As believers, it is imperative that we have an intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father.  Our level of intimacy with God will determine how much victory and success we experience in our lives.  You do not have an intimate relationship by default just because you are born-again.  An intimate relationship with God is available to every believer, but it must be cultivated, nurtured, and developed like any other relationship.  If we are not careful we can get so caught up in the “doings” of Christianity that we neglect the foundation principle of Christianity and that is our relationship with God.  God wants to be involved in every area of your life.  He wants to communicate with you on a daily basis.  Therefore, it is imperative that we do everything necessary to cultivate our relationship with God and deepen our levels of intimacy with Him.

Let’s begin by looking at Philippians 3:10 (The Amplified Bible). The Apostle Paul writes,“For my determined purpose is that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly].  This verse makes it clear that Paul is highly interested in developing an intimate relationship with God.  The word know in that verse means to have intimate fellowship with or to know intimately. The Apostle Paul is placing the utmost priority on having an imitate relationship with the Father.  He said, “It is my determined purpose to have an intimate relationship with my Heavenly Father and for that relationship to grow, develop, and to progressively become more intimate everyday of my life (paraphrase).” We need to determine and purpose in our hearts to have an intimate relationship with God like the Apostle Paul did. It should be our determined purpose to know God and to be in intimate fellowship with Him all of the time.

As believers, we have to be on guard where our relationship with God is concerned. As we grow in our understanding of God’s Word and learn more about the principles of His Kingdom, we have to make sure that we don’t get so busy endeavoring to walk in all of the principles that we forget about our relationship with God. You can get focused on developing in the principles that you lose sight of “The Person” from whom those principles originated.  You can bury yourself in the principles of God’s Word and all the while not be cultivating your relationship with Him.  We need to remember that at the beginning of every principle in the Word of God there is a Person with whom we are supposed to have a relationship. The principles of God’s Word without a relationship with God are just dry, dead religion.  Without a relationship with God there will be no life in the principles you apply.  God is life and without a relationship with Him there will be no life in the principles.  You can get into a place where you have no relationship with God and all that’s left is just you and the principle.  That’s why some of the principles have become so dry in peoples’ lives.  Let’s be clear about what we are saying.  The principles of the Word of God are vital to the believer.  If the principles of The Kingdom are not applied, the blessings of The Kingdom will not be experienced.  However, outside of a relationship with God, those same principles will become burdensome, lifeless and void of power. Where every principle is concerned we have to ask ourselves, “How does that principle work inside my relationship with God?”  Every principle, to function with power, must be applied inside that relationship.  Take tithing for an example.  You can engage the principle of tithing and drop ten percent in the offering plate, but not do it inside of a relationship.  The person who does that isn’t tithing to a person, they are dropping it into a bucket.  In fact, it’s no different than the phone bill they pay.  They have no relationship with the person who owns the phone company they just drop the money into the mailbox and that’s the end of it.  Many people are tithing in the same manner.  On the other hand, when you take the time to bring your tithe to God and tithe to Him with words of love and faith (long before you ever get to church) that is the principle of tithing inside of a relationship with God and it will be effective in your life.  The principles of God outside of a relationship with God will never yield the power you need to produce the result you desire. You can get so consumed withwhat you are doing that you forget that the foundation of everything you do should be your relationship with God. You can get so busy trying to do the “what” that you forget about the most precious thing in life, which is a relationship with the “Who.” When we make it our determined purpose to know God, the principles and the relationship (the “what” and the “who”) fuse together and that is when the full potential of the believer will be reached.

God desires to have an intimate relationship with you and fellowship with you on a daily basis.  In Revelation 3:20 Jesus says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.  The word sup in that verse carries the idea of fellowship.  Jesus is saying that He wants to fellowship with you.  2 Corinthians 13:14 says, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all.”  Thewordcommunion in that verse means fellowship or intimacy.  According to the Word of God it is the will of God that we have fellowship and intimacy with the Spirit of God.  In Psalm 27:8 the psalmist writes, “When you said, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto you, Yourface, LORD, will I seek.  The word face in that verse means presence or person. God is telling us to seek His presence, to seek His “person” not just His principles.  The Psalmist responded the right way.  He said, “Lord, you told me to seek your face so that’s exactly what I’m going to do (paraphrase).”  God is inviting you to fellowship with Him.  God is interested in fellowshipping with you, talking with you and being involved in every part of your life.  The failure of many believers is that they embark on so many activities alone and never take God along with them.  No matter what activity you are engaging in always make God a part of it.  Practice His presence in everything that you do. Stay in constant communication with God. 1 Chronicles 16:11 says, “Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his facecontinually.” We should be talking to God and fellowshipping with Him continually, all the time and in everything that we do.  Psalm 16:11 says, “In your presence is fullness of joy.”  When you are in constant fellowship with God you will find that His very presence will bring joy to your every endeavor.  The unfortunate thing for many believers is that they are engaging spiritual activities, but in a sense they are engaging those activities without God.  They are so consumed with prayer, speaking the Word, studying the Word, reading the Word that they forget to involve God in those things.  We need to fellowship with God as we read, study, and pray.  When God is involved He will take your reading, studying, and praying to a greater place than you could have ever imagined.  It is the desire of your Heavenly Father to be heavily involved in your every activity.  When God gets involved in your activities, He will inject them with heavenly joy and delight.  That’s what being saved is all about; having a personal relationship with your Heavenly Father and His son Jesus.  In John 17:3 Jesus said, “And this is life eternal, that they might know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” Jesus said eternal life is to intimately know the Father and His son Jesus Christ. When you get born again THE GREATEST asset gained is the new found ability to fellowship with the Father and His son Jesus.  That is eternal life.  It is access back into the Father’s presence to fellowship with Him.

