I have been reading “Shadow of the Almighty” about Jim Elliot and I have had to consider my relationship with God and figure out whether or not I am in an intimate relationship with God (at the same time seriously trying not to compare my “spirituality” with what his journal entries and letters depict as his spirituality). In the attempt to do this I came up with several questions.
1. Do I truly desire intimacy with God or have I become content with all the trappings of my “cottage below”? – Is it enough to have a sufficient income, family, ministry and nice things?
2. Do I have beliefs or systems of knowledge (theology, interpretations, culture etc.) that prevent me from knowing God intimately? — Heb. 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. [NASB] – While the 2 elements that we must believe are simple (believing God’s existence and that any search for Him will be rewarded) many of us stop searching for God because we passed our academic tests and our ordination councils. We have The Infinite God figured out and defined. This error will not only prevent intimacy with God, but it will reduce our ability to meet individual needs by applying simplistic and overly general sin/proof text cures.
3. Do I need to separate from all my “book learning” for a time in order to draw near to God? — Matt.14:23 After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. Luke 5:16 But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray. [NASB] — This is the ideal that we all should strive for. Christ got away from the distracting elements (crowds, disciples, healing and discipling ministries etc.) in order to have intimacy with the Father. If the distracting elements are physical, like Christ’s were, then get away somewhere desolate and solitary. If the distractions are mental, then the same principle should apply. Communion with the Father can and must re-align all of our human training and education.
4. Personal devotional time
- Does my routine draw me to see God’s face or simply to a sense of spiritual accomplishment?
- How do I know the difference between my own imagination and the Holy Spirit? – (most take a trial and error method to know the difference – This should not be the case. – 2 Cor. 2:10-13)
- Is my daily conversation intermingled with the results of nearly constant meditation/conversation with God?
5. Am I praying much? – This is probably the question that everything hinges upon. The life of faith is inseparably connected with prayer. “A little faith will bring a soul to heaven; Much faith will bring heaven to the soul” – Spurgeon. 1 Thess. 5:17 should not be explained away, it should be normal for all Christians. 1 Tim. 2:8 says men should “Pray every where”. (There! – that will be my exegetical fudging for this blog.)
6. Do I desire great and grand ministry, (my own kingdom), or the Great God and our Saviour? — Ps. 84:10 implies that God’s service is greater than anything the world can offer, but if we are already “serving the Lord” we must take heed to the often asked question of the disciples: “which of us is greatest.” Matt. 23:11 and John 13:1-20 teach principles that must rule whatever goals we have in ministry.
1 John 3:1-3 states that we are incredibly blessed to be called “sons of God.” We could accomplish no greater work or act of ministry than to know our Father intimately. May God grant us grace to desire nothing else but Him.