The supreme will and goal of God for the human life is for us to be transformed and conformed to the image of His Son—Jesus Christ. Once we're adopted into the family of God, we set ourselves on a lifelong mission to be converted to the likeness of our Lord & Savior, reflecting Jesus in all that we do. It's not enough to just profess you're a Christian. God wants a relationship with you, and to use you to accomplish divine assignments in the earth.
The only way to cultivate a relationship with the Creator is by surrendering and submitting your life to Christ. We are only reconciled to the Father through Jesus. This reconciliation opens the door to developing a deep, intimate connection with God, walking with Him on a life-changing journey of faith and commitment. Thus, intimacy is something that is built overtime. But just what is intimacy? Dictionary.com defines intimacy as a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with a person or group. Another definition describes it as a close association with or detailed knowledge or deep understanding of a place, subject, period of history, etc. Everyone is at a different place in their relationship with Christ. That is okay. Below are 11 manifestations of intimacy that you will more than likely experience as you do mature and evolve in your walk with Jesus.
- You understand the ways in which God speaks to you:
God created us to relate to Him. No one can have a relationship with anyone, even pets! —Without communication. God certainly speaks to His children, and in various ways. The Lord can speak to you through the Bible, dreams, visions, audibly, through people, pictures, songs, and so forth. As a prophetic intercessor, the primary method God uses to communicate to me is through dreams. This is where He gives warnings, revelations about people, and exposure of the plans of the enemy.
Remember—this is just one of the ways the Lord can speak. The closer you grow to Christ, you will recognize His voice and understand how He communicates with you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me (John 10:27). It is imperative that we do not put God in a box. He can speak however He wants, whenever He wants, through whomever He wants. When a direct message is delivered from another person, the Holy Spirit will bear witness to its truth. Overall, we're able to hear best from the Lord when we are consecrated vessels unto Him. Live pure and holy, and your spiritual senses will be much more open and receptive to what God is saying!
2. Prayer and worship is a lifestyle:
It is important that we hold the correct view of God. He's not some invisible deity just looking down and watching everything from above. No—He's truly your Heavenly Father. A father loves, teaches, chastises, protects, provides, advocates, encourages, comforts, and so on. When you develop intimacy with Jesus, your prayer life will grow stronger and worship will embed in your identity.
You WANT to talk to the Father, and abide in His presence because you see and understand how effective and essential it is to commune with the One who created you. You will reach deeper levels of prayer and travailing the closer you draw to God. It is also key to know that prayer is our weapon against the enemy, and strategy for life challenges that we encounter along the way. Moreover, praying in the spirit (or in tongues—our heavenly language) edifies our spirit man and builds up our faith. But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost (Jude 1:20). If you do not speak in tongues and desire to, ask God for the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Tarry for it if you have to. If you truly desire it, it’ll come. John prophesied in Matthew 3:11, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance; but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.”
3. You receive revelations from God regularly:
God is an omniscient God. That means He's all knowing, and there's nothing He's oblivious to or anything He's ignorant of. The Lord is capable of revealing meaning of scripture, impurities or sin in your heart, secrets, reasons behind an issue, and so forth. One of the greatest things I hate is deception. Because God knows this, I have asked Him to expose anyone attempting to deceive myself or those I'm close to. The Lord has certainly done this, and I'm sure will continue to do so. Revelations also have the power to shatter erroneous held beliefs in our mind. When that happens, don't try to fight the truth. God is truth—and we never want to fight with God.
4. You have an earnest desire to be a disciple of Jesus:
Apostle Dr. Matthew Stevenson contended recently that discipleship is the incomplete part of the Gospel. I'm inclined to agree. Salvation is the beginning of accepting Jesus' finished work on the cross for the propitiation of our sins. But can you honestly say that you've begun walking the path of a disciple? The core basis of discipleship is forsaking your own life for the sake of following Jesus and advancing the kingdom of God.
If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:26).
Because we know God is love, and that He commands us to love, Jesus is not referring to literal hate in this passage. He is teaching that our devotion to Him must outrank that of all others. The loyalty to your family/friends or things should not supersede your loyalty to Jesus. Hence, the only way one can be an authentic follower of Christ is when you are willing to pay the cost of discipleship. Anyone can claim to be a Christian. But the hallmark of a Christian life is a surrendered life to the will of God.
The disciples in the Bible were given the power to cast out demons, heal the sick and raise the dead. Jesus expects us to operate in that same power and accomplish even greater works than He! It starts with denying ourselves, dying daily, and picking up our cross to follow the risen King. That means crucifying the passions and desires of the flesh, and laying down your will in exchange for God's will. Every church should be making a concerted effort to make disciples, not just pew warmers. Those around you in your circle should be contributing to your growth as a disciple as well. Don't be a fan of Jesus, but a true surrendered follower—exercising the incredible demonstrative power of the Holy Spirit.
5. You live for the glory of God:
God wants to be glorified in every facet of your life. Do you desire the same? Just what is glory? In the Old Testament, the word for "glory" is the Hebrew word kabowd, which carries the idea of heaviness and weight. In the New Testament, the Greek word is doxa, which carries the idea of opinion, judgment, estimate, splendor, and brightness. It denotes great honor, praise, value, and wonder. Jesus wants to be glorified on your job, in the classroom, in your relationships, in your exploits, in your decisions and yes in your behavior! He wants the glory out of your life as His ambassador and representative. It starts with humility and obedience.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.
6. You are willing to obey God at all costs:
When the Lord is first in your life, you understand the significance of being an obedient servant. Obedience is so critical to God, that He compares disobedience to that of witchcraft. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou has rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king (1 Samuel 15:23).
