“Come close to God and God will come close to you.” James 4:8
Last Wednesday Night at the Bridge Worship and Prayer service, I took the night off from standing behind the guitar and stepped behind the lectern to talk about something very close to my heart: worship. But it’s really all the same, whether it’s a guitar or a lectern. You see, my job is to help people connect to the Father and then step out of the way, giving them an opportunity for intimacy.
So, why is intimacy with God so important?
A couple weeks ago, one of my mentors, speaker and author LaMar Boschman sent me an email to address this very topic. He wrote, “Intimacy with God determines the health of your spiritual life, which translates into the health of all the other areas of your life, and the health of the relationships around you. God wants you to feel loved, affirmed, accepted, valued, comforted, healed, forgiven and so much more, through intimacy with Him.”
Then LaMar continued, “The question that follows is how can we be intimate with God whom we cannot see, hear, or touch? The answer is we must connect with Him on a spiritual level. There is no simple formula or code to be intimate with our Heavenly Father but there are principles clearly laid out in God’s word that point to where and how you can find closeness with Him.”
There are four scriptural principles:
1. Desire to Get Close
2. Take The First Step
3. Speak His Love Language
4. Sing The Songs He Likes The Best (This is a great principle, but you might be surprised at what songs God likes best. Keep reading. It gets really good.)
Desire to Get Close. “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13). We often seek Him out of desperation. And we do come to Him, we often have petitions, like a to do list of things we would like Him to act on. LaMar wrote, “However it is sweeter to seek Him out of discipline and better yet out of desire.”
Don’t misunderstand, the Bible does tell us, “…but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” There is a difference between wanting to be with your spouse watching the sunset instead of asking for something to be done.
Take the First Step. We must approach Him. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…” (James 4:8) We must take the time to approach Him by quieting ourselves, reaching out to Him with our spirit, and talking to Him. The best way to find Him is to enter His gates with prayers and songs of thanksgiving and then enter his courts with prayers and songs of affirmation, exaltation, and praise (Ps 100:4).
Speak His Love Language. If you’ve ever read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, then you know that speaking someone’s love language establishes a more intimate connection. It’s the same with God. It establishes intimacy. LaMar wrote, “Actions and words that He desires connects us with God on a deeper level. It is laying down our desires and pleasing Him.” He continues:
God’s love language is faith and repentant heart. “Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6) Paul said. David understood: “You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God” (Psalm 51:16–17). God draws near to the broken hearted.
Sing the Songs He Likes the Best. This is my favorite part, because yes, God likes to hear you sing. He said He would come close when we sing His favorite songs. “ …Thou art holy, thou that dwellest amid the praises of Israel.” Ps 22:3 (Darby). The word praises here is “tehillah.” It is the word for praise in Ps 40:3, “He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise (tehillah) to our God.”
So what is his favorite song? It’s your song He wants to hear, your personal song, a new song.
“Oh, but I’m not a composer,” you might say. “I don’t write songs.”
But there is a song in your heart. Perhaps your song comes when the words you read on the screen last weekend at church resonate deep within you. Or perhaps it’s a song you heard long ago and suddenly the words have a new meaning and you cannot shake the tune or lyrics all day. Or perhaps there are words that simply well up inside you that express exactly what you are feeling at that moment, at church, at work, in the car, at home, when see the sunset, when you look at your kids playing, or when you stop for a moment and simply breath. “Those are God’s favorite songs. When we sing them He comes close,” LaMar wrote.
So today, take that first step of faith to spend time with God. Worship Him, draw near to Him, speak His love language, and sing your song. He will meet you and draw ever closer to you.