- Posted by Edith Ohaja
- On May 2, 2016
- 16 Comments
Many of us often sing the song, “As the deer panteth for the water, so my soul panteth after Thee, You alone are my heart’s desire and I long to worship You ….” But often, it’s a fleeting sentiment and we wonder why we don’t feel that way all the time. This reflection explains how you can sustain the feeling and grow intimate with God. Read and be blessed in Jesus’ name.
We often admire those who are sold out to God, who seem lost in Him and who are single-minded in His service as Jesus and the apostles were. The purity of their lives challenges us. We wonder how they manage to stay above the entanglements of this life, how they can be immune to the allurements of the age they live in that cause men to compromise their faith and conform to the world.
In the case of Jesus, His detachment from the standards and ways of this world was such that the Jews often misunderstood His words. This is more evident in the gospel of John than in others. Only those who shared His love for the Father and vision for the salvation of the world could make sense of most of what He was saying.
The question is: How can we be like Jesus, the saints and prophets of old in this regard? How can we be deeply intimate with the holy God? How can we be abandoned to Him that as Oswald Chambers puts it, we readily give our “utmost for His highest”?
Intimacy with God begins with a hunger for His presence. Nothing else seems to satisfy. And the more we experience Him, the more we want of Him. That is why Moses who’d been speaking with God face to face as a friend still demanded that God show him His glory in Exodus 33:18.
Therefore, we need to ask God to overtake us such that we always remember that though we are in the world, we are not of the world. We are citizens of another kingdom: God’s kingdom. Basically, we ask God to create a hunger for Him and those things that point us to Him in our heart, things like His word and prayer time.
In addition to praying this with our own words, the psalms are full of passages that can convey what we want for the man of God, King David, was often consumed with longing for God and sang about it. The hymns and contemporary Christian music can also be of help. One of my favourite worship songs is based on the prayer we are concerned with here and it goes like this:
“Take me past the outer courts
Into the Holy Place
Past the brazen altar
Lord, I want to see Your face
Pass me by the crowds of people
The priests who sing Your praise
I hunger and thirst for Your righteousness
And it’s only found one place
Take me into the Holy of Holies
Take me by the blood of the Lamb
Take me into the Holy of Holies
Take a coal, touch my lips, here I am”
(Lyrics of “Take me in” by the band Kutless)
Such a prayer is clearly in the will of God because He created us for this very purpose – that we might be close to Him and has His arms forever stretched out towards us. So He will speedily answer but the transition is not often automatic. Our response to His answer determines whether we remain in the outer courts of His glory or proceed to the inner parts of the temple.
What do I mean? In line with our prayer, God will begin to stir our hearts. From time to time, we might feel a sudden urge to worship or to meditate on the word of God. If we act immediately on those urges, we make progress in our quest to be intimate with God. But if we continually sweep them aside, waiting for more convenient, more “appropriate” times, the urges will reduce in frequency and intensity till we’re back where we were before.
We also need to realise that God has set some parameters for relating with Him in His word. Jesus declared in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Therefore, we should receive Jesus as our Lord and Saviour and then adhere to the basic disciplines of the faith if we sincerely want to have a meaningful relationship with our Maker. Such disciplines include constant prayer, bible study, fellowship, service to God and steering clear of sin.
When we have taken that first crucial step of accepting Jesus or being born again and we are inculcating the habits outlined above, not just flirting with God when we feel like it or we have some spare time, our hunger for God will be constantly kindled. When we pray about it, God will reveal Himself to us more and more and we will see an outpouring of His presence. That is His promise to us in Jeremiah 29:13:
“And ye shall seek me, and find ] me[, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”
And as His glory manifests in our lives, we will join the ranks of those who are privileged to share His secrets, who love and serve Him without reservation. That is the reality of enjoying intimacy with God.
Let us use this short poem to pray for that reality to be our portion always:
Help us to have eyes only for You, sweet LORD
To count the world and its pleasures nought
And be wrapped up in Your precious love
Our eyes only on You, only on You, precious LORD
Amen in Jesus’ name.
Jeremiah 29:13 (KJV)
And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
Psalm 27:4 (KJV)
One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.
Psalm 42:1-2 (KJV)
As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?
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