scripture, or an image of an event in the Word. Impressions, perceptions and intuitions come in here. The Word becomes the ‘raw material’ that the Spirit of God can use to give us direction. Many get mislead here as there are many voices and different sources of impressions and perceptions. Since His Word can be a light to our path, our interaction with the Word is a necessary foundation for depending on our perceptions and impressions. Just as the body and mind of man can be developed to carry out some unusual feats, the spirit of man can so be developed to do some things too. The words Jesus speaks are spirit and (contain or are full of) life. (John 6:63) Meditation, confession and application of the principles and instructions in God’s Word will develop the human spirit. The human spirit will better cooperate with the Holy Spirit to carry out God’s will on earth. The human spirit is capable of educating the mind whilst the body simply follows instructions from the spirit through the mind. There are areas we need God to reveal the certainties to our hearts. We need to settle in our hearts that God is a good God. (Jeremiah 29:11) New creation realities and our new position in Christ also need to settle in our hearts. We have been translated into the Kingdom of the Son of His love. (Colossians 1:13) The authority vested in us as believers needs to be settled in our hearts. (Luke 10:19).These foundational understandings hold us in good standing as we are processed into the destiny God has for us.
Progress in God is accomplished through process. This is what we go through experientially in our challenges as we seek to obey God fully. They are steps we take, principles we internalise and adjustments we make as we grow into the pure and holy habitation for God. God wants to dwell in us and demonstrate His power in and through us. We pass the tests and become who He wants us to become. All that the men of old went through, that were documented, have a message for us in our time. A path is that which others have walked on. When we face our giants we remember David. When rejected we see how Joseph handled it in his time. Their process becomes our prophetic direction. If they came out successful then we can anticipate the same outcome they had. Another reality we see is that our process has phases. Recognition of what phase we are in and how to go through it is one of the advantages we have when we have the light of God at work in us. Joseph’s coats represent different phases of his life. The coat of many colours represented a ‘beginning’ phase for him. The coat of slavery in Potiphar’s house represented another phase. The prison clothes represented another phase. Then, coming before Pharaoh, he had to change his coat again. It is usually the hiding phase that enhances internal dealings.
BE WILLING TO PAY THE PRICE
“There is a price to pay and a position to take for the privileges to be enjoyed”. This statement has become a popular slogan in our churches in Nigeria especially after it was made popular by the music of the gospel artist, Favour Johnson, who is a part of the church family there. There is a price tag on any and everything. When the price is too high to pay, the privileges begin to diminish. When we read “freely ye have received, freely give” (Matt. 10:8), it is based on the supposition that we have cultivated a lifestyle that has positioned us to ‘freely’ receive. That lifestyle is the price you pay. Jesus disciples were told to freely give as they had freely received, but they became His disciples as they left all to follow Him. Without being His disciples they would not have ‘freely’ received whatever He told them to ‘freely’ give. Jesus’ blood was shed for our salvation. He paid with His life. We pay a price with our faith and obedience to bring this salvation to others. Those who receive pay a price by their believing and adjusting their hearts in repentance to begin the process of salvation. The process continues as they are willing to keep having heart adjustments and become willing and obedient too. Discipleship involves learning, following, obeying and honouring the Lord. We should become cost-minded rather than benefit-minded if we are going to have lasting results. Look for the price and be willing to pay it. Daniel prayed for 21 days before the angel showed up. He had been released from the first day Daniel prayed. The church in Jerusalem prayed without ceasing until Peter showed up. What if they prayed for 30 minutes then all went home to sleep? What did the apostles have in mind when they refused to be distracted from ‘prayer and the ministry of the Word’? (Acts 6:4) Are we willing to pray the price? It is when we are in fellowship with the Holy Spirit that He will help us to know and pay the price. All we need to do is obey Him. The path God has for us is not without a price. Many have the notion that God’s will is easy or for softies. Far from the truth. It is for those who will endure hardness as a good soldier and for him who seeks to please Him who enlisted Him (2 Timothy 2:3-4). His Word, Spirit and grace are sufficient to reveal as well as empower us to do His will as it is revealed on the mountain top. We should be willing to go through process, grow in grace and learn to cultivate the lifestyle that keeps paying the price. With these, His Word will indeed be a light unto our path and the entrance of it will keep giving us light. We need this light to navigate accurately in life to see His Kingdom come and His will done.