One of the greatest benefits you will gain from an intimate relationship with God is the ability to trust Him more easily.  The more intimately you know someone (their character and their nature) the easier it is to trustthem.  In 2 Timothy 1:12 the Apostle Paul said, “For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”  The Apostle Paul intimately knew the God in whom he believed.  It is extremely difficult to trust somebody who you do not know. While on the other hand, the better you know someone the easier it is for you to trustthem. For example, if you had to leave your child with a stranger on the street versus your best friend it would be much easier for you to trust your best friend simply because you know them better.  Now, that stranger could be a person of higher character and integrity than your best friend.  In fact, your child could even be in better hands with that stranger than with your best friend, but because you don’t know them, your ability to trust them is thwarted.  When your RELATIONSHIP with God is no longer being developed then your faith in God cannot grow.  Trust is hard where an intimate relationship is not present. Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” Many have taken that verse and made it all principle and no relationship.  Like a spiritual robot they spend much time in the Word only to never have their faith develop to the place they know it should be.  The development of your faith is not only about “spending time in the Word,” it is about spending time with God and getting to know Him more intimately and you do that by spending time in His Word.  It is true that the Word of God contains the faith of God.  As you spend time in the Word of God, your faith in God will get stronger.  However, if you spend time in the Word of God robotically or religiously, not being conscious of your relationship with God, your faith will never reach the heights that it ultimately should reach.  Faith does come by hearing the Word, but it also comes as your relationship with God deepens.  As you spend time in the Word of God, the faith contained in that Word will most certainly begin to fill your heart.  The other piece to growing your faith is that as you spend time in the Word of God you are spending time with God and getting to know Him better.  The better you know Him the easier it is for you to trust Him.

Your faith, on its foundation level, is faith IN GOD, who is a person.  I think sometimes we can get so caught up in having faith in God’s word, that we forget about whose words those are. You can’t have faith in words, without knowing and having faith in the person who spoke those words.  If you want to develop your faith then you not only need to know on what was said, you need to know intimately The One who said it.  When we get so focused on what was said and pay no attention to who said it, believing what was said is very hard.  However, when you know The One who said it and you know He is a God who keeps His word, it makes believing what was said very easy. Faith in God shouldn’t be something that you have to work up, but rather it should be the natural outflow of an intimate relationship with Him.  If I told you that I was going to pay all your bills next month and you said to me, “Well my faith in you for that is weak so I’m going to spend some time with those words you promised me to develop my faith in you.”  First of all, that would be insulting to me that you won’t take me at my word.  Let’s say then you went home and just spent time alone with those words everyday, speaking them and meditating on them, do you know your faith would not grow?  Your problem is not with those words, but rather your problem is that you do not know me well enough to trust me.  You need to spend more time with me, getting to know me and faith in me would flow out of an intimate relationship with me.  Faith in God will flow out of an intimate relationship with God.  The better you get to know Him the easier it is to trust Him.  That’s not to say that we do not spend time in God’s Word.  Spending time in the Word of God is how you grow your faith and develop a relationship with God.  The point is that as you spend time with WHAT was said, always be conscious of WHO said it.  You won’t be able to develop your faith by taking what was said, separating it from the “who” that said it, and then just hearing it over and over again.  To develop your faith you have to keepwhat was said connected to the “who” that said it and then meditate on both.  When you do that, your faith in God will develop because of the Word of God in your heart and the intimate relationship you have with Him.

Make your relationship with God the #1 priority in your life.  Get back to spending time with Him, practicing His presence, and involving Him in everything you do.  Living your life in this manner is what will make your life sweet!