How to Grow in Intimacy with God
by Fia Curley
In life, the people closest to us are the ones who tend to know us the best. Our flaws, talents, idiosyncrasies, the way we roll our eyes, or move our hands—those are the things our loved ones have studied and can mimic with precision. We’ve spent so much time around each other that we naturally pick up each other’s mannerisms. They can even correctly interpret our nonverbal body language.
We know these people and these people know us.
But for some reason, when it comes to God, we believe the lie that we can’t really know Him, His ways, or His thoughts, because of His greatness and magnitude. As logical as that thought may seem, it’s completely untrue and disproven by Scripture. Yes, God is so great and vast that there will always be something we’re discovering about Him in this lifetime. We may not be able to know everything about Him now, but that does not mean we can’t know Him better.
Throughout the Bible, we have numerous examples of the Lord making Himself known to His creation.
And the Word became 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. (John 1:14)
Our God communicates with His creation. We see this throughout the Word as the Lord directs His children and communicates with them, displaying His nature as an involved Father who loves, leads, and guides. The way He initiated interaction with His children in the past is how He works with us now. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The Bible is clear that “God is no respecter of persons;” therefore we can expect our Heavenly Father to grow us in every way, and this includes our level of intimacy with Him.
We see growth in intimacy in the lives of believers throughout Scripture.
Moses and Joshua led God’s people from Egypt and into the promised land of Canaan. Through almost a century of following the Lord, they learned His views and His way of thinking. He talked to them about what was most important to Him and how they were to respond to the various challenges around them. Not only was He continuously watchful and present, but God showed Himself as an engaged Father who desired for His children to not just follow Him, but to know Him intimately.
Jonah was a reluctant messenger who knew God’s merciful nature. As he attempted to rebel against the Lord’s clear direction, Jonah learned about the discipline of his Heavenly Father and the thorough forgiveness that is offered to even the vilest offender. Through the ups and downs of following the Lord, Jonah gains greater intimacy with God.
Abraham was in the midst of living his life, when the Lord spoke to Him and began to lead him into His divine plan to make him into a great nation. The Lord took a man who was idolatrous and willingly made Himself known to him, becoming his God and establishing a covenant with him, making promises that He would obligate Himself to fulfill, not just in Abraham’s lifetime, but for all time. Although Abraham wasn’t looking for God, he was drawn into a relationship in which Yahweh taught him about Himself, drawing near to man.
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son. (Hebrews 1:1–2)
The Lord is excellent at pursuing and winning those He has made. And fortunately He doesn’t just desire relationship with Jewish leaders, but all of His children.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29)
This is why He’s given us access to Himself through Jesus. Salvation is our open door for encountering God. It’s through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross that we’ve been given free access to get to know Him more.
The truth we need to remember is that Almighty God, who made Heaven and Earth, wants to be in relationship with us and wants us to know Him the way He knows us. He sees every effort we make to grow in intimacy with Him. And we can trust that when we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us.
Practical Steps toward Intimacy
And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35)
God gave us a clear picture of what He’s like, and He put it all down in a book that we can use to learn and remind ourselves of His nature. In the Bible we see how God interacts with man, how He communicates, and the topics He sees as priorities.
“If we want to know God in a deeper way, if we want to draw closer to his heart then we need to be spending time in His word consistently—daily,” says Jon Thurlow, singer, songwriter, and IHOPKC worship leader. “If we don’t feed ourselves with the Word of God on the inside, we dry up.”
One way Jesus refers to Himself is as the living water and as the Word. As we read Scripture about Him, we learn what He is like and how He thinks. We actually come to a greater understanding of His character. At the same time we are renewed, refreshed, and washed with the water of the Word. We begin to think the way He thinks.
God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:24)
In times of worship, we declare the truth of who Lord is. Through worship we align our will to God’s desire and are able to reset our focus on the One who is our Maker, Creator, and Lord. As we worship, we see Him as He is—the One with all power, all authority, who is compassionate and sovereign over every part of our lives and this world. We gain a greater understanding of God and who He is. When that occurs, our perspective is corrected so we are able to see ourselves, others, and our circumstances from the correct vantage point.
More than a song, worship is the way we respond to the God who loves us and has given His life for us so that we could be completely free and clean in this life and live with Him forever in the next.
The Lord gave us prayer as a means of communicating with Him, a way of growing closer to Him. Unlike a dated, stagnant ritual of speaking words to the air, prayer is a conversation in which we speak to God and He responds. This conversation strengthens us, helps focus us, and brings us into a greater fellowship with our Maker.
Just as it is with our closest friends and family members, the more we speak to God the more we come to know His character. Prayer is a key factor in our relationship with God. Our God is living and active in the lives of His creation every day. He desires that we be children who not only know our Father, but partner with Him in the work of the Kingdom to bring His good plans about in our lives and the lives of those around us.
Many times in the Bible, the Lord’s followers memorialized physical locations to remind themselves, and others, of the great things God had done in their lives. Although we may not put up national monuments every day to express the Lord’s faithful work in our lives, it is important to take time and reflect on the Lord’s faithfulness. Times of reflection help produce gratitude in our hearts in the moment and can strengthen us in more difficult times of trials and tribulation.
When we make a record of how the Lord has prevailed in our times of sickness, need, or fear, we are cataloging His work and the testimony of His prevailing power in our lives. We truly become living epistles that not only know the history of God’s display of strength and compassion in everyday situations, but retaining those memories of what our Father has done enables us to encourage others to overcome in their time of trial as well (Revelation 21:7). We are able to point to the One who is Faithful and True and help them draw closer to God on their own path toward greater intimacy.
For a quick teaching on growing in intimacy with our Heavenly Father, watch this video from Mike Bickle.
Come learn more about growing in intimacy with Jesus with sound biblical teaching at this year’s Onething in Kansas City. Engage in powerful times of corporate worship led by IHOPKC worship leaders and personal times of ministry from Dec. 28–31. Learn more »
Fia Curley served on the NightWatch at IHOPKC for many years, participating in prayer, worship, and intercession from midnight to 6am. Currently attending college in New York, she enjoys blending her passion for prayer, worship, and journalism as she labors with the Lord to see His goodness revealed to families, government leaders, and immigrants from non-Christian nations.