We have made intimacy with God about anything and everything but it’s true purpose—relationship. We seek intimacy with God for greater effectiveness, for greater impact, for increased favor, for revelation, but seldom do we seek it simply for relationship. I believe God is raising up a generation that will seek intimacy with Him simply for the sake of intimacy.
Greater impact, effectiveness, revelation and favor are side effects of intimacy with God… they are not the goal in intimacy with God. I’ve have referenced this verse many times in the past, but Daniel 11:32 says, “The people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.” 1 John 4:8 says, “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” Knowing God is the purpose of intimacy and everything else comes out of that place as a natural outflow.
In my opinion, I think all of our exhorting people to do things for God would be better served in exhorting people to know God, because once they know Him, big things inevitably follow. I believe that God is more interested in getting us to be something than getting us to do something. When you are something, you act according to the nature of who you are. It’s not compulsory, it’s natural. It’s not what we do that determines who we are, but rather it is who we are that determines what we do. Greatness is the effect of a relationship.
I was so moved recently when I stumbled upon a biography about Jonathan Edwards. When he was young, most likely around my age, Jonathan Edwards would take long walks in the woods or up into the mountains, abiding in the Presence of God. He would spend much of his time meditating on the Song of Solomon and he would contemplate the deep, sweet affection of God.
It was from this place of falling in love with God and experiencing His love in His Presence that Jonathan Edwards was compelled and empowered to shake the world. Out of this affection grew a deep passion for holiness and power.
Jonathan Edwards said this:
“God is the highest good of the reasonable creature. The enjoyment of him is our proper; and is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Better than fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of any, or all earthly friends. These are but shadows; but the enjoyment of God is the substance. These are but scattered beams; but God is the sun. These are but streams; but God is the fountain. These are but drops, but God is the ocean.”
In the words of Mike Bickle, “We will never be more passionate for Jesus than our realization of His passion for us.” We love Him because He first loved us. It is from experiencing Christ’s love for us that we are compelled to love Him back and to share His love with others.
We must make knowing God the point. Falling more in love with Jesus should be our goal in intimacy, not more doing. Effective doing always follows knowing. If we seek intimacy with God simply for the sake of knowing Him more, I believe we will be shocked by how much more we accomplish.