God Wants Fellowship With Us
I believe that one of the biggest lies the enemy uses to keep us from really pressing in to know God in a more intimate way is to try and convince us that God doesn’t really want to be bothered all the time with us. After all, He sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins, and now we will be in heaven with Him for all of eternity, isn’t that enough for now?
The Bible tells us in James 4:8 to draw near to God, and He will draw near to us. We desperately need today to get past this belief that God is content with a mediocre, lukewarm relationship with us, and to gain a better understanding of all that He wants to do in and through us, just because we are His children! Let’s go ahead and take a deeper look at some of the scriptures that talk about this, and see what the Lord might be trying to show us.
In the beginning God said in Genesis 1:26, “Let us make man in our image.” The Bible also tells us that God would come and walk with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day. Can you imagine that? Every evening having God Himself come and walk with you just to discuss the things that had happened that day, and even the things He had planned for you. What an incredible joy and privilege! I believe that the indication here in the scriptures is that these visits were in large part of a social nature. Just Adam, Eve, and God enjoying one another’s company and discussing whatever subjects might come up; from Eve’s cooking to which animals were doing what in the garden.
Unfortunately, Adam and Eve did not realize the depth of the privilege they were enjoying. One day when they were wandering in the garden, and had probably fallen into the trap of beginning to take their relationship with God for granted, like we all can do sometimes, along comes the serpent. You know the story. The serpent twisted things around, and Adam and Eve listened to him and lost everything they had. (Don’t be too harsh on them. How many times have we listened to someone else and missed out on God’s best for us as a result?) Adam and Eve lost the privilege of living in the garden, and life suddenly became the difficult, uphill, challenge-filled existence that we still live today. But I believe that what was far more devastating to them was the fact that they lost the freedom to enjoy those close, intimate times with their Heavenly Father. They were suddenly filled with fear, insecurity, and shame, and all they wanted to do when God showed up was to hide from Him (Genesis 3:8).
I believe that there are strong indicators in scripture that this did not alter God’s desire to have fellowship with people. Let’s look at a few examples.
First, Let’s look at the life of Enoch. We actually know very little about him, but Genesis 5:24 tells us that “Enoch walked with God; then he was no more because God took him away.” What an amazing statement! First, we are told that he “walked with God.” Earlier we were told that God walked with Adam and Eve in the garden in the cool of the day. Now we find that Enoch walked with Him. Do you kind of get the idea that God likes to go for walks? Have you ever just gone for a walk with your Heavenly Father, just for the sake of being together? I encourage you to try it. You just might be surprised at how He will show up and join you! Hint: Be sure to let Him do some of the talking. You know how annoying it can be to spend time around someone who never lets you get a word in edgewise!
What does it really mean when it tells us that Enoch walked with God? We use terms pretty regularly, like “our walk,” or “walking the walk, not just talking the talk,” but what did it really look like for Enoch?
For one thing, I don’t believe it means that he was just following all of the religious rules and keeping the law. I believe it goes much deeper than that. I believe it means that he was actively pursuing a relationship with God, not just trying to do all of the right things to pacify Him.
Second, we are told that “he was no more, because God took him away.” I can just imagine Enoch out for a walk with God, when God looks at him and says, “We always go to your house, why don’t we go to mine today?” Enoch had become such a close friend to God that God simply didn’t want to go home without him! What an incredible thing! Do you believe that your Heavenly Father could feel that way about you?
Before we go any further and look at a couple more examples, I want to assure you that I am in no way attempting to pull God down to a human level. He is the creator God in all of His glory, power, and majesty, and He and He alone sits on the throne of Heaven. But that very thing is what makes it so amazing. That same God wants a close and intimate relationship with you and me! He created every single one of us different, because He wants a personal and unique relationship with each and every one of us!
