(Photo by Selma Komisky)
Intentionality with God’s Love
By Michelle Ochen
Intentional is a word often used in our generation. As if we all awakened to reality that if we do not begin to be intentional with the time we have and the relationships around us, they will be swept out of reach before we are ready. We have to make conscious intentional efforts for things to grow in our lives. You do not just sit on the couch and hope your muscles grow or the six pack shows up—you go to the gym. You do not decline the phone calls if you want the relationship to grow—you answer and talk. You do not listen to audio books if you want your speech to improve—you read from a book aloud. In the same way we do not just hope for our relationship with God to grow while we chase after other things and fill our days to the brim leaving no time for our spiritual growth. We must be intentional in our relationship with God.
Our God is a relational God. Unlike the “gods” of old who rose high above the mortal people, untouchable in a sense, our God left His thrown to pay the ransom that was due to restore relationship between God and man. It does not take long in studying the character of our God to see that He is relational and Jesus Christ, His Son, coming to earth and dwelling among us was the climax of His desire for relationship. Jesus did not stay in the temple and preach, He walked the streets, met with hearts and healed wounds. He desires relationship with His children.
The book “My Heart Christ’s Home” by Robert Boyd Munger paints a lovely picture that has stayed with me for years – Jesus as a guest in your home, sitting by the fireplace waiting for time with you to enjoy a cup of tea and talk about your day. But you are so busy that you leave him sitting there while you rush out the door and onto the next thing. All the while Jesus Christ, the guest to your home, the guest you invited in, is left alone. How often we do this in our walk with the Lord! Too busy with endless events, plans, and things to do that we leave our spiritual life as the last thing on the list and then are too tired to put effort into it’s growth.
What are ways that we can be intentional with God’s love? How does a relationship grow? It begins with time. All relationships take time, so finding a prioritized time must be the start. Next comes sharing the heart. Have you ever imagined Jesus as a friend sitting on the couch beside you? If not, do! God’s Word says He is ever present with us, He is near and desiring to hear our hearts (Psalm 34:17-18, 62:8). I like to talk out loud to Jesus, over a cup of coffee, or a drive in the car, talking to Him as my Lord beside me, sharing my heart and then waiting to hear His response. Other ways to grow in our relationship with the Lord is through time spent in the great love letter He wrote to us—His Word. He used many authors and unique styles to express His heart for mankind. We must be people of the Bible if we are to know the God of love.
Lastly, journaling is a wonderful exercise for growth in knowing God. Sometimes a pen and paper enables the heart to pour out better than anything else. After writing out where you are at, offer it to the Lord, pause and wait for His response. Perhaps He lays a Scripture on your mind or begins to speak to you about the situation, then pick back up the pen and write out His response.
These are only a few of the many ways we can relate to our God, but all of them must begin with intentionality. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20 NASB).