DEVOTIONAL FROM MY FRIEND
“But He knows the way I take; when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot has held fast to His path; I have kept His way and not turned aside. I have not departed from the command of His lips. I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:10-12).
Every child of God needs wisdom, not just knowledge. God is willing to give wisdom, but not on our terms. We must go DEEPER if we want Him to entrust us with more and more of His mind. In the process, we become more and more like Christ.
When tragedy strikes, we don’t need more intelligence. We don’t need a greater number of skills. We need depth, the kind of depth Job had. When the bottom dropped out of his life, he had the wisdom and the faith he needed to persevere.
Like Job, the apostle Paul also had great depth. He prayed three times for God to remove his “thorn in the flesh”—a physical condition that obviously caused him severe pain at times. God said “no.” Paul responded; “Most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9). He had depth—an example of wisdom at work. He didn’t throw a pity party. He chose to embrace his affliction so he could have the privilege of experiencing even more of Christ’s power over his life. Wow! What depth of character these two men had. What intimacy with Almighty God. I want what they had, so that my walk is such that I walk in step whether I feel good or not—whether I get a yes or no to my prayers. I want to walk consistently, even when I don’t get my own way.
Beloved, God often does His best work in us when He catches us by surprise and introduces a change that is completely opposite of what we want for ourselves. If we want intimacy with God, we must say with Paul; “My determined purpose– my focus, is that I may truly know Him.”
Intimacy, my friend, is marked by a very close association, contact or familiarity. Relationally, intimacy is a warm and satisfying FRIENDSHIP which develops through a long association on a very PERSONAL and PRIVATE level. The ULTIMATE INTIMACY is not an intimacy with our loved ones, it is intimacy with the LIVING GOD. When we have intimacy with Him, our personal relationships will grow sweeter and more fulfilling and stand the test of time.
I want to ask you some very personal questions, the answers to which only you and God know. How distant are you from God right now? Has your closeness with Him chilled? Could that be why your worship has become rather mundane? Do you sing songs of worship while thinking of something else rather than the God who created you and gave you all things? Are you critical of your brothers and sisters in God’s family—so much so that you sound like an unbeliever? It’s good for us to stop and examine ourselves and our relationship with the One who died to give us eternal life. Are you giving Him the best you have to give; or does He get your leftovers?
Let us say with Paul; “My determined purpose is for that never to be true for me. I will pursue a relationship with God that becomes so close, He and I will walk consistently together through whatever pressures that occur.” That’s intimacy, dear one. That should be the goal of every born-again believer. And the way we secure that intimacy is through DISCIPLINE.
Discipline is training that corrects and perfects our mental faculties and molds our moral character. It gains control by enforced obedience to God’s Word. It is the DELIBERATE cultivation of the inner order of the soul. Intimacy is the goal. Discipline is the means to getting there. Intimacy is not natural, automatic, quick, or easy. It’s like cultivating a beautiful flower garden. You have to get rid of the weeds, if the flowers are to bloom in their full beauty.
So intimacy is both a discipline AND a goal—much like humility and prayer and sacrifice, and any of the other disciplines required of the Christian in a true walk of faith. Our great tendency in the present age is to increase our speed, to run faster, even in the Christian life. In the process our walk with God stays SHALLOW, and our spiritual tank runs on fumes. Intimacy offers us a full tank of fuel that can only be found by pulling up closer to God, which requires the sacrifice of your time and effort to make it happen. God tells us in Psalm 14 that He “looks down from heaven upon the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, who seek after Him.” The God of the universe—the One who created all things, longs for an intimate relationship with You! He made the ultimate sacrifice for you and me. Are you willing to make the necessary sacrifice to satisfy His longing?
Heavenly Father, You have promised that if we will draw near to You, You will draw near to us—That if we search for You with all our hearts, we will find You. Lord, I pray that all Your children will claim those promises and draw closer and closer to You—that they will cultivate wisdom that leads to an intimate relationship with You, our loving Creator . Give us, Lord a special unlimited faith that can never be bound by what this world has to offer. Father, we need a faith that helps us rise above unhappiness and pain, that sees Your goodness and finds Your steadfast love sufficient in every circumstance of our lives. Abba Father, please help us to develop a strong discipline that leads to wisdom, knowledge and understanding of how great You are and how deep Your love truly is for all Your children….
In Christ alone and for His glory, Ellie Waldron SEPTEMBER 25, 2014