God's pattern and plan, today, are continually shown in the natural world, relationships, the still small voice whispering in your heart and His word. He is always ready to give this to us and patiently creates or allows the time and circumstance where our hearts thirst to receive it. A psalmist may have said (paraphrased), "Give it to me or I die!"
The "it" is the very presence of God, the word of God, the spirit of God, the righteous right hand of the protector God, the wisdom and provision of God and an almost infinite list of the attributes or character traits of God. The seeker thirsts after, what I understand to be, the Personal presence of God in the fullness of His power and glory as the source of the seekers very life, but certainly includes all the fruit of the Spirit; love joy peace, patience et al. In a physical picture this might look like a wife saying that the presence of her husband is REQUIRED by a physical, spiritual or emotional emergency. What the wife and seeker desire is life found in the intimate relationship with and presence of their husband/God! Is not this intimacy WITH urgency?
After this inadequate effort at portraying intimacy with God, I will begin to attempt to share God's lesson to me from this mornings class.
Our efforts begin with a God given impulse to seek and to love the Lord our God. Intimacy with God is available first and only because HE seeks it. ONE venue for this process is prayer. A Spirit inspired choice to seek and love would precede the prayer but desire must have words. A love must be sought and wooed using words. With God this is prayer.
Prayer to God must come from a broken, humble and contrite, servant heart.
John Piper wrote, "Any servant who tries to get off the divine dole and strike up a manly partnership with his heavenly Master is in revolt against the Creator. God does not barter. He gives the mercy of life to servants who will have it and the wages of death to those who won't. Good service is always and fundamentally receiving mercy, not rendering assistance. So there is no good service without prayer."
It seems to me that HIStory and the Bible are all about God seeking to make Himself known to people. His purpose for that is to receive glory, the love of His people and much more. God IS love and love serves and protects its own. Love seeks its own. Love rejoices with, contends for, reasons with, spends time with and is made full with the joy of reciprocal love resulting in a unity of spirit - or intimacy with its own.
As a human being, I have found too often that flesh seeks flesh: First) for love, acceptance, affirmation, significance, forgiveness and belonging; Second) flesh seeks flesh, my own or a significant others, to meet my daily physical needs/dependency! In this effort flesh finds nothing and remains a beggar. In the flesh, which is involved in a relationship, sometimes we might slam a cabinet door, throw a dish to the floor or pick a fight because we are deeply disturbed by the intimacy level or direction of our love. BUT GOD allows the natural and common experience of life with its trials and pains to serve this purpose.
These dramatic moments should serve to get our attention, to refocus our life and cause us to seek the presence of God. We should choose (actually be driven to choose) to seek a healthy,
joyful, peaceful and deeply loving relationship with the lover of our soul. After all, He serves as our protector and provider and demands to be the first and highest of our affections; our Lord God, expressed through Jesus Christ, crucified and risen; and personalized by the INDWELLING Holy Spirit. "For (it is) in Him we live and move and have our being" Acts 17:28 Since this is true, what is there in His absence; outside, separated from Him. Surely we are then a fish out of water with a short and miserable life span. A fish out of water might say with the paraphrased psalmist, "Give it to me or I die!"
Intimacy with God is our next breath, our next prayer and our next expression of his glorious attributes, character and mighty, miraculous deeds. Intimacy is, "By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of PRAISE to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving THANKS to His name." Heb, 13:15 KJV. Intimacy is the joy of praise, worship and service with the body of Christ, HIS church. Intimacy is whispering back to Him the words of love and promise that He has given us. Intimacy is loving the unlovable as He did with us. Intimacy is believing every word from His lips whispered into the ears of the authors of the scripture so that what they wrote was divinely inspired. Therefore I believe Zephaniah 3:17, "The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you (ME) with singing." As I receive and believe Him; as I meditate on who He is and what He promises ME as one of his children, my heart MUST blend with His. This is my very life and everything I receive or experience in life is "intended for the (my) good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." Rom 8:28 In response to this, I choose to say; "Whatever, whenever, wherever Lord, my answer is yes. YES and AMEN"
From this place it is possible for me to feel and become separated from the presence of God. Restoration of intimacy comes from asking God to search me and convict me of my inadequacy (sin) so that I may be restored by His promise; "If we (I) confess our sins, HE IS faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9
Lord forgive any error in this, whatever it may be, and protect those who read from any untruth!
Re: Depression or for more on John Piper, the following link will take you to a wonderful essay on Charles Spurgeon: A Pastor's heart; Preaching through adversity.
Disclaimer:This is not intended to be a complete treatment of the subject because the Subject is understanding and revealing God. He does all the revealing and is the author of any understanding. I only type today what I have prayerfully attempted to correctly receive and share today.