June 16, 2012

Intimacy with God

In a marriage and in other intimate relationships, there is always more to be discovered about that other person. Over time, we learn their qualities, values and personality quirks. It is in deeply knowing God that Paul was he was not ashamed of the suffering he endured as a preacher, apostle and teacher.
But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. (2 Timothy 1:12)
This verse refers to the intimate knowledge that comes through relationship. It uses the same word for “know” as is used of God’s knowledge of us in Matthew 6:8, “… your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” 

The object of Paul’s certain knowledge was not a thing, or even God’s truth, as important as that is. Instead, it was God Himself. God reveals truth, but intimacy is not about theology, but about knowing God as a Person because He has revealed Himself to us. 

Also, Paul knew, and I know too, that God guards His people. This word is a military term used of a soldier on watch. In those days, such a person was accountable with his own life to protect that which was entrusted to his care. This is true of the God that Paul and I know. We are convinced by His promises but also by His faithfulness. His care for us has been demonstrated in great measure. We know from personal experience that He guards us.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35–39)
No matter what happens, God loves me. However, the love and faithfulness of God, amazing as it is, does not give me license to do whatever I please. When Paul explained his suffering as a servant of the Lord, he also wrote of our responsibility as His people. He guards His blessing on me, yet I am to guard what He has given to me as well. 
But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you. (2 Timothy 1:12–14)
From these verses, one way to guard God’s gifts is to “follow the pattern of sound words” that He has revealed, and rely on the Holy Spirit to do it.  
Each day I read the Word of God and by His grace, get to know Him better. He reveals truth to me, but also Himself. In that, I learn the “sound words” that describe His Person and His will. By studying, recording and meditating on them, these truths are implanted in my heart and become part of my vocabulary.

But knowing God is not just about words. It is a relationship where He lets me in, knows and keeps my confidences, hears and responds to my requests, and reveals His heart and desires to me. In this relationship, I also let Him in, keep what He entrusts to me, obey His requests and reveal my heart and desires to Him. 

Father, what more can be said? This is a grand intimacy —the more I know You, the more I love You, yet even in that, my love could never match the height or depth of Your love and care for me. I’m so glad that You guard it with Your life and that You put the Holy Spirit in me that I might know and experience You.

No comments: