There are two things that I often say to my students: “Intimacy is in the journey“, and “Revelation is on the other side of obedience“.
It is funny to think that we would view our relationship with God differently than any other relationship. It’s not that our walk with God takes on the attributes of our earthly relationships, but rather that healthy relationships in general are a reflection of our relationship with Him. This is after all, how God designed us.
The point I’m trying to make is that my closest relationships are not with the people I have known the longest, but with those with whom I have experienced the most life situations. Granted, length of time and amount of life circumstances are generally with the same person…but not always. And concerning relationships with God, those whom I regard as intimate with the Father are not necessarily those who have been saved the longest. Why? Because intimacy is in the journey, but unfortunately not everyone has given themselves completely to that journey. Not everyone has completely laid their own identity down to fully take on Christ’s.
Here’s the thing: You were created by God. You were designed and purposed by His will–His heart. He has destined you to know Him and make Him known. And He has purposed this to happen through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:3-6). So you will never truly understand who you are until you understand the Father’s heart for you. But you will never understand the Father’s heart for you until you walk in the identity of the Son.
It is in this place, this lifestyle, of living out the identity of Jesus that we truly walk in intimacy with God. Jesus said that He only did what the Father was doing, and He only spoke what the Father was saying. So by laying our lives down and taking up the life and mission of Christ, we automatically take up and live out the heart of the Father. Knowing God is about going where He is going and doing what He is doing. And we know where He goes and what He does by looking at and living out the life of Jesus.
So where do we start? Well, just as intimacy is in the journey, revelation is on the other side of obedience. Let me put it another way: Drawing close to God happens as you go where He goes and do what He does. Our responsibility in this relationship is to simply love Him and step out in faith with Him as we do what Christ has already shown us to do–to go into the harvest field, to heal the sick, to take care of the orphan and widow, to make disciples. It is not a matter of understanding first. It is a matter obeying first, and as we obey–as we walk out with God–we step through obedience into deeper revelation and intimacy. You see, obedience is not a duty God is calling us to perform, it is a devotion He is calling us to experience.
Following Christ happens in action…not in belief. By stepping out in faith to share God’s love with others we are acting on who Christ is; we are taking part in His identity. We don’t do this to be accepted by the Father, we do it with the Father since this is already what He is doing. We do it because He has already accepted us and is calling us to come do what He has always been doing.