“ Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.”
John 15:13-15 KJV
Developing friendship/cultivating intimacy with God is not only possible, it is God’s desire, so much that He took the form of a man in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ and dwelt amongst men, just to prove this. The constituents of this friendship/intimacy however, are not exactly on the same level with which we relate to fellow human beings, as the Lord Jesus states in the text quoted above. Obedience to God’s standards as made clear in His Word is a demand to cultivate/achieve such.
There are many tips we glean from the Bible on developing intimacy/friendship with God, seeing that the whole point of life is to know God (John 17:3). However, it is possible to know an individual from a distance (although it can be argued if that really is knowledge or not) or up close. A certain amount of confidence and certainty emanates when discussing about your best friend for example, compared to an acquaintance. Best friends don’t need words to communicate. They could just look at each other or something else for example in a given circumstance, and simultaneously burst into laughter, leaving someone in their company but without the privilege of that same level of intimacy at loss as to what they’re on about. Why? They have grown in knowledge of each other, via spending time together, learning their likes and dislikes etc. amongst others, which eventually led to the development of such intimacy. They could in normal conversations with others make several references to each other without paying attention due to their level of closeness.
Do you know that it is possible to have an even yet deeper relationship with God, where you sense His heart concerning some issues; you perceive when He wants to do something in your life or in the life of someone within your sphere of influence, and He’s letting you in on it to enable you be a blessing?
PneumaWord aims this October (2015) by God’s grace, to clear every doubt in your mind about the possibility of developing friendship/cultivating intimacy with God, via its combo of a Bible study challenge – studying Psalms and Online Book Club – books written by women of God around the subject area. This by no means aims to be an exhaustive list of EVERY ingredient needed for such, but more of an introduction that sets you on a fulfilling journey for life, of being intimate friends with the Most High God, Creator of the Universe, the God Who was, Who is and Who is to Come, Who fills time and Eternity and is Incomprehensible…think about that! 😀
For since He Whom God sent speaks the words of God [proclaims God’s own message], God does not give Him His Spirit sparingly or by measure, but boundless is the gift God makes of His Spirit! John 3:34 AMP
Jesus – the last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45), in coming to earth and taking on the form and nature of a man (Philippians 2:5-7), showed us the pattern of living and relationship God ordained for us to have with Him, which was the experience the first Adam had prior to his fall into sin. The intimacy that Jesus had with God the Father and the Holy Spirit is recorded in detail in the Bible (I’d recommend a thorough study of the Gospel of John on this) and God desires nothing less with us (John 17:23).
Scripture gives us several examples of individuals who walked intimately with God/developed friendship with God. Because God is no respecter of persons, we can attain the same by following their example plus having these records puts us at a greater advantage i believe.
None of these individuals mentioned below as examples were by any means perfect; I’m glad the Bible did not glaze over their sins but made them clear, proving that where sin abounds, God’s Grace abounds yet more, giving us the needed empowerment NOT to fall into or continue in sin (Romans 5:20-21; 6). Cheer up, there’s hope for us 😀
Some examples of individuals that walked intimately with God:
Abraham was literally called the friend of God.
“And [so] the Scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed in (adhered to, trusted in, and relied on) God, and this was accounted to him as righteousness (as conformity to God’s will in thought and deed), and he was called God’s friend. ” James 2:23 AMP
This was an individual who lied consciously about the same thing more than once (Genesis 12:13; 20), who got his wife’s maid pregnant (Genesis 16) and later on sent her and his son away from his household with as much as bread and a bottle of water ONLY (Genesis 21:9-15).
Yet God called him a prophet (Genesis 20:7) and further said of Him:
“For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.” Genesis 18:19 KJV
God Himself called David a man after His own heart:
“And when He has deposed him, He raised up David to be their king; of him He bore witness and said, I have found David son of Jesse a man after My own heart, who will do all My will and carry out My program fully.” Acts 13:22 AMP
This was a man who decided to chill when kings went to war (fleeing responsibility?), saw Uriah’s wife bathing and not only committed adultery with her but arranged for the murder of her husband Uriah (2 Samuel 11).
Yet this was what God said of Him:
“My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.
Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David.
His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me.
It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah”
Psalms 89:34-37 KJV
JESUS descended from David’s bloodline!
Moses enjoyed deep intimacy with God that apart form Jesus who came from the Father, I have seen no record in Scriptures of anyone else who saw God’s similitude up close and lived:
“And the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.” Exodus 33:11a AMP
This man murdered an Egyptian (Exodus 2:11-14) and by prematurely stepping out into his purpose, extended Israel’s bondage in Egypt by thirty years more than what God originally had said (Acts 7:17-36; Genesis 15:13-16; Exodus 12:40-41).
Yet, this is what God said about Moses:
“ And the LORD came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth.
And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.
My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house.
With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses.”
Numbers 12:5-8 KJV
4. Mary Magdalene
Mary Magdalene had her fair share of issues, Jesus cast out seven devils out of her – what torment she must have lived in! (Mark 16:9)
Yet, because of her seeking Jesus (she clearly highly esteemed Him as her Lord); only John gives the detailed account in his gospel of how Jesus was ‘compelled’ to appear to her, after rising from the dead even before ascending to His Fathetise to present HIs blood for the atonement of the sin of mankind (Hebrews 9:14-16).
“Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.
Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.” John 20:16-17 KJV
Truly, they that seek the Lord diligently with all their heart shall find Him (Jeremiah 29:13; Isaiah 55:6)!
I’ve heard a renowned Bible teacher remark whilst teaching, that if you want to be close to God, read the book of Psalms (eyes pop; ears tingle 😀) so I thought, why not throw this as a Bible reading challenge and see what we’ll all learn?
As for these books, I can’t recall exactly how I stumbled upon them, probably a combination of search terms along the subject area and going through reviews on Amazon? I’d just say that God was fine tuning the details, having never read a book yet by either author, although I’ve heard about one and have listened to the other’s teaching; hence the Combo of the Bible Reading Challenge and the Online Book Club in this very special month of this year, OCTOBER 2015! 😀
In hindsight, I believe it was God working through me to bring us all to this point (Philippians 2:13).
Please join in this challenge, get the books and study them (but bear in mind copyright rextractions when commenting or postings excerpts etc.); don’t forget to hit share and encourage as many to join in as possible. Looking forward to your discoveries, comments and questions.
God bless you 🙂
© Lydia for PneumaWord