It may seem hard to obey God at times, but you must realize that the wisdom of God always knows what is best, what is necessary, what is beneficial and what is right. Therefore, your faith must overpower any doubts or fears that try to deter you from obeying the Lord. He desires your immediate obedience—not delayed or partial obedience. Always remember this nugget of wisdom: Never try to protect yourself from something at the expense of disobeying God. One may say, "How do I know if God is asking this particular thing of me?" You pray and ask the Holy Spirit to give you confirmation or assurance. Move accordingly, and trust God.
7. You live a fasted life:
There's a story in the gospels where Jesus' disciples try to heal an epileptic boy. The disciples were unsuccessful and by curiosity, asked Jesus why they couldn't cast out the demon. He responds by telling them, “Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” (Matthew 17:20-21).
Fasting is indeed efficacious in your walk with Christ, as it places your flesh under subjection to the Holy Spirit to focus completely on God. You can forgo things such as social media/TV on a fast, but modeled Biblical fasting entails forgoing food for a set period of time. When you do so, you position yourself to crucify the flesh and magnify the Spirit. This opens up intimacy with Jesus and places Him at the center of attention. As a result, your faith is fortified and you are spiritually purified and equipped to operate in a stronger capacity under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Always be led by the Spirit when you are prompted to fast. I personally decided to start fasting once a week at the beginning of this year. As best as you can (unless you're married), refrain from telling people when you are on your fast. It's between you and God.
8. Your spirit is sensitive to the things of God:
Being closely connected to Christ allows you to sense, feel, and know what is on the heart and mind of God. You have compassion for the lost, a hatred for evil and sin, and a love for all things righteous and holy. Your spirit is sensitive to prayer and worship, and you are often perceptive and discerning of the spiritual nature of people around you or even at a distance. You're also able at times to feel the burdens of others when you possess a high sensitivity to the Spirit of the Lord. The more you become like Christ, the more you'll share in the things that affect the emotions of the one true living God.
9. You walk by faith and not by sight:
While sharing a parable with His disciples in the 18th chapter of Luke, Jesus asks a vital question. “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” Why faith?? Because without faith it's impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). It takes faith to get saved and it takes faith to trust God no matter what we endure in life. We often hear in regards to romantic relationships, that without trust, there is no relationship. Well, the same holds true in relation to God. If we don't trust Him as our Heavenly Father, how can we relate and connect with Him? It is this trust and faith, which cultivates and fosters a fruitful and prosperous relationship with the Creator. Keep this in mind: The Lord is always faithful. Anything or anyone that is always faithful can always be trusted. God will forever be the most faithful person you know, because He's the only One who can never fail you.
10. The Holy Spirit is operative and visible in your life:
Through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, you have the key for victory on earth and for maximizing your full divine potential. Before His crucifixion, Jesus tells His disciples, "And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you," (John 14:16-18). In John 14:26, Jesus continues, "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you."
When we accept Christ into our hearts, we open the door to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Beyond salvation, the Holy Spirit is purposed to operate consistently and in full capacity throughout your life, as it is impossible to fulfill God's will without it. The ministry of the Holy Spirit functions in multiple ways, as His power is able to convict (not condemn) of sin, guide/direct our steps, give warnings, comfort you, confirm truth, discern spirits, defeat demonic attacks/engage in spiritual warfare, increase our faith, give revelations, and instruct/teach us in all wisdom and truth.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit are powerful weapons capable of destroying any force the devil might use against us. As believers all of us are candidates for these gifts. They include: the word of wisdom, word of knowledge, gift of faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, tongues, and interpretation of tongues (1 Corinthians 12:4-11). Your gifts may differ from another believer, but one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually. As intimacy with Jesus deepens, you'll also be sensitive towards grieving or quenching the Holy Spirit, as well as learn how to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control)
11. You love the Word of God:
The Holy Bible is the infallible, inerrant, inspired Word of God. It is the bridge between us and the Creator of Heaven and earth. That bridge runs through Jesus—as we are only reconciled to God through Him. 1 John tells us In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth.
As our love for Christ grows, so does the love for the word of God. It’s the constitution of God’s government and our manual for righteous and holy living. You are empowered to speak and declare the word over your life and in the midst of trials & tribulations, counterattacking the enemy’s plans to discourage you and weaken your faith. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). A strong relationship with the Lord emboldens you to speak the word with authority and confidence in the name of Jesus. You also have the faith that the word will perform in your life and not return unto Him void. As we strive to live pleasing before the Lord, it cannot be accomplished without the influence or inspiration of the Bible. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee (Psalm 119:11). The scriptures are not only facts and knowledge—but strength, power, and nourishment for the soul.
I pray you are inspired to reach higher levels of intimacy with the Lord. God longs for fellowship and relationship with His creation! As I’m growing in my relationship with Christ, it has truly become a partnership. In a partnership, you work in unity with the Lord to achieve goals for the purposes of advancing the kingdom of God. Speaking of unity, I’d be remiss to not mention in this blog—unforgiveness. Unforgiveness cripples intimacy with Christ.
You can seemingly be doing all the right things—serving, bible reading, praying, giving, and so forth. But if you are harboring any unforgiveness or bitterness in your heart, you are not in right standing with God. Jesus explicitly tells us that if we do not forgive, God will not forgive us (Matthew 6:14-15). Let’s always be mindful to examine our hearts, and to ask God to expose anything in us that needs to be set free. May you forever abide in the precious love of Christ, being eternally grateful for the redemptive work of the Cross and inheriting the glorious riches of salvation!
If interested in learning more about fasting, I encourage you to read this blog post entitled Living a Fasted Life by Ugo Ezeji. It goes into further detail on the subject and serves as a great reference for broader understanding of this spiritual exercise.
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