Let’s look at another example. The Bible tells us that Abraham believed God, and that he was called God’s friend (James 2:23). What do you think there was about Abraham’s life that would cause God to refer to him as His friend? I would love for God to think of me in that way! We find with Abraham, also, that God is coming down and talking with him. In fact, in Genesis 18 we find Abraham walking God out away from the camp as He is leaving. Now, we know that God didn’t have to walk over to the edge of the hill and jump off in order to be able to get back to Heaven, so why didn’t He just leave and vanish from where they were? I believe God was enjoying a walk and spending time with His friend, just like He did with Enoch, and He had some things He wanted to show Abraham.
Let’s examine one more life before we move on. David. Now, if we will be honest, there were a few times that David could be described as anything but Godly, and a few times when he acted like a downright scoundrel. By the time you chalk up murder, adultery, and a few more crimes, he is hardly the kind of character to whom you would give an award to for good behavior. However, in Acts 13:22, David is described as a man after God’s own heart. What would possibly cause God to say something like that about a man with David’s track record? It certainly wasn’t because David did or said all the right things, or kept all of the law so consistently. In fact, I believe there were probably many people in Israel at that time that were keeping the law and obeying all of the commandments much more faithfully and consistently than David did. If that’s so, what was it about David’s life that pleased God so much?
I believe we can find a lot of insight into this by looking into the Psalms. This is where we best find David’s heart revealed. In fact, as a boy, when David was anointed by Samuel to be the next king, God told Samuel that “man looks at the outside appearance, but God looks at the heart” (1Samuel 16:7). I believe this confirms that what God loved about David was what was found in his heart, not the fact that he was always going to do the right thing. In the Psalms, we find repeatedly that David earnestly desired to know God and be close to Him. He repeatedly asked God to search his heart for anything that displeased Him (Psalm139:23-24), and he pleaded with God not to take His Holy Spirit away from him (Psalm 51:11).
I am not trying to say that God doesn’t care about our actions. David was punished very firmly by God when he sinned, but God was looking for a lot more from David than just someone who was doing all the right things. I believe God is still looking for the same things today. Remember, also, that all three of these examples are taken from the Old Testament, before Jesus came to bring salvation, and before the Holy Spirit was ever given to live inside the believer. This says to me that God’s desire for fellowship with those He created never stopped.
Now, let’s move forward in time to the time when Jesus came. The biggest struggle that Jesus had with the Pharisees and religious leaders was the fact that, although they were doing all the right things, and keeping the law to a tee, their hearts were far from Him. We are usually so quick to judge and criticize the Pharisees, but how many times can we get caught up in just being busy, going to church, and trying to live a good Christian life, while our personal affection and time spent one on one with the Lord suffers? Isn’t this in effect the same thing?
Let’s take a closer look at why Jesus came. Clear back at the time of Adam and Eve’s sin, God began to foretell of Christ’s coming. When they sinned, Adam and Eve turned over to Satan the authority they had been given over the earth, and lost their innocence and right standing before God. They were no longer allowed to be in God’s presence as they had been in the garden, because their sin stood in the way. It became a barrier they could not cross.
When Jesus died on the cross, He accomplished far more than just buying us eternal life after we die. He said in Matthew 28 that all authority had been given to Him. He purchased back the authority that Adam and Eve had turned over to Satan in the garden. He also said in John 15:15 that He was no longer calling us servants, but now He was calling us friends. Jesus’ desire was still to have close friendship with us. When He died on the cross for us, it gave us the opportunity to have our sins washed away, if we choose to accept His gift, and to once again have a right standing before God, just as if we’d never sinned. That sin was what placed the barrier between God and Adam and Eve. When Jesus died and purchased our cleansing from sin, our ability to be in right standing and relationship with God was restored. With the sin barrier removed, we are now free to pursue a much closer and more intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father than most of us realize.
We want to help you come to the place where you are growing closer in that intimate relationship every day, and we know that God is waiting to draw so much closer to you, just as soon as you are willing to take that first step towards Him.
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