The Train Wreck:
Everytime I pick up Chuck Swindoll’s “Intimacy with the Almighty”, it’s a spiritual train wreck… but a wreck that needs to happen. This book first exposed me to Paul’s mission statement in the Amplified version. This is a translation I very rarely pick up, but it seems to tease out Paul’s greatest desire as also captured in other epistles:
[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], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope]
That if possible I may attain to the [spiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body]. (Phil 3:10-11 AMP)
If you’re so inspired to do, read that again. Paul desires God – the whole package: good and bad. The bliss and that sanctifying affliction that leads to it.
Sounds like quite an awesome quest on a grander than “Fellowship of the Ring” scale, yes?
So, how do we get there?
Psalm 1 reads:
“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of the sinner or
sit in the seat of mocker.
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and he meditates on his law day and night.”
4 Minutes, 4 Stages
Here’s a great key to that intimacy – meditating on the law of the Lord day and night. “Quiet time” or “time with the Lord” is often one of the places where languishing faith gets stuck in the mud. Many having never “learned” to have a quiet time simply find themselves wandering. Other times, I’ve found the tyranny of the urgent crowding out my time with God at precisely the time I should be leaning into it.
So, here’s a touch of structure a mentor once shared with me. I challenge you to try it first with a four minute block of time and see how fast it begins to grow to over an hour. Divide the time up into four stages and commit to using it in these four ways:
1. Read in Psalms or Proverbs
2. Praise and thank God
3. Listen silently
4. Present one BIG request before Him
Don’t aim for great length, rather consistency. If you find one of the stages getting longer (which you will), do everything you can to keep the others the same length as that longest one. You will find the time expanding rapidly. It’s okay, this is the work of the Spirit drawing you to the Father.
I have discovered my appetite for the word to be growing deeper and desire to be in His presence greater in just two times through this structure. I hope you will share this with someone who is in a dry season or stuck in second gear in their faith. But, most of all, I pray that He will catch you heart on fire for Him as Paul describes in Philippians.
in it with you,