We are the only creatures created with the capacity to know God intimately and to build relationship from the heart. The Scriptures below indicate that we may know God and His Son, Jesus Christ. The capacity to know and to be known by experience surely flows out of the intimacy that exists in the Godhead and is one aspect of the image of God that all mankind possesses. One of man’s greatest needs is for intimacy.
Jerry R. White, Jr. in his compilation of excerpts from the writings of men and women of faith throughout the centuries entitled A Disciple’s Notebook, commented on an illustration about the transformation of black, cold, hard iron when put in a fire.
The enemy, the devil, wants desperately to distract you from close, regular fellowship and intimacy with the Lord Jesus because he knows that without it your heart (soul) will become cold, hard, and black like the iron removed from the fire. Certain disciplines are necessary if you will retain the glow of His presence. How very important it is for you to keep the iron of your soul in the fire of His presence. It is His pleasure and glory in your life that are at stake.
Jerry describes the importance of heart connection with God through Jesus Christ. Connecting with others at the heart level is also important. For either to occur, we must be intentional about connecting with God and others at more than a surface level. We can easily be consumed with the jobs we have to do each day, but that is not why we have been given health and life. We are still breathing because “we have a God to know,” wrote Edward Miller in Letters to the Thirsty. I would like to suggest an exercise you can do with members of your family for devotion time that illustrate the importance of knowing God, knowing others, and connecting with them at the heart level. This same exercise can impact your relationship and fellowship with God.
This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
. . . That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.”
The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
You may think this exercise that I am suggesting seems a little weird, mystical, or awkward because connecting with people at a heart level is so foreign to us. Rarely do we slow ourselves down, quiet our souls, and seek to “listen” to or “see” another person without distractions. One of the reasons many have no fellowship with God is that they see, but don’t see, and they hear, but don’t understand (Luke 8:10) because they are not determined to see and understand. The occupied listener (seed among the thorns) goes his own way and is so occupied with his own pursuits that he doesn’t really see or listen.
We can be the same way with those in our own homes as we are with the Lord, occupied with so much that we don’t really see and hear them. This exercise is meant to teach you something about connecting with others by giving undivided attention to them for a brief time. This might help you more in understanding how you need to be connected with God in a similar manner.
First, I suggest you place yourself in the presence of God and meditate on His peace, His love, and His joy. Consider how He loves you. Then, with your mind set on Him, ask Him (privately) to communicate His presence and love through you to your wife or child. Next, seek to communicate your love and acceptance for them and the peace in your heart through your countenance.
While sitting there with your wife or child, tell them that you value them, want to express your love to them, and connect with them in a unique way. If you have rarely slowed down to connect with them this deeply you might express your regret for not communicating with them how much you value them and care for them. Look into their eyes, which is the window to their souls, the lamp of the body. If it seems awkward to them and they glance away, simply invite them to restore eye contact and ask them to resist glancing away.
You might find that they struggle with keeping eye contact. Could there be something in your relationship that hinders such intimacy? Men who have done this have discovered many different things through this exercise. One man’s wife expressed she didn’t feel worthy of his love. Another thought he discerned hurt from previous wounds in the other person and when he inquired, it was confirmed. Fear and insecurity in the relationship were discovered that had gone unnoticed.
One of the points of this exercise is that you are expressing love and care and are doing something unselfish with the other person. You are showing how much you value the other person by giving them undivided attention and communicating in a non-verbal way, which can be very powerful and insightful.
In such an exercise as this, a minute can seem like an hour, so aim at only doing this for a brief time. As you connect deeply, look past the surface of the person, and seek to know them more deeply and fully. You may be surprised at what happens and what you learn about yourself, the other person, and the relationship.
You can also do this as a family exercise by pairing up, explain that the purpose of the exercise is to set aside personal distractions, and intentionally seek to connect with their brothers or sisters. Encourage them to take note of what they observe, hear, or discover. Then discuss what each experienced. What did you think and feel during this time? What did they think and feel?
For some, this experience may be deeply touching and enlightening. Others may experience awkwardness, fear, or difficulty connecting at this level. With the busyness of life, few people realize that they are passing by people without ever really connecting or knowing them. The reason we don’t really know people is because we seldom block out all other distractions and pursuits in order to connect with someone at the heart level. Additionally, we tend to shy away from anything that feels awkward or out of our control. During this exercise, you may be surprised at what you discover. The point of this exercise is that you intentionally quiet yourself and ask God to allow you to see, discover, and know the other person at a deeper level.
The purpose of this exercise is to give you an experience with another person so you can see that the same thing can happen in your relationship with God. Many who attend churches, know their Bibles, and are quite familiar with important theological doctrines don’t know God by experience. They have no deep connection to Him as a person because they are never quiet long enough to allow God to look into their souls and touch them deeply, much less do they intend to look into His eyes and know His heart. However, with God, it is possible.
To know God, one must want to know Him and intend to connect with Him. To do so requires making Him the center focus of one’s heart. Distractions and self-desires must be eliminated or silenced. It is in looking at the things which are not seen that faith is born and exercised which results in spiritual life and growth. This exercise can teach your children about the purpose for which they were created, namely, intimacy with God, and encourage them to go into His presence and “drink” from Jesus by looking into His eyes.
I wrote this song many years ago, but it expresses the many experiences I have had with my Lord by quieting my soul and drawing near to know Him. I hope you and your family will have many similar experiences in getting to know God through Jesus Christ.
I quiet my soul and draw near. Grace beckons me come without fear.
His righteousness covers me. My sinfulness humbles me.
Your love, Lord Jesus, is all I need.
I quiet my soul and draw near. Grace beckons me come, and I hear.
He’s loved me forever. No sin can sever.
Your love, Lord Jesus, is all I need.
Father, open my eyes to see, Jesus living His life in me.
Spirit set me apart to be–a vessel of His grace and glory.
I quiet my soul and draw near. Grace beckons me come, I am here.
I worship You, Father, You’re worthy, Lord Jesus. Holy Spirit of God I yield to You.
There are times when you will have someone come to you with a troubled soul. You can tell they are agitated, worried, or perhaps overwhelmed. The greatest need they have is to know the Father and the Son in those moments, to connect with Him and receive His grace in the storm. You may be enabled to bring the presence of Christ into that moment through your intercession. An intercessor goes to God on another’s behalf and also brings God’s presence and grace to the person. You can do this by entering into God’s presence in prayer as illustrated in the exercise above. Set your mind on Him. Seek His heart for the soul of the person. Invite them to quiet their souls and look to Christ for comfort and peace.
You can also create special times by simply communicating your love, acceptance, and pleasure to another person through quiet, sustained, eye contact. How are you connecting with your spouse and children? How well do you know them? Have you let them know you? Do you know their fears, hurts, delights, and pleasures? Do you know what delights and pleases God? You can know Him more intimately as you seek to connect with God by quieting your soul and seeking His face.