After listening to the broadcast, a lovely woman emailed me to ask how she could grow in her intimacy with Christ.
Maybe you can relate? I think all of us can remember certain times in our lives when our passion for Jesus spilled out of our hearts, flooded our minds, and filled us with a sense of peace, joy, and inspiration to tell others about Jesus.
So what happens?
I can remember a day when my kids were young. I was in my car singing praises to the Lord as I drove home from an incredible time of Bible study with women in my church. I recall praying, “Lord, for all of my days, please keep me here––in this place of passion for You.”
Did I stay “right there” for the rest of my life? Well––no. I wish I could say that I did. But as life’s busy-ness and pressures began to take priority over my time, the fire burning in my soul soon faltered.
Because I allowed “the cares of this life” to become a priority, I abandoned the time I spent in prayer, worship, and in learning of God’s character through the study of God’s Word, and fellowship with other women who were also committed to grow their faith.
I ached to find my way back to that place I had once been, but I needed help to know how. Titus 2:4 instructs the older woman to teach the younger, so I sought out older women whose walk with Christ I wanted to emulate.
I am confident the insights I gleaned from these passionate Christ followers are what God used to help me find my way back to an intimate walk with Him. So what did I learn? I’m so glad you asked. In the church, there is a temptation to “pretend” we have it all together, I think that lack of vulnerability is one area where we fail one another in the Christian community, so I applaud your courage to seek help.
Steps to Take
These steps transform my intimacy with Christ whenever I start to wander––which happens more often than I’d like to admit!
1. Get alone with God to search your heart and confess your sin to Him. Pray Psalm 139:23-24: “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Unconfessed sin is the number one hindrance to a believer’s intimacy with Christ, so always begin with honest reflection on your own heart. Recently, my daughter shared with my Sunday School class that she writes out all the sins that God reveals to her so she can be intentionally in repenting and turning from her sin.
If you are married, know that harboring resentment against your husband for not measuring up to your expectations is a real threat to your intimacy with Christ.For marriage help you can read my book: If My Husband Would Change I’d Be Happy & Other Myths Wives Believe.
2. Begin reading through all the Bible stories from Genesis onward. You may be quite familiar with the stories, but as you read, don’t necessarily look for what Abraham, Moses, David, etc. did. Rather, ask God to show you what He did. As the Spirit reveals itself to you in each story, write in the margin of your Bible “God’s Character-God’s Ways.” As you study, ask God to grow your love for Him as you learn his character.
This process will help you learn to recognize God’s ways in your own life and help you trust Him. It will also help you know His character and cause your heart to love Him more and more as you discover God for who He really is––and not who you may perceive Him to be.
3. Write out Psalm 119 in a journal. Write one stanza each morning and pray it back to the Lord. Think about the stanza throughout the day and pray back to God the portions you remember. Before bed, read the stanza again as a prayer to the Lord. The next day, do the same with the next stanza. Do this daily until you’re through all of Psalm 119 (it’s a very long chapter).
When you’ve finished, you can always begin writing and praying through Psalm 119 again. Each time I go through this process, it causes my love for God to swell. (In fact, I am so in love with Psalm 119, with God’s help I am now memorizing the whole chapter!)
Work through a study on the Names of God. My favorite is: Lord I Want to Know You by Kay Arthur.
4. Learning the Names that God gave Himself throughout the Bible will help you know Him more intimately, trust Him more, and fall in love with who He really is––rather than who you may perceive Him to be.
5. Read biographies about people who lived in total abandon to Christ. I can’t even tell you how inspiring it is to read biographies. And not only will you learn from the example of some amazing Christ followers, you will learn to see your own life through an eternal perspective. One of my favorites is: Spurgeon: A New Biography.
Seeing the impact of others for the cause of Christ will help you remember we all get one moment on this planet to live the purpose for which God created us: To know Christ and to make Christ known.
6. Ask God for help. In John 14:13, Jesus promises: “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”
7. Don’t give up. There will be seasons when life will draw you away from your passion to pursue Christ. However, God promises to draw back those who are His.
Scripture says, “He who began and good work in you will bring it to completion… It is God who works in you to will and to do His good pleasure.” (Philippians 1:6; 2:13) Isn’t that exciting? You aren’t in this alone. God grants His Spirit to help anyone who has received Jesus as Lord and Savior, and I know He can help you too.* And if you live in a manner worthy of your calling, I am certain you will have no regrets.