MEDITATIONS ON SPIRITUAL ADOPTION #7
January 13, 2010
Reading: Galatians 4:1-7
"And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, 'Abba, Father!'" Galatians 4:6
What is spiritual intimacy with our heavenly Father? Just about every author has a different opinion but it all boils down to one thing-knowing God. This is true but there are different degrees of knowing God. The argument can be made that every person who is born again knows God-a relationship has been established-He is our Father and we are His children, but how deep is our knowledge and understanding of who He is? How free are we when we approach Him? What is our attitude? In order to enjoy an intimate relationship with God we need to grasp hold of this Father/son concept. If we approach Him every time as our King and ourselves as citizens of His kingdom we will probably never enjoy this intimacy.
Apart from the Father/son understanding the other relationship that speaks to me of intimacy is that of the Shepherd/sheep. To be sought by the Shepherd and to be laid across His shoulders and hear Him rejoicing induces a certain quality of intimacy yet, even that does not compare to the relationship I have with God as my Father.
To know God does not in itself establish intimacy. Untold numbers of children have strained relationships with their earthly father-they know them yet do have an intimate relationship with them. They may know them too well and that is the reason for their poor relationship.
In his wonderful book "Knowing God" J.I. Packer writes, "The conviction behind this book is that ignorance of God-ignorance both of His ways and of the practice of communion with Him-lies at the root of much of the church's weakness today. Two unhappy trends seem to have produced this state of affairs.
Trend one is that Christian minds have been conformed to the modern spirit: the spirit, that is, that spawns great thoughts of man and leaves room for only small thoughts of God. Trend two is that Christian minds have been confused by the modern skepticism."
Ignorance of God is, I believe, the primary reason why so many
Christians lack an intimate relationship with their heavenly Father. How can
Christians learn to know Him better when the only time they pick up their bible
is to take it to church on Sunday mornings? Sadly, a practice that is becoming
more and more popular, is the scripture reading is
projected on to a large screen at the front of the church. I remember during my
last visit to the
"Oh, the fullness, pleasure, and sheer excitement of knowing God on earth" Jim Elliot.
We learn to know God in two primary ways-reading His Word every day and praying every day. In both scenarios the Holy Spirit will reveal God to our hearts. Without practicing these two functions of the Christian life a believer will remain young in the faith and ignorant of who God is.
Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippian believers, "That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection" Phil , and to the Ephesians:
"For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height -- to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God" Eph 3:14-19.
This is the definition of an intimate relationship with God. This should be the desire of every believer's heart, that for which he or she should crave and earnestly strive, counting all things as loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord (Phil 3:8.). Nothing else matters but that I gain a closer understanding of who my heavenly Father is. Knowledge is not understanding. I have read books filled with biblical knowledge that left me dry because it was obvious the author knew about God (doctrine) yet did not understand Him. My spiritual life was almost destroyed because I plunged myself into doctrine and neglected my spiritual growth. If I had spent half the time in prayer and devotions as I did in doctrinal study things would have been different. Christians require a balance between these two areas-nothing but doctrine with smother that abundant life Christ promised His followers, yet ignore doctrine altogether and you will never grow in Christ.
Mephibosheth was invited by King David to become a member of his royal household because he was the son of his good friend Jonathan. At their first meeting Mephibosheth "fell on his face and prostrated himself." But David took him and sat him at the royal table and said, "As for Mephibosheth … he shall eat at my table like one of the king's sons." 2 Sam 9:11. Read the entire account in 2 Samuel 9 and apply it to the relationship to which God, our King, has brought us. Mephibosheth was "lame on both his feet" yet, when he sat at the king's table, his legs were covered by the table cloth. So it is with us, our lameness is covered by the table cloth of God's grace and Christ's righteousness.
Intimacy with the Almighty God is the high privilege of every child of God and is one of the blessings made available because we are "in Him" and accepted with Jesus as His sons and daughters.
"Our prayers and God's mercy are like two
buckets in a well. One ascends and one descends. Our prayers ascend to God in
Heaven, and His mercies and blessings descend upon us" (Ezekiel
"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing"